General News of Saturday, 22 July 2017
Veteran journalist Kweku Baako has described a formal request calling for the removal of the Electoral Commission chairperson Charlotte Osei as an ‘incompetent petition filed by a competent lawyer’.
The Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper tore through the 28-point concerns raised by some staff of the EC and filed by a legal practitioner Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang.
Baako pointing out several portions he considers “petty, inconsequential and flimsy” intended to trigger Article 146(3) of the 1992 constitution which outlines impeachment processes for heads of constitutional bodies.
He said the claim that the ‘arrogant’ EC refused to grant audience to the leadership of the National Peace Council and an AU delegation which monitored the 2016 general elections cannot be a ground for impeachment.
The claim is also not true, he said and explained the two groups had no appointment to meet the EC who was unavailable at the time of their visits.
The chairperson, however, honoured a scheduled meeting with the Peace Council and the AU delegation which was led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.
Baako said it is factually inaccurate, a statement attributed to the EC chair indicating her dislike for a printing company Buck Press Ltd because of its perceived ties with the NPP.
He urged the petitioners to verify with a transcript of her comments made during a BBC interview last year.
The veteran journalist said it is “no big deal” for the EC chairperson to attend a cabinet meeting unless the petitioners can prove that there is a conspiracy between the government and the chair.
He also dismissed the claim that Charlotte Osei compromised her neutrality and independence by arranging for a 2015 V8 Land Cruiser from the Office of the President.
This arrangement, according to Kweku Baako, has been in place since 1992 and cannot be a basis for an impeachment.
Kweku Baako however admitted some “big” allegations bordering on procurement, contracts and financial malfeasance are serious impeachable offences.
Except that some of these claims are also factually incorrect, he went on.
The contract with Super Tech (STL) Limited which the staff say was abrogated by the chairperson without due process, he said, is not true.
Baako said he had seen e-mail correspondence of those who signed the contract which admitted they had no knowledge of the PPA when it entered into a contract with the commission hence the cancellation.
A new contract with STL was not more than GH?21m as claimed by the petitioners but GH? 7million.
Baako expressed disappointment at the petitioner’s lack of attention to facts.
“I am beginning to suspect that the concerned workers perhaps have no access to official records…these are simple things” he emphasised.
Baako, nonetheless, believes irrespective of the allegations, there is the need for some investigations because the corporate integrity of the Electoral Commission is at stake.
EC boss debunks allegations levelled against her by unfazed staff by GhanaWeb on Scribd