�Give Teeth To CHRAJ�

The Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ben Abdallah, has proposed that the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) be given the mandate to prosecute cases of corruption that come before it. According to him, doing so would ensure that the human rights institution prosecutes cases of adverse findings on corrupt officials, which would go a long way to fight corruption in the country. Ben Abdallaah was of the view that the CHRAJ, as at now, is crippled in dealing with issues of corruption, especially, institutional ones. Mr. Abdallah, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Offinso South in the Ashanti Region, said during the year under review, 38 corruption cases were received, with three being from whistleblowers. �The cases included abuse of power/office, extortion of money and fraud. Out of the total number, misappropriation/embezzlement were 11, the highest.� He was contributing to the annual report of the committee on CHRAJ for the year 2010, submitted on the floor of the House for deliberation, and subsequent approval by the august House. The Committee, he said, observed that lack of resources was a major challenge to CHRAJ, but that it was able to prioritise its activities, and as a result, was more responsive to human rights issues, rather than corruption, since the latter is more responsive. He noted that CHRAJ did not perform as expected in the area of corruption, and it was for this reason, the Committee suggested to the Commission to consider partnering with some agencies such as the Ghana Integrity Initiative, as a way of addressing the problem of lack of resources. His argument was seconded by the Deputy Minister for the Interior, James Agalga, who echoed that the institution currently was under-resourced to properly fight cases of corruption. Mr. James Agalga said the Commission has, over the years, played its mandate of human rights and administrative roles effectively, but with respect to anti-corruption, not much can be said. Mr. Agalga, MP for Builsa North in the Upper East Region, therefore, reiterated that CHRAJ should be adequately resourced to fight corruption to a barest minimum. Per the Committee�s report, the establishment of an independent ombudsman police investigative body would ensure high professional standards of police personnel, as the presence of such a body would encourage citizens to report unprofessional conduct of police personnel.