CHRAJ Commissioner Accommodation Was Habitable – Emile Short

A former Commissioner of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short, has stated that the official accommodation of the head of CHRAJ was habitable when he left it. Responding to a Tuesday Daily Graphic publication that said the state had spent $203,500 on rent in 37 months for the CHRAJ boss because there were some renovation works ongoing at her official residence, Justice Short said, “the property was in a habitable condition when I left the premises.” “It could do with some repairs but I cannot comment further than that,” the former CHRAJ boss said in a radio interview on Joy FM. He explained he could not comment further because he did not know exactly what kind of renovations had been carried out there and the justification for such renovations. The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Ms Lauretta Lamptey, has, since August this year, moved into a hotel after the US$5,500 monthly rent for her apartment at the African Union (AU) Village expired. The daily rate for the hotel is $456.25 being paid in cedis. Investigations conducted by the Daily Graphic, following concerns raised by some workers of CHRAJ, indicated that Ms Lamptey was awaiting the completion of her official residence, which is still under renovation, three years after assuming the position. That means from July 2011 when she was appointed to July 2014 when her rent at the AU Village expired - a period of 37 months - $203,500 was spent on her rent accommodation, including utilities. The official residence, which was occupied by the former commissioner, Mr Justice Emile Short, is currently being redesigned with several variations at her instance, all at a cost of GH¢182,000. According to Ms Lamptey the renovations were started before she was appointed but Justice Short said that was not the case. “No that is not the case, no. I had no hand whatsoever in whatever renovations are being carried out or were being carried out or have been carried out on the premises.” “If my memory serves me right, yes but of course you could check from the records at CHRAJ and get confirmation from CHRAJ.” “So far as I can recollect you know, these renovations were requested from the present commissioner and not me.” The conditions of service put the commissioner of CHRAJ at the same status as a court of appeal judge and high court judge for the deputy commissioners. The conditions requires the state to provide a furnished accommodation for the commissioner. Justice Short explained that the property on the Patrice Lumumba road was acquired about 10years or so ago and that before that he said he was living in a rented premises at East Legon before he moved into this particular house. When asked how much he was paying as rent at the East Legon accommodation, Justice Short said he could not recollect but said it was something reasonable. When asked if he was surprised that so much had to be pumped to renovate a house he claims was habitable, Justice Short responded, “Well I am very reluctant to comment on this particular aspect of the matter because whatever I say might be misinterpreted.” “So let me just say that over the years I have had all manner of negative reports about the head of CHRAJ but I am very reluctant to comment publicly about these negative reports that I have had on a variety of issues because there is the potential for my comments being misinterpreted because I was there before and somebody else had taken over. So it might be looked in a rather skewed context.”