Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
The Parliament of the Republic of Ghana in accordance with the provisions of the Fourth Republican Constitution in October 1993 enacted the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice Act (Act 456), to establish the Commission.
The commission seeks to foster a culture of respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as administrative justice and fairness in Ghanaian society.The commission also exists to promote integrity and decency in Ghanaian public life by investigating corruption and educating the public about its high costs and, conversely, the significant pay-offs of a relatively corrupt free society.
Section 7(10)(a)-(h) of the Commission’s enabling statute Act 456 spells out the functions of the Commission as follows:
1.investigate complaints of violations of fundamental rights and freedoms, injustice, corruption, abuse of power and unfair treatment of any person by public officer in the exercise of his official duties;
2.investigate complaints concerning the functioning of the Public Services Commission, the administrative Organs of the State, the Armed Forces, the Police Service in so far as complaints relate to the failure to achieve a balanced structuring of those services or equal access by all to the recruitment of those services or fair administration in relation to those services;
3.investigate complaints concerning practices and actions by persons, private enterprises and other institutions where those complaints allege violations of fundamental rights and freedoms under this constitution;
4.investigate allegations that a public officer has contravened or has not complied with a provision of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.The Code requires that public officers shall declare their assets and liabilities on assumption of office, every four years, and on leaving office;
5.investigate all instances of alleged or suspected corruption and the misappropriation of public moneys by officials and to take appropriate steps, including reports to the Attorney-General and the Auditor General, results from such investigations;
6.educate the public as to human rights and freedom by such means as the Commissioner may decide, including publications, lectures and symposia;
7.investigate confiscation of property made by the two previous military regimes, the Armed forces Revolutionary Council and the Provisional National Defence;
8.report annually to Parliament on the performance of its functions.
The Commission consists of a Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice who is the Chair of the Commission and two Deputy Commissioners for Human Rights and Administrative Justice.The President acting on the advice of the Council of State appoints the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioners.The Chair has the status of Judge of the Court of Appeal and the Deputies have status of Judges of the High Cour.The Chair of the Commission leads on all policy matters.Decisions at Commission level are collegial.The Deputy Commissioners have responsibility over Legal and Investigation and Public Education and Anti-Corruption departments respectively.
The Commission has four departments each headed by a director; Legal/Investigations, Public Education, Anti-Corruption, Administration and Finance.Units including registry, public relations, monitoring and evaluation, research, audit, accounts, human resources and ICT fall under those departments.In pursuance of the provisions of Act 456, the Commission has branches in all the ten regional capitals and in 100 out of the 138 district capitals of the country.Lawyers head the regional offices whilst university graduates trained to handle minor complaints man the district branches.The district offices mostly undertake public education and thus reach out to a wider section of the population at the local and community level.
A number of high profile investigations have been conducted over the years, prompted by media allegations of corruption against ministers of state and highranking government officials in which the Commission made adverse findingsresulting in the resignation of these officials.
In 1995/96 the Commission conducted investigations into allegations of corruption and illegal acquisition of assets made against four ministers of state and some senior government officials.In 2002, the CHRAJ conducted investigations into allegations of corruption made against the former Commissioner of the National Insurance Commission (NTC), Mr.Appiah Ampofo.In 2003, the Commission investigated a complaint, lodged by the Leader of the Opposition Party in Parliament, against the President, a former Minister for Works and Housing and a former Chief of Staff alleging that they had used state funds to renovate the private property of the President.In 2005 and 2006, the Commission investigated a case against the President of the Republic following allegations of corruption and conflict of interest made against him concerning the acquisition of a hotel close to his private residence .In 2006 the Minister for Road Transport Dr.Anane , was forced to resign his position after the Commission recommended his dismissal after making adverse findings of conflict of interest and abuse of power.The Commission has a high reputation both locally and internationally.
The Amnesty International adjudged CHRAJ one of the 3 best Human Rights institutions in Africa.The Commission has assisted and continues to provide assistance and sharing of experience and expertise to African countries in the establishment of their Human Rights Institutions i.e.Zambia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Tanzania Zimbabwe
GhanaCommission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice