Some aggrieved staff of the Electoral Commission (EC)have petitioned the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo to impeach Mrs. Charlotte Osei – EC Chairperson.
The concerned staff of the EC highlighted some acts of misconduct on the part of Mrs. Charlotte Osei since her appointment as EC Chairperson.
In the 27point petition cited by Peacefmonline.com, Counsel for the concerned EC staff, Maxwell Opoku Agyeman, a renowned private legal practitioner, addressed their concerns in accordance with Article 146(3) of the constitution and prayed President Nana Akufo-Addo to “forward same to Her Ladyship, the Chief Justice for possible impeachment process”.
The petitioners described the EC Boss as being “administratively inept” and lacking “managerial experience or capacity and knowledge of corporate governance structures and regulatory compliance”.
They also cited breaches of some provisions of the 1992 Constitution by the EC Boss regarding her office, conduct and duties.
“Madam Charlotte Osei, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission on 30th June, 2015 assumed office as Article 71 appointee whiles still holding office as a Board Member of Ghana Re Insurance, a public company contrary to Article 44(4) of the 1992 constitution. When the issue was raised, the PRO of Ghana Re confirmed that she only resigned on December 5th, 2015. This means that whiles holding office as the Chairperson of the Commission she was still a Board Member of Ghana Re Insurance. Mrs. Charlotte Osei was appointed as Chairperson of Electoral Commission of Ghana while holding office as Chairperson of the National Commission of Civic Education contrary to the 1992 constitution. In fact, it was announced at her swearing-in ceremony by the former President that he received her resignation from NCCE on 29th June 2017 before the swearing in.
“Following her appointment as EC Chair, Mrs. Charlotte compromised the independence and neutrality of the Commission by arranging for 2015 V8 Land Cruiser with registration WR 2291-15 from the office of the President for use as official vehicle without going through the procurement process or recourse to the Commission. The political posture of the Chairperson prior to the conduct of the 2016 general election nearly pushed Ghana to the precipices. But for the action of technical and competent staff of the Commission, she could have plunged this country to civil war”, portions of the petition read.
They further indicted the EC Boss, stating emphatically that her neutrality has been compromised.
“As part of compromising her independence and neutrality, Mrs. Charlotte Osei claimed that the Electoral Commission has been allocated a new building for use as office complex without the approval of the Commission. The 7-member Commission has not at any point in time formally requested for any office allocation since the Commission sees nothing wrong with the current office.
With the Chairperson’s insatiable demand of affluence and flamboyance, she unilaterally awarded a contract to the tune of GHS 3.9 MILLION for demarcation and partitioning of the said office complex without recourse to the Commission. She claimed she sought approval from the Public Procurement Authority but strangely enough, the contract sum is higher than PPA’s approved level”.
She is also said to have been “engaging in cronyism by awarding a contracts to the tune of $14,310,961 (United State Dollars) to her cronies for the construction of Pre-fabricated District offices without recourse to the Commission. The value of these contracts is in excess of the approved threshold by the Public Procurement Authority. One of the contractors by name Messrs Contracts & Cads Limited is related to Mrs. Charlotte Osei. Upon receipt of advance mobilization under the approval of the Chairperson, the company has failed to meet the contract terms. Notwithstanding the clear breach of the contractual terms, the company has requested for additional payment which the Chairperson has approved. The Director of Finance has stopped the payment of this request. This accounts for one of the reasons of the Chairperson’s disaffection for the Director of Finance.
“The Commission procured grant from USAID as part of the support of the 2016 general election. This facility was signed by the then Minister of Finance. By Article 175 of the 1992 constitution and in line with Section 5 of the Financial Administration Act, 2003 (Act 654), these grants constitute Public Funds. As part of the implementation of this grant, the Chairperson, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, without the Commission’s approval unilaterally recruited Personal Assistant and a Communication Officer and paid them $1500 and $2,500 (United States Dollars) respectively. This was done without clearance from the Ministry of Finance”.
Mrs. Charlotte Osei is further accused of having a very poor human relations not befitting of any leader in public space.
“She has no respect for the organizational structure of the Commission”, hence bringing the EC’s image into disrepute; the petitioners stressed.
In a related development, Peacefmonline sources at the Flagstaff House say the Office of the President has now received the petition.
Earlier, sources at the presidency said though they had heard of such a petition in the media, they had not received it as yet. But Communications Director at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, now confirms the petition has been received. Investigation?
Legal experts have told Peacefmonline that if a prima facie case is established against the Chairperson, a full-scale investigation could be launched into the stated misconduct. The report presented to the president after the investigations into the petition must be binding on him.
If the committee recommends removal, as happened in the case of Loretta Lamptey, the president will have no choice but to sanction it.