The embattled Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ms Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, is still lodging at a hotel, three months after her rent expenditure sparked public outcry and condemnation.
Ms Lamptey is also yet to respond to the two petitions submitted to the Office of the President and forwarded to the Chief Justice, to which she was expected to respond by November 14, 2014.
When the Daily Graphic visited the CHRAJ boss in her premier suite at the hotel, she said she was yet to file her response to the petition to the Office of the Chief Justice.
[contextly_sidebar id=”T0NzqEAiVktMhzME58sA3mmPrOx1ySsn”]The Constitution demands that the President forward any petition he receives regarding the removal of the Commissioner of CHRAJ to the Chief Justice for action.
The Daily Graphic, in September this year, uncovered trails of staggering expenditure by Ms Lamptey on her accommodation at the African Union (AU) Village, the cost of renovation of her official residence and her hotel bills, all at the expense of the state.
In August this year, she moved into the hotel after her US$5,500 monthly rent for the apartment, including utility bills, at the AU Village had expired.
The daily rate for the hotel is the cedi equivalent of $456.25.
Although Ms Lamptey had declined comments when contacted, she told the Daily Graphic that she would file her response to the petitions to the Office of the Chief Justice latest by close of work last Wednesday, November 18, 2014.
But checks at the Office of the Chief Justice on Thursday, November 19, 2014 indicated that the CHRAJ boss was yet to respond.
Although Ms Lamptey has declined to say how much CHRAJ is currently expending on her stay at the hotel, checks on the rate card showed that the hotel charged a daily rate of GH¢1,507.50 for the premier suite where she was currently staying.
So between August and November 17, CHRAJ would have expended GH¢161,302.5 on her stay at the hotel.
Her official residence, which was previously occupied by a former Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Justice Francis Emile Short, is currently being redesigned with several variations at her instance, all at a cost of GH¢182,000.
That, according to the Auditor-General’s report, is an aberration of the country’s procurement laws.
Although CHRAJ had constituted an Audit Report Implementation Committee (ARIC), in accordance with Section 30 of the Audit Service Act 2000 (Act 584), the committee has been inactive, as the Auditor-General cannot obtain minutes of its meetings for review.
Petitions for removal
The Daily Graphic report on Ms Lamptey’s stay at the hotel elicited criticisms from sections of the Ghanaian public, prompting various groups and individuals to call for her removal.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, Mr Frank Annor-Dompreh, and Mr Richard Nyamah of the Progressive Nationalists Forum (PNF) then submitted separate petitions to the President asking for the removal of the commissioner.
Civil society reacts
Since the news broke, many civil society groups have raised serious concerns over the huge expenditure on the CHRAJ boss’s accommodation.
They described the expenditure as constituting an injustice, wasteful and an open loot of state resources.
The groups are IMANI Ghana, the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) and the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII).
The Auditor-General, in its 2013 Report, also charged CHRAJ for breaches of provisions of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2003 (Act 663) in the procurement of accommodation for its commissioner.
“We recommend that management should be circumspect and adhere to the dictates of the PPA in such future transactions to avoid waste and for programme objectives to be achieved,” it said.
According to the report, CHRAJ had also failed to refund GH¢89,551.79 to government chest, being the amount resulting from overstatement made in request for funds for the payment of emoluments, and had consequently charged the management of CHRAJ, led by Ms Lamptey, to refund the money without delay.
Source: Graphic Online