General News of Friday, 21 July 2017
Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei, has rubbished allegations of abuse of office, causing financial loss to the state and breaches of the country’s procurement law leveled against her as totally baseless.
Some staff of the Commission have petitioned President Akufo-Addo to cause the Chief Justice, Ms Sophia Akuffo, to initiate impeachment proceedings against Ms Osei.
The staff are claiming Ms Osei without recourse to laid down administrative structures and the Public Procurement Act, singularly abrogated contracts, secured a V8 Land Cruiser for her use, and awarded contracts worth thousands of dollars.
The petitioners also claim a contract signed by the Commission with Super Tech Limited (STL) for the Voter Registration Exercise, which was going to be electoral area-based, was “unilaterally abrogated” by Ms Osei.
“According to them, she single-handedly renegotiated the contract with the vendor without the involvement of the members of the Commission, not even the deputies,” they claimed in the petition dated July 13 and signed by their lawyer, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang.
The EC chair “then awarded the contract to the tune of $21,999,592 without going through tender contrary to the Public procurement Act.
The chairperson re-awarded these contracts without seeking approval from the Commission,” they claim.
Ms Osei is said to have compromised the independence and neutrality of the Commission for arranging 2015 model V8 Land Cruiser with registration WR 2291-15 from the office of the president for use as official vehicle without going through the procurement process or recourse to the Commission.
According to the petitioners, Ms Osei again unilaterally awarded a contract of about 25 million dollars to a South African company, Quarzar Limited, to change and redevelop the Commission’s logo under the guise of rebranding without going through tender contrary to the procurement act.
They further alleged she submitted an estimate of over GHC1million for the renovation of her official bungalow without recourse to the Commission or the appropriate staff in the Commission.
Ms Osei is also being accused of engaging the services of private law firm@ Sorry, as lawyers for the Commission without resorting to due process. In a statement, however, Mrs Osei stated that all the allegations levelled against her were false and without any merit whatsoever.
“The contents of the said ‘petition’ which has been widely circulated on social media and published by the mainstream media, are frivolous, baseless and are actuated by malice and ill will.
These allegations are in my view, the product of an overactive evil imagination, and do not deserve any serious attention. “I wish to state categorically that all the defamatory allegations are outright lies and without any merit whatsoever.
“I understand from the media that the Presidency has received the alleged petition. I have my full responses ready for each and every allegation made in the so-called petition. However, in deference to His Excellency the President of the Republic, for whom I have the highest levels of respect, I would respectfully wait to be formally informed by the Presidency before I make my responses public.
“I take the opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to the staff of the Electoral Commission, political leaders from the various political parties, and members of the general public for the overwhelming support shown to my family and I so far. I am absolutely certain that once again, history and the truth will vindicate the just.
“The political motive hunting would not serve the greater purpose. The ‘motiveless malignity’ behind this Petition are self-seeking and faceless individuals with the sole motive of satisfying their purely personal vendetta against my person and protecting illegal financial interests.
“Finally, the Electoral Commission is an independent governance institution, non- partisan and with full protections for its officials under the 1992 constitution of Ghana. I would wish that the political actors would respect the constitutional framework provided for the Commission and support in upholding the supreme interest of the Commission for the wider interest of our democracy.”