The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has said it has suspended its probe of the US$5 million bribery allegation made against Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah by a lawyer, for which the ombudsman had been petitioned by civil society group Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA).
According to CHRAJ, it would be superfluous probing the matter as the same organisation has also petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo over the same matter.
“Since the matter is pending in the appropriate constitutional forum, the commission, in the exercise of its discretion under Section 13 of Act 456, hereby ceases to investigate the complaint any further as the invocation of the Article 456 proceedings has effectively taken the matter out of the forum of the commission,” CHRAJ said in a letter to ASEPA.h
ASEPA filed the CHRAJ petition on 12 July 2021 under Article 218(a) and (e) of the 1992 Constitution.
CHRAJ said while it was conducting preliminary investigations into the instant complaint, “it was brought to its attention that the complainant has also petitioned the President of the Republic under Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution for the removal of the Respondent as Chief Justice, grounding the petition on the same allegations of bribery and corruption”.
“The said petition was submitted to the office of the president on the 13th of July 2021, a day after the instant complaint was lodged with the commission”, CHRAJ observed in the letter signed by its Commissioner, Joseph Whittal.
“While it may be conceded that the complainant in the instant matter before the commission did not claim, as a specific relief, the removal of the respondent, it is discernible from its invocation of Article 146 that, that is the ultimate destination of the complainant”, CHRAJ said.
It added: “The procedure for the removal of a Chief Justice having been specifically provided for in Article 146, it is our considered view that the provisions of the said article take precedence over the general provisions of Article 218”.
It said: “Section 13(1) gives discretion to the Commission when confronted with a situation such as this, where there is provision of law, as set out in Article 146 to deal with matters of this nature, and the complainant has taken advantage of it as evidenced by its petition to the President under the said Article, to refuse to investigate the matter.”
Meanwhile, the Council of State, on Friday, 20 August 2021, presented its report to the president.
The president said: “I will apprise you [Council of State] of my own findings on the matter”, adding: “I am hoping that my consultation will establish that there is unanimity between you and me on this matter before we can go on.”