A fast track high court in Accra, Ghana has overturned corruption charges against former transportation minister by the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). The court said CHRAJ arrogated powers to itself by conducting an illegal investigation against Dr. Richard Anane, without being petitioned by any particular complainant. But opponents of President John Kufuor’s administration have described the court’s decision as selective justice.
Joshua Nimako is one of the attorneys for Dr. Anane. He said the former minister challenged the accusations leveled against him by CHRAJ because he believed he is innocent.
“Basically, what the court ruled on was with respect to an application filed by Dr. Anane for judicial review of Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice’s decision, which referred to conflict of interest, perjury and abusive of power,” he said.
Nimako said the commission had earlier advised President Kufuor to remove the former minister from his position in cabinet.
“The commission recommended in that decision that the President of the Republic of Ghana should severely sanction our client. As a matter of fact they recommended that he should be relieved from his post, and also that he had lied to parliament. So, he should go to parliament and apologize,” Nimako pointed out.
He said although the commission exonerated the former minister from some charges, the commission lacked the power to investigate the former minister.
“The commission’s decision dated 15 September 2006, exonerated him on the allegation of corruption. And it is our case that the commission has no power to initiate investigation with respect to the conflict of interest and abuse of power… because the constitution does not empower CHRAJ... to initiate investigations, empower members and rule on such investigations. So we raised an objection to that, but CHRAJ overturned our objection,” he said.
Nimako dismissed CHRAJ’s plans to appeal against the court’s decision.
“What I can say is that it is a mere judicial talk. Like you know, you can appeal against any decision, but we believe that the judgment given by the court is clear. There is no ambiguity… our case was that there was no formal complainant before CHRAJ… so basically, it is an absurd situation and they performed an illegality,” he noted.
Nimako was not pleased that opponents of the former minister are reading political meanings into the court’s decision.
“Where was the government when they ruled against our client and our client resigned? Why is it that those who are making the same comments didn’t say that because it is NPP (New Patriotic Party) government in power that is why they ruled against him? We went through the due process of the law and the law has spoken. So let’s accept that and let’s build confidence in the judiciary. That is all what I can say,” he said.