July 19, 2017
Some concerned staff of the Electoral Commission (EC), have filed a petition to the President, calling for a full-scale enquiry into the stewardship of the EC Chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei.
The group, among other allegations, is accusing the EC boss of mismanagement, abuse of office and willfully causing financial loss to the state through her actions.
It comes a few weeks after three top EC officials, including a deputy commissioner, were interdicted over alleged irregularities in the management of the Commission’s staff welfare fund.
The petition, dated June 13, and filed by the group’s Counsel, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, claim among other things that Mrs Osei’s decision to cancel a contract awarded to Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) — a company contracted to supply and manage Biometric Voter Registration machines (BVRs) and the Biometric Voter Devices (BVDs), as well as her directive for the payment of $76,000 to IT firm, Dream Oval, were fraudulent.
“The Commission signed a contract with STL on the premise that Voter Registration Exercise was going to be electoral area based. Upon assumption of office as Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei unilaterally abrogated the said contract without recourse to the same Commission that approved the earlier version.
According to the group, “she single-handedly renegotiated the contract with the vendor without the involvement of the members of the Commission, not even the deputies. She then awarded the contract to the tune of $21,999,592 without going through tender contrary to the Public Procurement Act. The Chairperson then re-awarded these contracts without approval from the Commission.”
The staff also claim that the political posture of Mrs Osei before the conduct of the 2016 general election nearly caused instability.
“But for the technical and competency of the Commission, she would have plunged this country into civil war,” the petition said.
The group quoted Article 146 of the Constitution to back its call for the removal of the EC boss since the Chairperson’s office is treated in the Constitution the same as the office of a Justice of the Appeals Court or the office of a Justice of the superior court.
Article 146(1) of the 1992 Constitution, which states that “a Justice of the Superior Court or a Chairman of the Regional Tribunal shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour or incompetence or on the grounds of inability to perform the functions of his office arising from infirmity of body or mind.”
Article 151(1) also states, “A person holding a judicial office may be removed from office by the Chief Justice on the grounds only of stated misbehaviour, incompetence or inability to perform his/her functions arising from infirmity of body or mind and upon a resolution supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all members of the Judicial Council.”
ADR Daily Newsdesk
Find below portions of the petition