General News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017
Joy News has intercepted a petition filed by staff of the Electoral Commission against the Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, calling for a full-scale probe into various allegations, including willfully causing financial loss to the state and abuse of office.
The concerned staff of the Commission claim her 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 Super Tech (STL) Limited on the premise of 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.
“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,” stated a paragraph in the petition signed by Counsel for the staff, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, and addressed to President Nana Akufo-Addo.
The staff also claim that the political posture of Mrs. Osei prior the conduct of the 2016 general election nearly caused instability.
“But for the technical and competent of the Commission, she would have plunged this country into civil war,” the petition said.
The relevant constitutional provision for the removal of an EC Chairperson can be found in Article 146(1) of the 1992 Constitution, which states that a Chairperson can not 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”.
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.
Below are some important parts of the petition