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General News of Thursday, 26 January 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

CHRAJ investigates Woyome case

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The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is conducting preliminary investigations into the circumstances leading to the payment of some GH¢51 million by the state to Mr Alfred Woyome, a businessman.

In line with that documentation on the matter, including court records and relevant legislation, so far are being painstakingly reviewed by the CHRAJ to determine whether its mandate has been properly invoked.

In an interview with the Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Richard Quayson, and the Director, Anti-Corruption of CHRAJ, Mr Charles Ayamdoo, in Accra, the two allayed the fears of Ghanaians about the inability of public institutions, such as the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), CHRAJ or any other public office with the mandate to investigate, to get to the bottom of the saga.

Mr Quayson said as the practice of the Commission was, when a complaint was received from an individual or group, preliminary investigations were undertaken to determine if the Commission had the mandate to investigate the matter, and if so how it was to go about it.

If it was precluded from investigating the matter, that did not mean that the matter was left hanging, but complementary institutions such as the EOCO could take it up as appropriate.

Mr Quayson added that when CHRAJ was permitted by law to investigate a matter, a full scale investigation was conducted, where Ghanaians had the opportunity to witness proceedings.

With the Woyome case, Mr Quayson said two civil society groups, the Generational Youth Movement and the Coalition against Corruption, had petitioned the Commission to investigate the matter.

He said CHRAJ received one of the complaints on January 4, 2012, and had begun the process of liaising with the Judicial Service for the relevant information to help it determine its standing in relation to investigating the issue.

Mr Quayson advised civil society organisations to formally lodge their complaints with the Commission before going public to announce it, as in most cases people publicly announced they had lodged a complaint with the Commission before actually doing so.

That, he said, created the perception that CHRAJ was tardy about its work when that was not the case.

Mr Quayson also encouraged Ghanaians not to denigrate their public institutions, because criticism on one institution, even before it had began investigations into a matter of public interest, meant the erosion of public trust in other public institutions.

He said Ghanaians ought to have some level of trust in their public institutions for the public institutions to return that trust by their work.

He said if public institutions failed in their work to investigate issues dear to Ghanaians, then they would have cause to complain and demand that the right thing should be done.

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