CHRAJ to investigate Blay if… – CHRAJ boss

Mr Joseph Whittal-Commissioner-of-CHRAJ

Mr Joseph Whittal-Commissioner-of-CHRAJ

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) will launch investigations into activities of the Chairman of New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Freddie Blay should it establish allegations of corruption levelled against him.

The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal, who made the disclosure to the Ghanaian Times yesterday on the sidelines of the commemoration of the African Union (AU) Day against Corruption said, CHRAJ was currently examining a petition brought before it against the NPP Chairman to take the necessary action.

“We received the petition on Tuesday and we are having a look into the allegations to know what next step to take,” he said.

The AU Anti-Corruption Day, organised by civil society group, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) in partnership with the African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption (APNAC) was to reflect on actions of African government in the fight against corruption.

It brought together Members of Parliament, public officials, anti-corruption civil society groups, academia and students from selected basic and secondary schools in Accra, to mark the day.

Mr Whittal who expressed worry how culprits of corruption often got away with their actions due to lack of concrete evidence to prosecute, called for a “non-conviction based asset declaration approach” to check corruption in the Ghanaian society.

“It is critical we have a second look at this approach so that if you have declared your asset and we later find out you have acquired more properties and are unable to justify the means of acquisition knowing your income, the state can confiscate it,” he opined.

The Commissioner in an earlier address, lauded the AU for setting aside a year to fight corruption indicating its readiness to fight the canker adding that “this calls for robust action to confront our problem and put the continent in the right light.”

Mr Abu Jinapor, the Deputy Chief of Staff on his part noted that the AU’s decision to designate a year to fight corruption raised hopes that all was not lost on the continent and that through concerted efforts, Africa should reduce the menace to the barest minimum.

He reiterated government’s determination to implement policies towards the fight of corruption while working with civil society groups to provide the necessary support and resources to nip the canker in the bud.

Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, the Executive Director of the GII in a letter to the AU on behalf of the African Chapters of Transparency International recommended that the Union urged countries including Ghana who were yet to ratify their treaties and the AU Convention to Prevent and Combat Corruption (AUCPCC) to take swift action to do so.

She asked the AU to develop a minimum standard for transparent and accountable procurement as the act accounted for most cases of misappropriation of funds and corruption in most African States.

“We call on the AU to encourage and facilitate member government to introduce open contracting through the adoption of the Open Contracting Data Standard and open contracting principles in all sectors.

“We strongly believe now more than ever that the AU should move from slogans to actions. As such, we urge it to dedicate resources to tackle corruption in its member countries and strengthen existing anti-corruption systems,” Mrs Ofori-Kwafo stated.

By Abigail Annoh and Cassandra Jill Akomenyi

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