As the Ombudsman of Ghana, CHRAJ is mandated to protect and promote administrative justice to ensure that the government and its officers are accountable and transparent. The Commission ensures that the administrative organs of the State provide equal access to employment and services and that they are administered fairly. In particular, this function of the Commission is to ensure that public officials avoid arbitrariness or bias in their actions. The Administrative Justice functions of the Commission replace the office of the Ombudsman, created by the Ombudsman Act of 1970, which investigated administrative decisions to ensure justice. This mandate is contained in Articles 218 (a), (b) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 7 (1) (a), (b) of Act 456.
The Commission is mandated to investigate complaints concerning injustice and unfair treatment of any person by a public officer and to: “investigate complaints concerning the functioning of the Public Services Commission, the administrative organs of the State, the Armed Forces, the Police Service and the Prison Service in so far as the complaints relate to the failure to achieve a balanced structuring of those services or equal access by all to the recruitment of those services or fair administration in relation to those services” – Article 218(b).
Among other things, the Commission:
- Investigates complaints of maladministration, abuse of power and unfair treatment by public officials;
- Investigates complaints about discrimination, delays, omissions or failures by public institutions or officials;
- Investigates complaints about actions of public institutions, including Ministries, Departments, Agencies [MDAs], where such actions and decisions occasion injustice, unfairness or hardship;
- Investigates complaints of unequal access to recruitment into the public services [MDAs, Police Service, Prisons Service, Armed Forces, etc];
- Takes appropriate action to remedy, correct or reverse any action or decision that can be described as maladministration, abuse of office, or unfair treatment, or which undermines sound public administration;
- Educates the public to demand and hold public officials accountable in public administration.
Powers of the Commission
The Commission has power to:
- Require an institution or person to submit information, documents, records or other materials that will assist in the Commission’s investigations.
- Require any institution or person to appear before the Commission to assist in its investigations.
- Go to court to seek remedies, including compliance with its recommendations. Matters outside the Commission’s Mandate
The Commission does not have power to investigate:
- A matter pending before a court of law.
- A matter between the Government of Ghana and another Government or International Organization.
- A matter where the President exercises his or her prerogative of mercy (such as the grant of a pardon to a convict).