General News of Thursday, 20 July 2017
A private legal practitioner suspects the controversial petition seeking to impeach the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission may fail to see the light of day.
According to Nii Kpako Addo the petition may suffer a capacity deficit and may be rejected by the Chief Justice whose responsibility it is to first determine if there is a prima facie case to be investigated before proceeding to conduct full scale investigation.
A 29-point petition has flooded the media landscape with damning allegations of misconduct against the EC chairperson, Charlotte Osei.
The allegations made by faceless “concerned workers of the EC” range from breach of procedures at the EC, breach of financial laws, and contempt towards deputy commissioners and bad human relations.
The petition came with a counsel, Maxwell Opoku Agyemang who signed it but without the identities of the petitioners who made the allegations.
The petition has already triggered mixed reactions clothed with partisan coloration.
The opposition National Democratic Congress has sworn to challenge the decision or attempt to impeach the EC Chair and is singing the chorus of witch-hunting.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu in an interview with Joy News’ Evans Mensah said the EC Chair is not above the law, but she cannot be investigated, let alone impeached by the president.
Discussing the matter on Newsnite, Lawyer Nii Kpakpo hinted the substance of the petition may not even delved into because there are no faces to the petition.
The issue of capacity, he noted is fundamental to the legal process.
Citing the famous Judicial Bribery scandal in which Tiger Eye PI petitioned the Chief Justice for the removal of some corrupt judges captured on camera trading justice for money, Nii Kpakpo said the issue of capacity was key.
The defendants challenged the capacity of Tiger Eye PI to petition the CJ, a petition that will trigger their removal from office.
Nii Kpakpo Addo said the only thing that saved the Anas petition was his preceding statement that he Anas, in his capacity as a citizen of Ghana has filed this petition.
But for that statement the petition would have been dismissed because of lack of capacity, he said.
“If there is no identifiable petitioner as the time of the filing of the petition, then the entire petition is null and void for lack of capacity,” he said.
Asked if it would apply in the EC case, he affirmed, it would.
With a petition pregnant with allegations but no faces, Kpakpo Addo does not see it passing the capacity test.
He however deferred to the Chief Justice who he said would make the final decision on that.
However in a contrasting argument, the Dean of the Central University Law School, Yaw Oppong says the law which spells out the impeachment process of the Electoral Commissioner, Article 146, does not demand capacity from the petitioner.