The Citizens Forum, a civil society organisation, has petitioned CHRAJ and invoked the jurisdiction of the Commission under Article 218(a), (b) and (c) of the 1992 Constitution in respect of the conduct of the Ghana Civil Service and its officials.
The petition was on the basis that:
- In 2017, the Service directed individual job seekers who wished to be employed at the Service to purchase job application forms at GH¢00 (Ten Ghana Cedis) from the Ghana Publishing House. Over 3,000 (Three Thousand) interested persons purchased, completed and submitted such application forms to the Service.
- On January 4, 2018, the Service conducted screening exercises in the form of an aptitude test on the persons they had shortlisted for recruitment. This aptitude test was conducted at the Civil Service Training Centre at Cantonment, WAEC Hall at Ridge and the St Thomas Aquinas Senior High School, all in Accra.
- When the shortlisted applicants went to take the aptitude test that the Service required them to pass as part of the employment process, the Service compelled each of them to make an additional payment of GH¢00 (Fifty Ghana Cedis) before allowing them to take the test.
- The Service, however, failed to issue receipts acknowledging the payments of these monies by the shortlisted persons.
The Citizens Forum in their petition stated that:
- The Civil Service has no power as a public institution under the laws of Ghana to sell or charge fees to persons who wish to be recruited into the Civil Service. Therefore, by doing so, the Civil Service and its officials have acted outside their powers or in a manner inconsistent with the laws regulating it and how they may raise funds.
- The non-issuance of receipts for the additional payment is in breach of Section 28 (1), (2) and (3) of the Financial Administration Regulations, 2004 (L.I. 1802) which opens doors for malfeasance and misappropriation.
- The Civil Service is bound to follow the rules of Public Financial Administration as provided under the Financial Administration Act, 2003 (Act 654) and the Financial Administration Regulations 2004, (LI 1802), particularly, Regulation 20 of LI 1802. Therefore, by charging such fees without complying with such regulations, particularly, without first seeking parliamentary approval for same, the Civil Service or its officials have acted in a manner inconsistent with such laws.
- The conduct of the Civil Service and by many other public sector agencies where monies are extracted from unemployed and vulnerable youth seeking to serve their nation constitute an abuse of the Ghanaian youth and an unreasonable administrative practice on the part of public institutions whose expenditure are borne by the Consolidated Fund.
The organisation prayed the Commission to take the appropriate steps to assist them in obtaining the following reliefs:
- To ascertain as to whether the collection was backed by law as under the Financial Administration Regulation (L.I. 1802), section 20 and 21 dealing with review of rates, fees and charges and also in compliance with section 47 (1) and (2) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016.
- To ascertain as to whether the Head of Civil Service complied with Section 22 of L.I. 1802 in respect of the disbursement of accrued monies from the charging of fees.
- To ascertain whether the money collected was deposited into the Government of Ghana Account (Consolidated Fund) as enshrined in section 47(2) (a) of the PFMA 2016 or the Internally Generated Fund Account of the Civil Service and what the proper process should be.
- To ascertain when that money was deposited into the account supra if it was indeed deposited.
- To ascertain whether it is reasonable and fair for the Service to take monies from the 3000 jobless Ghanaians with the purpose of providing them jobs to serve their nation.
- To ascertain as to whether the conduct of the Civil Service to collect moneys from unemployed Ghanaian youths who are willing to serve their mother land, without any guarantee of a job placement, constitutes denying the jobless youth the little they have for their sustenance, and hence it is an injustice to the suffering youth.
- To determine whether the payment of monies to seek employment in the Civil Service is a worthy practice that can stay and which all public and private institutions can emulate given the fact that in other jurisdictions, people being enlisted into the Civil Service are not charged any recruitment fee.
- To pronounce on the conduct of the Civil Service and the Head of Civil Service as applied in the L.I. 1802.
- To investigate and ascertain all other matters that may be relevant to this particular issue and make pronouncements on the financial conduct of the Civil Service in this matter and other inherent human rights abuse of applicants.
The petition was signed by Beatrice Feehi Annangfio, Nditsi, Wonder Yao Dogbe Romeo, Benjamin Alpha Aidoo and Derek Nii Tagoe.