Gov’t Won’t Pay CHRAJ Boss’ Us$209,000 Hotel Bill

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The government, has given the clearest indication that it was not going to pay the extravagant 209, 000 United States Dollars hotel bills of Ms. Lauretta Vivian Lamptey and her two children in the name of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

According to the Minister for Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, under the public service regulations, all state officials, who are entitled to official accommodation but are not allocated same, may only collect 20 percent of their salary in lieu of rent unless otherwise expressly stated in their conditions of service.

This was contained in a statement issued by the government welcoming the Auditor-General’s decision to conduct an immediate audit into the use of public funds by the CHRAJ, especially in relation to news reports of inappropriate use of public funds by the Commissioner, Ms. Lauretta Vivian Lamptey.

The CHRAJ boss, who appears to have had a “pampered upbringing”, had been spending time in Best Western Hotel in Airport Residential Area in Accra, which has charged nearly US$ 5000 since April 2014. Prior to this, she is reported to have blown US$148,000 for renting the plush African Union (AU) Village at Cantonments in Accra from a private company called Sigma 7 Limited of Boundary Road East Legon, Accra.

While conceding that the Commission is an independent Constitutional body, government said, in a statement issued on Monday and signed by Dr. Edward Omane Boamah that, “we must also be mindful of the fact that the Commission and other such bodies are funded by tax revenue, and allegations of misuse of such funds must be looked into”.

The statement indicated that as an institution mandated by the 1992 Ghanaian Constitution to uphold the highest standards of accountability and morality, the reported claims of inappropriate use of funds and possible breach of the conditions of service of the Commissioner can affect the credibility of the Commission’s work and that of the Commissioner.

Government says it expects the Auditor-General to complete its audit within the shortest possible time, cautioning heads of the various Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs) and heads of institutions that rely on public funds that they will be held accountable for any misapplication and inappropriate use of public funds, as well as any infringements of the Financial Administration Rules.

“All public officials, both political and non-political, are also reminded of the Code of Conduct for Public Office Holders issued by President John Mahama, and are cautioned to note that should they be found to have contravened any of the country’s laws they will be made to face the consequences”, the statement added.

Ms Lamptey’s profile reveals her to be the daughter of a distinguished Ghanaian diplomat, the late Ambassador George Odartey Lamptey and Mrs. Agnes Rosetta Lamptey. She lived in Liberia, the USA and the UK during her childhood, before returning to Ghana with her family at the age of fourteen (14) to attend Aburi Girls Secondary School.

At Aburi she excelled academically, while making time for extra-curricular activities such as being secretary of the debating society. She earned the highest overall ‘A’ Level results in her school, as well as the highest in French, English Literature and History results. A trip to France as a prize from the French government for being one of the students with the highest French language results in the country was a fitting rewards for her efforts.

Ms Lamptey attended the University of Ghana from 1977 to 1980 where she received her first law degree, an LLB (HONS.) Exhibiting a deep interest in issues related to equal access to justice, and the integrity of the legal systems, Laurette’s undergraduate dissertation raised the question of “one law for the rich, one law for the poor” and examined potential flaws in Ghana’s criminal justice system and the challenges of ensuring equity in its administration.
She continued to excel academically, and was selected as one of two students to represent the University of Ghana at the highly prestigious Phillip Jessup international Law Moot Court competition organized annually by the American Society of International Law and held In Washington, DC.

She went on to attend the Ghana law school from 1980 to 1982, during which time she was attached to the law firm of Fugar & Co., a prominent firm of corporate attorneys. She received her B.L. (Barrister-at-Laws) degree and was admitted to the Ghana Bar in December 1982.

A little-know fact is that upon completion of her Bar exams, Ms. Lamptey applied to and was accepted at the Vrije Universitiet de Brussels to study for an LLM in Human Rights law, then a budding area of specialization which was gaining interest among lawyers. This career choice was strongly encouraged by her father, Ambassador Lamptey, who was himself for many years a member (and at one point Chairman) of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, one of the most important UN human rights bodies.

However, largely because of her focus (while studying for her LLB degree) on International Law and International Trade and Investment Law, as well as her proven research skills, Lauretta was within six weeks of qualifying as a barrister asked to join the team appointed to renegotiate investment agreements governing the operation of the largest US investment in Ghana, VALCO.

This became known as the VALCO Negotiation Team. She deferred her LLM to complete this very important national assignment, which took two years, by the end of which time Ms. Lamptey had developed considerable expertise in investment law and negotiations. She therefore continued to participate in or handle several other negotiations in the area of natural resources and forestry, and was also assigned to the Ghana Minerals Commission to assist in the development and the drafting of the investment code for the mining sector, enacted as to the mining code, 1986.

Ms Lamptey’s experience as an investment lawyer, led to her attending the London school of Economics and political science (LSE) of the University of London on the prestigious Chevening Fellowship from the British government. She received her third law degree, an LLM in international Law, from LSE in 1987.

Upon her return from UK, from 1990 to 1998 Ms Lamptey chose to use the extensive financial aspects of the LLM in the corporate arena, as Head of Capital Market at Ecobank Ghana Limited and then as Head of Corporate Finance at Cal Merchant Bank. However, she continued to use her legal skills as well in diverse ways, including being part of the committee which drafted the membership rules and the listing regulations of the Ghana Stock Exchange, as well as the drafting of the Securities Industry Law. Keen to keep those legal skills honed, she chose to handle the regulatory aspect of the 1994 landmark public offering of Ashanti Goldfields shares, as an additional responsibility beyond her role as co-lead manager (for Ecobank) of the Ghanaian and ECOWAS offering.

After a stint with Loita Capital Partners in the Johannesburg, South Africa as Group Corporate Finance and Legal Advisor from 1990 to 2000, Ms Lamptey left the field of banking to become an independent legal and financial consultant based in Johannesburg, until her return to Ghana three years ago.

Firmly committed to corporate governance, transparency and accountability in the corporate sector, Ms Lamptey has held a number of board appointments over the years. These include being a founder and member of the Governing Council of the Ghana Stock Exchange, and a member of the boards of the Securities Discount Company (SDC) and of Gliksten W.A.
She was for two years, a non-executive director of GCB Bank, where she served as a member of the Human Resource Committee.

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