Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday May 22, 2018
The committee set up by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo to investigate Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson, Charlotte Osei and her two deputies for abuse of office and conflict of interest has reportedly completed its work.
DAILY GUIDE understands that all in-camera proceedings reportedly ended last Thursday, May 19, when the respondents in the matter officially closed their cases.
According to sources, both the petitioners and the three EC bosses have been given June 8 or so to file their addresses.
After filing the addresses, the five-member committee, presided over by Justice A.A. Benin of the Supreme Court, is expected to announce a date on which it will release its recommendations.
Among the last persons who appeared before the committee were Public Procurement Authority (PPA) boss and Joy Fm reporter, who also submitted a witness statement in support of the EC boss.
Mrs. Osei’s two deputies - Amadu Sulley, in-charge of Operations and Georgina Opoku-Amankwa, for Corporate Services – the latter currently being on interdiction, are also being probed by the committee.
On December 19, last year, Chief Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo, officially confirmed that she had set up a committee to investigate allegations brought against the three top EC officials.
A statement by Judicial Secretary Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong indicated that proceedings of the five-member committee were going to be held in camera.
“The public is hereby informed that Her Ladyship the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo, in accordance with Article 46 of the 1992 Constitution, has set up a five-member committee to investigate allegations brought against the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei, and her two deputies, Mr. Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Georgina Opoku-Amankwa,” the statement posited.
“The committee, which will sit in camera, in line with normal practice, consists of three Justices of the Superior Court appointed by the Judicial Council and two other persons appointed by the Chief Justice, on the advice of the Council of State. The committee is chaired by a Justice of the Supreme Court,” the statement pointed out.
According to the statement, “The committee was established after the Chief Justice had determined that there was a prima facie case against the three officials of the Electoral Commission.”
The whole action against the EC gurus was triggered by a petition sent to the presidency by Lawyer Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, who was acting on behalf of some unnamed staff of the commission, seeking to trigger impeachment proceedings against Charlotte Osei under Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution.
A litany of allegations were leveled against Mrs. Osei, including spending GH¢3.9 million to partition an office, receipt of a Toyota Land Cruiser from John Mahama’s government, spending about $14 million when the Public Procurement Authority had authorized her to use only $7.5 million, as well as attending Cabinet meetings under President John Mahama’s administration, among others.
As a result, Mrs Charlotte Osei, through her lawyers, hit back at her accusers, insisting that she had not been corrupt or abused her office and rather accused her two deputies of deliberately scheming to frustrate her stay in office.
The chairperson, in her initial response, openly accused Mrs. Opoku-Amankwa of signing contracts worth over $40 million without her knowledge and authorization between May and September 2015.
She also turned her attention to Amadu Sulley and said apart from transferring votes illegally in the run-up to the 2016 general election, he (Sulley) also pocketed huge amounts of cash from some political parties.
“The Deputy Chairperson Operations collected funds above GH¢6m in cash from some political parties for the organization of party primaries without recourse to the structures of the Commission, and without the involvement of the finance department of the Commission,” Mrs Osei said.
The fight became nastier when other unknown persons who appeared to be on the side of Mrs. Osei, sent a counter petition to the president to investigate her two deputies also for corruption and abuse of office.
Emmanuel Senyo, a non-EC staff, who had filed the counter petition against Mr Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Opoku-Amankwa, is believed to be a relative of James Kofi Afedo, the Communication Consultant employed by Mrs Charlotte Osei to work for the EC.
Accusations and counter accusations ensued between the EC boss on one hand and her two deputies on the other.
Mrs. Opoku-Amankwa, for instance, said in a 25-point response to the EC chairperson’s statement that, “the chairperson’s claim that there was a deliberate strategy to frustrate her work and tenure is palpably false and a figment of her own imagination.”
The deputy commissioner appeared to suggest that it was rather Mrs. Osei who was the problem at the commission and not her or Amadu Sulley.
“Her managerial deficiencies, coupled with her poor human relations and lack of appreciation for team work, are too manifest to escape public judgement,” she said.
Amadu Sulley’s Reaction
Amadu Sulley did not take issues lightly when he was accused of pocketing GH¢6 million from some political parties.
“I don’t understand the motive of the chair to come out now to make this unfortunate allegation against me and the Deputy Chair, Finance/Administration,” he added.