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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Emile Short: CHRAJ started probe into M&J on own volition

CHRAJ Commissioner Emile Short
CHRAJ Commissioner Emile Short

The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) says its investigation into the Mabey and Johnson scandal was not prompted by the President John Evans Atta Mills.

CHRAJ Commissioner, Mr Emile Short, said his outfit had started an investigation into the matter even before he received a call from the President last Friday for the commission to look into the matter.

He said President Mills’ decision to refer the matter to the commission is a pointer to the fact that the President would want to ensure there are no flecks of cover ups in the matter.

“The President’s announcement is that he wants an independent body like CHRAJ which everybody recognises has acquired, over the years, a reputation for independence, neutrality and public credibility to do the investigation so that there will be no allegation of a cover-up or a whitewash.”

While the commission investigates the matter, Health Minister Dr Sipa Yankey who was a director at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning at the time of the bribery has resigned whilst Alhaji Amadu Seidu, a Minister of State at the Presidency, who was a deputy minister of Works and Housing has also tendered in his resignation.

The investigation follows a ruling by a London court that cited persons including Dr Yankey, Alhaji Amadu Seidu, Baba Kamara and Boniface Saddique as having taken bribes in the 1990s from officials of Mabey and Johnson, a UK construction firm.

Mr Short also responded to suggestions that there must, in all investigations into corruption, be an identifiable complainant.

“CHRAJ does not require an identifiable complainant when it’s investigating media allegations of corruption; it only requires a complainant when it is investigating human rights violations or an abuse of office or conflict of interest allegation.”

Asked if the commission will impress on the other persons cited in the bribery scandal to resign, Mr Short said that must be the prerogative of the person.

The commission has yet to summon any of the implicated persons for questioning but Mr Short says much information is needed before any invitation will be made to the persons being investigated.

He said while CHRAJ is in contact with the British High Commission to furnish it with certain relevant documentations on the case, the commission is awaiting an official correspondence from the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, under the instruction of the president.

Story by Fiifi Koomson/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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