General News of Monday, 24 July 2017
A lecturer at the University of Ghana Political Science Department has expressed disappointment at the responses given by the Electoral Commission Chairperson Charlotte Osei, in relation to a petition filed by some concerned staff of the commission accusing her of misconduct and fraud. Prof. Ransford Gyampo says he was not expecting the EC Chair to respond in a manner that will bring down public confidence and make the Commission suffer a legitimacy deficit.
Some unnamed staff of the EC have petitioned the Presidency and EOCO to probe the EC Chair over alleged corruption and fraud on her part. EOCO has already begun investigations into the case while the presidency has confirmed receipt but has yet to forward it to the Chief Justice as required by law for the necessary procedures to begin.
The aggrieved staff among other said the decision of the Chairperson to cancel a contract awarded to Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) — a company contracted to supply and manage Biometric Voter Registration machines (BVRs) and the Biometric Voter Devices (BVDs), as well as her directive for the payment of $76,000 to IT firm, Dream Oval, was fraudulent.
In response, Charlotte Osei said the accusations are frivolous, baseless and motivated by malice and ill will, adding that in her view, they are nothing but a product of an overactive evil imagination, and do not deserve any serious attention.
She followed up with another rebuttal which found its way to the media; a 28-point response which accused one of her deputies of signing contracts worth over GHS40m without her knowledge and authorization between July-September 2015.
She also accused the Deputy Chairperson of Operations, Amadu Sulley, of collecting funds above GHS6m in cash from some political parties for the organization of their party primaries without recourse to the structures of the Commission.
Commenting on the implications of the feud at the EC, Prof. Gyampo said the EC Chair should have just stuck to her first response. The content of the second which called the integrity of her deputies to question, should have been reserved only for consumption by the investigative body that will be tasked to look into the allegations.
He believes her response will rather bring down public confidence in the Commission making it difficult for the public to trust the dealings of the election organizing body in future.
Prof. Gyampo bemoaned how the content of such a sensitive and confidential petition will be leaked to the media, adding that the Supreme Court, in its wisdom ruled in similar cases brought before it that the content of such petitions be kept away from the public, in order to among others, protect and preserve the integrity of the institution(s) involved.