General News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017
The Electoral Commission Chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei has threatened to sue her accusers in relation to the petition which has been sent to the presidency asking for her removal on grounds of “misconduct.”
Accordingly, her counsel, Mr Thaddeus Sory has asked lawyer for the concerned staff of the EC, Mr Maxwell Opoku Agyeman to provide the names and full details of the petitioners.
A group, calling itself concerned workers of the Electoral Commission (EC) have petitioned the President and the Chief Justice to begin impeachment processes against the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei.
In a six-page petition dated Thursday, July 13, 2017 and signed by their counsel, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, the group accused the EC Boss of misconduct, citing breaches of some provisions of the 1992 Constitution as well as the Public Procurement Act, Act 663.
The Presidency on Wednesday afternoon confirmed receiving the petition.
The group accused Mrs Osei of taking unilateral decisions without recourse to the appropriate departments, even her deputies.
They mentioned for instance her engagement in activities they said were “fraudulent”, citing her decision to cancel a contract awarded to Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) 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.
“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,” the petition said.
“The chairperson has constituted herself into the Commission’s Tender Review Commission contrary to the Public Procurement Act. She singularly chairs the Entity Tender Committee and the Tender Review Committee at the same time. This puts her into conflict of interest position and this is a clear breach of the public procurement act,” it added.
Constitutional provision on removal of EC boss
Article 44 (2)(3) of the 1992 Constitution states that the Chairperson of the EC shall have the same terms and conditions of service as a Justice of the Court of Appeal.
Per that, the Chairperson of EC cannot be removed from office except for “stated misbehaviour or incompetence or on grounds of inability to perform the functions of his/her office arising from infirmity of body or mind”.
Article 151(1) also states, “A persons 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”.
Below is a copy of the letter from Mrs Charlotte Osei’s lawyer
LLM (UTAH), LLM (QUEEN’S), LLB (HONS) BL (GH)
SOLICITOR OF THE SUPREME COURT OF GHANA,
P.O. BOX 179, ACCRA.
RE: PETITION AGAINST THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION (MRS CHARLOTTE OSEI).
1.0 We write as solicitors for and on behalf of Mrs Charlotte Osei (hereafter simply called “Our client”) who is the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of the Republic of Ghana.
2.0 Our client’s attention has been drawn to a letter dated the 13th day of July, 2017 on the above intituled subject written by your goodself and by virtue of which letter you presented to his Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana, a petition for the “impeachment” of our client pursuant to the provisions of article 146 of the 1992 Constitution.
3.0 Having perused the said letter to which was attached the allegations on the basis of which the petition invoked the provisions of article 146 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana for our client’s impeachment, we have noted several defamatory statements in respect of which we have our client’s irrevocable instructions to take immediate action against your clients who have not been disclosed on the face of your letter.
4.0 At all times material to our present letter to you, your letter has received widespread publication in the mass and social media by way of radio broadcasts and discussions including comments in blatant violation of the confidentiality requirements of article 146 of the 1992 Constitution pursuant to which you have petitioned the President of the Republic of Ghana.
5.0 Be that as it may, having observed from your letter by virtue of which the petition to the President is conveyed that your clients are an amorphous group of people described as “concerned staff of the Electoral Commission.” Our client has instructed us to demand from you and we hereby so demand the full list of these “concerned staff of the Electoral Commission” to enable us commence legal action against them for the defamatory statements contained in their petition failing which our client will be constrained to proceed against you alone as defendant in the suit our client intends to commence against them since you are to all intents and purposes, their agent.
6.0 Our client’s decision to seek remedy in court for the protection of her reputation without prejudice to the article 146 proceedings triggered by you.
7.0 Counting on your co-operation.
SORY @ LAW.