Richard Nyamah Should Hold His Peace

Dec. 6, 2014

Chief JusticeThe crusade for the removal of Ms. Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, Commissioner for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), appears to be in high dudgeon. A couple of days ago, Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood was reported to have announced that a prima facie case of impropriety had been established against the CHRAJ Commissioner (See “CHRAJ Boss Expresses Disappointment in Chief Justice’s Findings” MyJoyOnline.com 12/4/14).

What the preceding means is that the Chief Justice concurs with allegations of professional and/or administrative wrongdoing brought against Ms. Lamptey by lead petitioner Mr. Richard Nyamah, the well-known New Patriotic Party (NPP) youth activist. In the main, the staunchly backed Mr. Nyamah is seeking the removal of Ms. Lamptey on grounds that the latter has grossly abused her office by causing financial loss to the state, in her decision to rent an interim official residence in the form of a hotel suite whose rental value per year is approximately $200,000. Ms. Lamptey insists that she followed official guidelines stipulated for CHRAJ in deciding the cost of her temporary accommodation arrangements.

So far, it appears that the focus of a panel of investigators due to be shortly constituted by the Chief Justice would be primarily focused on this accusation of unconscionable profligacy, and the extent to which the latter accusation may have irreparably dented her reputation. Some of her critics have also charged that her decision to recklessly live high on the proverbial hog has deeply cut into the budget of CHRAJ, thus making it extremely difficult or even impossible for the independent human rights institutional protector to perform its statutorily mandated duties, particularly in parts of the country far removed from our nation’s capital of Accra.

It is also quite intriguingly curious to learn that the CHRAJ Commissioner, although a lawyer with remarkable experience in business and banking, had absolutely no judicial experience when then-President John Evans Atta-Mills appointed Ms. Lamptey to the post which is the judicial equivalent of an Appeals Court Judge. And so, automatically, tongues have begun to wag over whether, indeed, the late president may have had other reasons besides pure professional merit in appointing Ms. Lamptey to the judicially and politically significant job of CHRAJ Commissioner.

What bothers yours truly at this juncture, however, is the rather abrupt and importunate decision by Mr. Nyamah, the lead petitioner, and his lawyer, Mr. Samson Lardy Ayenini, to pester Chief Justice Wood into summarily suspending Ms. Lamptey from her job as CHRAJ Commissioner before any adverse findings have been forensically established against the well-known investment banker. And, indeed, the lead petitioner may have good reason for seeking the prompt and summary suspension of Ms. Lamptey from office. But, of course, that decision fully and squarely belongs to the Chief Justice and not either Mr. Nyamah or his attorney, Mr. Ayenini.

In other words, the best way to deal with the Lamptey Dilemma is to allow the law to take its deliberate and dispassionate course.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]

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