General News of Saturday, 22 July 2017
The Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu thinks that the petition asking for the removal of Mrs Charlotte Osei as chairperson of the Electoral Commission was a follow up of some internal wrangling at the Commission.
According to him, there was “bad blood” between Mrs Osei and her two deputies, especially Georgina Opoku Amankwah in charge of Corporate Services [Administration].
That, he said, was what has culminated in the EOCO investigations in the missing endownment fund money which has led to Georgina Opoku Amankwah being asked to proceed on leave and the latest being the petition for the removal of Mrs Osei.
Speaking to journalists on Friday, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said he foresaw the feud in March 2017 and advised that the matter be resolved otherwise it could “blow up.”
“I want to believe that it is that whole process that is playing out because the people there, of course we heard that she [Charlotte Osei] resorted to EOCO to get rid of them [Georgina and co].
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“Don’t forget that the lady involved, the Deputy Commissioner (Georgina Opoku Amankwah], had been with Madam Charlotte Osei at NCCE where she was her boss. But she (Georgina) had preceded her to the Electoral Commission,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.
“Before she [Charlotte] came there [EC], she [Georgina] was thinking that she could be made the commissioner herself, and the other guy, Sule [Amadu], had also preceded all of them so he was also thinking that he could be made the commissioner, so it is their own kind of internal wrangling.”
According to the Majority Leader who is also the Member of Parliament for Suame in Kumasi, the issue played up when Parliament met to fashion out the budget for the EC in March.
“I made this point on the floor [of Parliament] that, we saw the signals, the signs on the wall were clear because they had appeared before us, the special budget committee. I had asked a simple question, the chairperson was required to be with us … before we begin, may we know the whereabouts of the chairperson [Charlotte], is she coming and the first response was that, well we understand she has traveled. I was taken aback so I repeated the question.”
“Did you hear me? I am asking about the whereabouts of the commissioner and she [Georgina Opoku Amankwah] repeated the same, that she gathers this morning that she has traveled.”
The Minister said: “Can we have a situation where the commissioner would be travelling out of the jurisdiction without informing any of the deputies, It is bad blood. So I told them in March that they should have a way to resolve the impasse there otherwise it could blow, this is what we are witnessing today.”
“It is their own internal kind of bleeding that we are witnessing, it shouldn’t be because I said to us sometime back as a nation that it may have repercussion on impending elections.”
“As we speak now, there are matters that they should be doing which they have not initiated any steps to do because of what is happening. There are none elections related matters that they should be attending to, the refurbishment of the stock of biometric equipment, the verification equipment.
“You recall that before elections, some of them had to be cannibalised to repair others, there was not even much time to do testing of those new ones that were refurbished, we have a pack, a whole lot of those equipment that may not be able to work the next time around.”