Over Her US$203,500 Hotel Bills
The Commissioner for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, claims contrary to reports that the State is paying her hotel bills, she has been footing the bills since August this year, as she awaits the completion of renovation works on her official residence.
A Daily Graphic report yesterday, suggested that the State was paying a monthly rent of US$5,500 for her apartment at the African Union (AU) Village. The report also indicated that Lamptey, moved from the AU Village into a plush hotel which cost the State a daily rate of US$456.25.
Responding to the allegations on Accra-based Citi FM yesterday, the CHRAJ boss , who has been at post for three years, said the reports are inaccurate.
She, however, indicated on another radio station, Radio Gold, that she was going to claim the hotel bills from the state, since she is supposed to be housed by the state, but has not been because her official residence was under renovation.
She revealed that she lived in her mother’s house with her two children, but had to move out from the place after her appointment.
But questions are being raised as to the propriety of her action, and a thorough investigation is being demanded into US$203,500 hotel bills with respect to the details of every item or facilities used by her in the expensive hotel.
For instance, Free food to herself and two children, free drinks to herself and two children, use of swimming pools by herself and the children, the use of gymnasium and other facilities by herself and three children, are not part of her conditions of service, hence irrespective of where she is living, the state could not be paying for these free things.
Lamptey said: “We were looking for a furnished house because we did not have furniture and the lump sum required to furnish a house was not an amount we would have had available and all the unfurnished houses was for a minimum of two years, so in order to save money, we took a much shorter lease of six months and then we realised it would take much longer, so we took a one-year lease at GH¢450,000.”
“The hotel rate is what we would have paid on August 31 if the house was still not ready. This article says that the State is covering this amount for the hotel, I am paying my hotel bill. I am paying my bills, it is the condition of my appointment that I must be housed but as at this moment I am paying my own bills,” she explained.
Ms Lamptey, also denied the claim that she had embargoed the distribution of some newly purchased vehicles for their regional branches. She explained that CHRAJ was yet to dispatch the vehicles, because the government had not given approval for the hiring of drivers to handle them.
Meanwhile, former CHRAJ boss, Justice Emile Short has said that it was “an error of judgment” on the part of his successor, Lauretta Lamptey, to have moved into a hotel at the expense of the state, pending the renovation of her official residence.
Ms. Lamptey, according to state-owned Daily Graphic, within 37 months – from July 2011 when she was appointed to July 2014 when her rent at the AU Village expired – spent US$203,500 on rent and utilities at the expense of the State’s kitty.
Justice Short, who described the house as “habitable” as of the time he left office in 2010, told STARR NEWS he found it “surprising” that the purported renovation has taken more than three years and still ongoing.
“I think also her decision to move to a hotel is a serious error of judgment given the function that CHRAJ has,” Short said on yesterday.
“I was surprised and rather shocked to hear that she’s now living in a hotel at the state’s expense, but as I said, when I left in 2010, the house was in a habitable condition. Of course, it could have done with some repair, but for the repairs to have taken so long, I really don’t know why that should be so,” Justice Short observed.
According to him, he would never have behaved the way Lamptey did under any circumstance; “…I definitely would not have moved into a hotel when I was in office under any condition, but she has to explain why she did that, but I think that having been in office for three years and then you move into a hotel, I find that quite strange.”
He said, though he was reluctantly commenting on the matter “because my observations might be misconstrued by her and by other people…I do agree that the amount is huge and I do honestly feel that for a head of an institution, after several years, to move into a hotel is rather unusual and it doesn’t augur well for the image of the institution.”