Overcrowding, Inadequate Equipment Hamper Work At CHRAJ

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Work at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice is being hampered by staff overcrowding and inadequate equipment.

This is as a result of government’s delay in replacing destroyed furniture and equipments in the wake of the fire that ravaged its building last year.
Fire in December last year destroyed eleven offices of the commission, displacing about forty five staff. The affected workers have had to perch in the offices of their colleagues creating congestion.

Joy news’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo who visited the commission’s office in Accra to ascertain the situation, reports four months after fire destroyed CHRAJ’s offices, no renovation work has been done at the burnt site.

“The charred furniture, computers, and other equipment remain visible here”, Gakpo reported.

The Economic and Organised Crimes Office vacated its adjourning former office structure days after the fire for CHRAJ to take over. But government is yet to make available furniture and office equipment for CHRAJ staff to move in.
Both the hearing room and conference room which were not affected by the fire have been allocated to some of the displaced staff to work there.

This means no formal hearings or meetings can be held within the premises, and CHRAJ has had no formal hearing of cases since the beginning of the year.

The number of staff working in the available office space has doubled, creating congestion. Some staff complain the situation is making it difficult to
concentrate and work effectively.

There is no library for research work. Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ Joseph Whittal admits productivity has been affected as a result of the situation.

“Most of those affected are investigators who work in the field. So they only need to come and write their reports. And sometimes you can even write your reports at home. But to the extent that staff discomfort is there, staff congestion is there. You cannot compare the productivity pre December to the productivity as at now”, he admitted.

He however assured members of the public CHRAJ is still working to ensure the human rights of all persons is protected. He said: “Let me use your medium to send a message to every body. We are still working at full throttle. It’s only part of the office that is burnt. The major part of the office is still operational. And we will attend to the need of Ghanaians.”

The commission is still awaiting the replacement of furniture and other equipment by government before they can move into the EOCO offices. It has submitted estimates of the costs of the items to the presidency, but none has been provided yet.

Mr. Whittal remains hopeful the items would be provided before the end of the next month, so things can return to normal.

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