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).
What can I Complain About?
You can complain about the administrative actions and decisions of public institutions and public officials if such an action or decision can appropriately be regarded as:
- Bias, victimization, vindictiveness, arbitrariness, rudeness, mistreatment, or perverse;
- Disrespect to your rights and dignity as a person;
- Refusal to answer reasonable questions;
- Knowingly giving misleading information;
- Discrimination on the grounds of gender, colour, tribe, or other prohibited grounds;
- Making it difficult for you to access or use services or facilities to which you are entitled;
- Faulty procedures influenced by improper conduct;
- Poor service delivery or failed service without giving good reason;
- Reckless disregard for applicable guidelines which results in inequitable treatment of service users;
When may I Complain?
You may complain when you:
Are dissatisfied with a decision, an action of or a service you have received from any public institution or public official; and
Have been unsuccessful in your efforts to resolve the problem with the public institution or public official.
You should complain to the Commission as soon as possible but not later than 12 months after the conduct or decision you want to complain about took place.
Who can make a Complaint?
Any person or group of persons or an institution can lodge a complaint with the Commission. Where the circumstances demand, a person may lodge a complaint on behalf of another.
How can I make a Complaint?
You may complain to the Commission via phone, email, post, fax, or in person at any of the Commission’s offices [Head Office in Accra, Regional or District Offices].
When making a complaint, you should try to give as much detail as possible including supporting documents and contacts of persons who may assist the Commission in its investigation. You should also indicate to the Commission the remedy you are seeking.
You should provide all relevant information that will assist the Commission communicate better with you and the person or institution you are complaining about. This should include full names, contact addresses and contact phone numbers.
Why should I bring a Complaint to the Commission?
Every person who comes before the Commission is given every opportunity to present his or her case through a process that is fair, just and transparent. In addition, you will find that the Commission’s:
- Services are free, empowering, user friendly and accessible to all.
- Investigations and complaints resolution mechanisms are efficient and expeditious.