General News of Thursday, 20 July 2017
A law lecturer and legal practitioner says lawyers for the Electoral Commission (EC) [email protected] are not in breach of conflict of interest situation with decision to represent the Commission’s Chairperson.
Yaw Oppong told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Newsnite Thursday the lawyers are at liberty to represent Charlotte Osei in an impeachment petition against her because the body is not a party to the matter.
He explained, “if the EC as a body has a case against one of its Commissioners, then it might not be appropriate in court or in any other form of provision of legal service for its lawyer to be seen to be acting on for of one of the members or employees.”
Joy News intercepted a 27-point petition in which allegations of misbehaviour, mismanagement have been made against the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Charlotte Osei.
The petition, signed by a private legal practitioner, Maxwell Opoku Agyemang who is counsel for the petitioners stated among others that the EC Chair in many instances breached the Procurement Law in procuring goods and services for the Commission.
Mrs Osei was alleged to have unilaterally and without recourse to procurement procedures engaged the services of lawyers, [email protected] who represented the Commission in the pre-election legal banter with aggrieved parties and disqualified flag bearers.
She was also alleged to have abrogated an existing contract with Super Tech Ltd. (STL), unilaterally renegotiating and re-awarding the contract at a new sum of $21,999,592 without serious regard to the tender processes.
“The chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei unilaterally awarded a contract of about $25,000 to a South African company Quazar Limited to change and re-develop the Commission’s Logo under the guise of rebranding without going through tender contrary to the Public Procurement Act,” point 26 of the petition read.
Apart from the breaches of the Procurement Law, the petitioners claimed the EC chair compromised her position and the independence of the Commission by attending cabinet meetings during the tenure of the John Mahama administration and even caused the arrangement of a 2015 Land Cruiser with registration number WR 2291-15 from the office of the president for use as her official vehicle.
The petitioners also leveled allegations of managerial, administrative incompetence and ineptitude against the EC Chair.
However, Thaddeus Sory who is lawyer for Mrs Osei insists the content of a 29-point petition which is supposed to be the basis for the impeachment of his client were injurious and defamatory.
He has written to Maxwell Opoku Agyemang, lawyer for the petitioners, demanding that he presents the names and identities of the workers of the EC so that legal action will be taken against them, failing which he the lawyer will be named as the defendant.
Many have questioned on what basis Mr Sory is representing the EC Chair.
Commenting on the development, Mr Oppong said there are a number of authorities to the effect that Article 146, which deals with retirement and resignation of Justices of the Superior Courts and Chairmen of Regional Tribunals, does not prescribe any capacity for petitioners seeking the removal of such officers.
“The conflict situation of a lawyer in relation to a client is premised on privileged information by a party to his lawyer which in the future that lawyer may if his services are sought by another person against his previous clients, the lawyer is precluded from using that information since it has been used in favour of the previous client.