Monday, August 31, 2009
The Commissioner on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) says it cannot investigate the allegations levelled against the Foreign Affairs Minister, Alhaji Muhammed Mumuni, by the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG). "All the allegations made by the complainant, dated April 24, 2009, fall outside the mandate of the Commission and investigating the allegations would be tantamount to performing a function which is ultra vires to the Commission's mandate," it stated.
In its decision dated July 31, 2009, the Commission stated that it was unable to make any declarations on the matter, since it could not investigate the allegations. It, however, advised AFAG to "proceed to the appropriate forum, that is the Supreme Court, to seek redress accordingly".
The complainant had alleged that a forensic audit conducted into the operations of the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI), an institute which Alhaji Mumuni, then "...Minister of Employment and Social Welfare for the period January 1997 to December 2000," established “...That through the gross negligence and misconduct of Alhaji Mumuni, the state had lost a...15 billion old cedis through his involvement in the purported disbursement of monies to the NVTI alone."
According to the complainant, Alhaji Mumuni was alleged to have authorised the fraudulent release of amounts in excess of 19 billion old cedis from the Consolidated Fund (the nation's public fund reserves) into undisclosed accounts. The group also alleged that "Alhaji Mumuni, purportedly acting on the strength of an illegal appointment by President Mills as a temporary head of the Ministry of the Interior in January" 2009, at a time when he had not been properly nominated by President Mills as a Minister for the Interior, dismissed the lawfully appointed head of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), ACP Douglas Akrofi,"
The group also alleged that Alhaji Mumuni also unlawfully removed the acting Head of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA). According to its complaint, Alhaji Mumuni purportedly engaged in further unlawful conduct by unconstitutionally imposing curfews on Bawku, a town in the Upper East Region.
The group noted further that on the instructions of Alhaji Mumuni on April 14, 2009, the acting Director of the Legal and Consular Bureau of the ministry was purported to have terminated a headquarters' agreement between the government and Africa Legal Aid, a pan-African international organization.
The complainants were of the view that the termination of the agreement was done without providing "…reasons” and that the agreement was terminated when “no dispute had occurred to warrant the termination, no recourse to arbitration proceedings as directed by the mandatory provisions of the agreement...”
In its petition dated, April 24, 2009, AFAG, therefore, urged the Commission to declare that the acts and omissions of Alhaji Mumuni spelt out while serving as the Minister of Employment and Social Welfare in the year 1999/2000 amounted to corruption and an abuse of office and state resources. It also sought a declaration that the acts and omissions of Alhaji Mumuni spelt out were prejudicial to the interests of the nation and a further declaration that the acts of Alhaji Mumuni as temporary head of the Ministry of the Interior in January 2009, were an abuse of power.
Quoting extensively from various authorities including Supreme Court rulings, the commission in its findings, signed by its registrar, Mr William Ansah, said the allegations were outside its mandate. On the complainant's second allegation which centred on the alleged illegal appointment of Alhaji Mumuni, by President Mills as temporary head of the Interior Ministry, the Commission noted that investigating the allegation would be to recommend the removal of Alhaji Mumuni as Minister if it found him unqualified for the position of Minister, who was nominated by the President and approved by Parliament. "
To do so would amount to an usurpation of the powers of the President and Parliament. Even the Supreme Court would have been cautious in entertaining such a complaint if it were invited to do so, vide: Ghana Bar Association Vs Attorney General and another (1995-96) 1 GLR 598-662 SC, Edward Wiredu JSC," it noted.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana
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