CHRAJ Staff Demand Chief Accountant’s Removal

Worker of CHRAJ Demonstrating

Worker of CHRAJ Demonstrating

Tension is brewing at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Head office as the workers demand the removal of the Chief Accountant.

The workers have accuse Mr. Kenneth Agbezuhlor, the Chief Account, of showing disrespect and verbally assaulting co-workers.

The workers, who wore red arm bands to work yesterday to give signal of their seriousness, also accused the Chief Accountant of alleged corrupt deals, as well as creating confusion among the Commissioners.

In a petition addressed to the Controller and Accountant General by the aggrieved workers, calling theselves Concerned Workers of CHRAJ, the workers demanded the immediate withdrawal of Mr. Agbezuhlor, who is on secondment from Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD).

“Staff of the CHRAJ, excluding the Commissioners, are calling for the recall of Kenneth Agbezuhlor, who was seconded to the Commission on 26th of July, 2010 and has served more than the mandatory four year term that reflects the policy of the CAGD.

“We as staff wish to draw your attention to this anomaly, and to inform you that we are not prepared to work with the officer,” it said.

According to the workers, the alleged abusive and disrespectful behaviour of the chief accountant contravenes the objectives of CHRAJ which protects the rights of all, including workers.

Among his acts of disrespect, the petition alleged that Mr. Agbezuhlor recently insulted and taunted Mr. Ralph Badzi, a physically challenged staff of being a disable

It said Mr. Badzi reported the incident to management and a Committee was set up to investigate it, but the two Deputy Commissioners stopped the Committee from doing so after extensive deliberations on the issue.

“Ralph was further restrained when he made efforts to report the matter to the Disabled Society of Ghana. Ralph Badzi is currently not on good terms with the accountant,” the petition said.

 In addition, the petition noted that “the Chief Accountant has since 2010 when he was seconded to the Commission made it a habit to verbally assault staff of the Commission and as a result has had brushes with almost all staff of the Commission.

“He has insulted and threatened to beat up a middle level manager and nearly manhandled some members of staff specifically women.

“As a human rights institution that seeks to protect the vulnerable including women, we find his insults and abuse of women in the Commission distasteful and unacceptable.

“The unfortunate twist to all this is that the two Deputy Commissioners are very much aware of the situation but have become so incapacitated to discipline this man, leaving him to be buffling,” the petition said.

Touching on the alleged corrupt acts, the petition said the Chief Accountant does not use government counterfoil receipts to acknowledge receipt of monies returned after departmental programmes.

“Receipts, especially those for fuel, are used to cover up these returned monies – so monies accounted for never get paid back to chest,” it said.

The petition alleged: “The Internal Audit unit at CHRAJ is virtually non-existent. Payment Vouchers are not audited before payments are effected. He claims the GIFMIS system has no place for auditing and has convinced the Commissioners such that these learned bunch have accepted the lame reason and seem comfortable with the arrangement.”

According to the petition, due to the inaction of management on reports against Mr. Agbezuhlor, there was high discontent among the staff, and was determined to take a series of actions, including demonstrations, for Mr. Agbezuhlor to be removed from CHRAJ.

When contacted by The Ghanaian Times, Mr. Agbezuhlor denied the allegations, saying the workers were instigating his removal because “they think I am the cause of the non-payment of their allowances for this year”.

He said the Commission had been grappling with funds, which had resulted in the huge backlog of transport, overtime and medical bills, and other allowances which had not been paid this year.

“The staff anger is against me because they keep hearing I have been using the funds to be paying the hotel bills of our chairperson,” he said, and denied paying such hotel bills.

He, however, admitted having any disagreement with the physically challenged staff about three years ago, but explained that the issue was resolved by the committee set up to handle the impasse.

By Edmund Mingle

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