General News of Saturday, 22 July 2017
Embattled Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, has fought back her accusers, saying they have evil agenda.
A litany of allegations have been leveled against Mrs Osei, including spending GH¢3.9 million to partition an office and receiving a Toyota Land Cruiser from the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, as well as attending Cabinet meetings under President John Mahama.
“With the chairperson’s insatiable demand for affluence and flamboyance, she unilaterally awarded a contract to the tune of GH¢3.9 million for demarcation and partitioning of the said office complex without recourse to the Commission,” a faceless group of EC staff, who have petitioned President Akufo-Addo about alleged malfeasance by the commission’s boss, had indicated.
But the EC boss insists that she has done nothing wrong for her to be impeached.
“These allegations are in my view, the product of an overactive evil imagination, and do not deserve any serious attention,” she fired back in a statement.
She said she is ever prepared to face her accusers who are calling for her impeachment over allegations of abuse of office and corruption.
A news release titled, ‘Allegations against me are bogus’ signed by the chairperson herself, said she had become aware of what she called ‘phony’ allegations being leveled against her and seemed to have imputed political motive to the whole action.
“My attention has been drawn to a litany of phony allegations made against me by a certain Maxwell Opoku Agyemang in a supposed ‘petition’ on behalf of unidentified person(s), asking for my removal from office,” she said, adding, “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.
She posited, “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.”
Mrs Charlotte Osei said that she was not going to make her response public until an official response from the presidency saying, “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 me so far. I am absolutely certain that once again, history and the truth will vindicate the just.”
She appeared to impute ‘political motive’ when she said in the statement that “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.”
According to Madam Osei, the EC is “an independent governance institution, non-partisan and with full protection for its officials under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. 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.”
Before personally issuing the news release, Ms Charlotte Osei had caused her lawyers – Sory @ Law – who are the external solicitors for the EC, to fight the case.
Her lawyers wrote to the petitioners’ counsel, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, to disclose the identities of the concerned staff or face her in court.
“Be that as it may, we have observed from your letter by virtue of which the petition to the president is conveyed that your clients are an amorphous group of people described as ‘concerned staff of the Electoral Commission,’” the chairperson’s lawyer said.
“Our client has instructed us to demand from you and we hereby so demand the full list of these ‘concerned staff of the Electoral Commission’ to enable us commence legal action against them for the defamatory statements contained in their petition, failing which our client will be constrained to proceed against you alone as defendant in the suit; our client intends to commence action against them since you are to all intents and purposes, their agent.”
Mr Opoku-Agyemang shot back at the EC boss, insisting that he was not prepared to reveal the identities of his clients until a properly constituted body had been set up to investigate the issues, claiming that he was ready to face her in court.
He had told Citi FM on Wednesday that he had enough evidence to support the allegation his clients made against the EC boss.
“I’ll be very glad to meet them in court. If anybody suggests that there has been defamation, it will make my day. I’m not the type of person who will be intimidated by the use of these words which would not even intimidate a fly. A petition has been sent and we will follow through the petition. We will make sure that that petition is proceeded with as required by law.
“The clients are available and at the appropriate phase, we will disclose them. They have offices and they will be known….I will disclose it to the office to which I submitted the petition,” he averred.
The petitioners, among other things, are accusing Madam Osei of abusing her office and engaging in corruption, including the alleged award of contracts running into millions of dollars and moving into a new office building – all without recourse to the commission.
They said the EC chairperson had been awarding contracts, some to her cronies, without consultation with the other commissioners and also receiving a vehicle from the presidency in a clear breach of neutrality.