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General News of Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Source: Today Newspaper

CHRAJ is broke!

Today can report that the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is currently broke and for that matter may not be able to effectively carry out its constitutional mandate.

According to our investigations, the Commission does not have the wherewithal and necessary logistics to investigate complaints such as violations of human rights, injustices in society and an avalanche of alleged corrupt scandals brought before it.

Today’s findings also revealed that the Commission was facing numerous challenges, among which threatened the smooth running of its core mandate to ensure that perpetrators of heinous crimes were prosecuted.

The lack of financial resources and logistics at the Commission, Today was told, had derailed its efforts in the fight against corruption.

This paper further gathered from its investigations that the Commission’s entire public education programme on human rights and freedoms had been suspended.

The Commission, Today understands, has subsequently suspended its anti-corruption educational programmes as top officials of the state institution were in a dilemma as to where to get funding from.

Some staff of the Commission who agreed to speak to Today on condition of anonymity disclosed that their outfit was unable to meet its target in the area of fighting corruption in public institutions.

Inadequate financial resources, lack of logistics and the untimely release of funds, they said, had been the bane of CHRAJ which situation was rendering it redundant.

On the issue of challenges facing workers at the Commission, they said “many at times we the staff use our own money to travel to the communities where the complaints of violations on human rights have been reported.”

Meanwhile, a former Commission of CHRAJ, Mr. Justice Emile Short, has expressed worry over the lack of financial resources and logistics at the Commission and called on government to look for money to resuscitate CHRAJ so as to enable it execute its functions well.

“If we want to fight corruption, violation of human rights and abuse of power, then government should equip the Commission with the adequate resources and logistics,” he told participants at a corruption conference organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra recently.

The conference—which was held on the theme: “Purging the Nation of Corruption: Demanding Accountability from Public Institutions,” was attended by ministers of state, Members of Parliament (MPs), national security agencies, political parties, religious and traditional leaders and heads of civil society organisations (CSOs).

Speaking on the topic: “Empowering Ghana’s Anti-Corruption Institutions in the Fight Against Corruption,” Mr. Justice Short stressed that there was the need for the central government to put in place adequate financial resources and logistics at CHRAJ to help the Commission conduct effective investigations.