General News of Thursday, 27 July 2017
The current board of the Electoral Commission (EC) should temporarily be dissolved in order to make way for a proper probe into the allegations raised against top members of the commission, Common Purpose Alliance Ghana (CPAG), has suggested.
According to a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the CPAG, Awuriki A. Yeboah, the allegations are serious and must be treated as such, hence disbanding the board will ensure fair investigations without interference by the parties involved.
Describing the infighting as a “disgraceful outbursts”, the group says persons involved are destroying the credibility of the electoral body, therefore, must be relieved from their posts.
“CPAG contends that these are serious allegations of malfeasance of State funds and abuse of office. At the present state of affair, there is no way these persons can run the commission efficiently and effectively,” the statement suggests.
Chairperson of the EC, Mrs. Charlotte Osei and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwaah have traded allegations against each other after a petition was filed against Mrs. Osei by some “faceless” workers leading to an unending squabble in the commission.
Mrs. Osei was accused of abuse of office and breach of procurement process by awarding contracts without consulting her deputies.
In her response to this petition seeking for her impeachment, the Mrs’ Osei also accused her two deputies of engaging in some questionable transactions without authorization.
According to her, Mr Sulley “Collected above funds GHC6 million in cash from political parties for the organisation of party primaries without recourse to the structures of the Commission, without the involvement of the finance department of the Commission.”
She also said, Opoku Amankwaah “Under the supervision of the Deputy Chair CS, staff in the finance department have flouted many financial regulations, amended bank mandates, and made many unauthorised payments beyond their approval levels and without the knowledge of the Chairperson.”
Her claims called for rebuttal allegations from the two deputies leading to the current “war” brewing in the commission.
Wading into the issue which has stirred public concerns, the non-partisan group, CPAG says the indiscipline is unjustifiable and must be discouraged by forcing the EC Boss and her deputies to proceed on leave whilst requesting President Nana Akufo-Addo to exercise his powers under “Article 146(3) of the 1992 constitution of Ghana by referring the petition to the Chief Justice for full investigation to ascertain the veracity of the allegations made by the petitioners and the chairperson of the commission”.
The entire Electoral Commission must be temporarily dissolved
The Membership of Common Purpose Alliance Ghana (CPAG), calls on the President to use his executive authority/powers, if constitutional, to temporarily dissolve the entire board of the Electoral Commission in the light of the recent disgraceful outbursts of various allegations leveled against each other, involving the three top members of the commission. This will allow thorough due process to commence immediately to ascertain the facts of the matter as per the activated constitutional process. CPAG contends that these are serious allegations of malfeasance of State funds and abuse of office. At the present state of affair, there is no way these persons can run the commission efficiently and effectively.
Recent developments emanating after a submitted Petition to the President of Ghana, asking for the removal of the chairperson of the EC due to a host of accusations, has brought Chairperson of the EC and two other commissioners at the board of the EC untenable.
Furthermore, this has brought the Electoral Commission into the public domain as being blemished with serious allegations of corruption.
We hereby propose unequivocally that to preserve the sanctity of the Commission, it needs to be purged. The President should without any further delay respond to the petition and refer it to the Chief Justice for investigation to either exonerate the chairperson of the Electoral Commission or otherwise.
We therefore urged on the President to activate his powers on Article 146(3) of the 1992 constitution of Ghana by referring the petition to the Chief Justice for full investigation to ascertain the veracity of the allegations made by the petitioners and the chairperson of the commission.
In her response, the Chairperson has made these serious allegation:
1. The Deputy Chair in charge of Operations collected about six million Ghana cedis in cash from Political Parties for the organization of party primaries without recourse to the structures of the Commission, without the involvement of the finance department of the Commission.
2. She further revealed that Political Party primaries were treated as a private commercial project by the Deputy Chair Operation with funds paid directly into the personal accounts of key staff for functions to be performed for party primaries
3. A Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr Amadu Sulley
EC Deputy Chair ‘illegally’ signed over GHC40m contract
4. She further stated that payments were also made on these contracts in excess of her approval limits and again, without the knowledge and authorization of the Chairperson.
The chairperson of the EC must be subjected to answer these questions in relation to the above:
1. Which parties sponsored the transfers?
2. What did the chair do when she discovered such illegalities?
3. Why didn’t she report it since it was a criminal act?
4. Why did she aid and abet until now?
5. Did she take some steps to abate the GHC40 million illegal contracts entered by her deputy?
CPAG maintains that the Chairperson failing to act on her mandate to allow the law to take its course at the time these gross acts of alleged illegality were perpetrated is enough grounds for complicity. We contend that it was a manifest dereliction of duty which should not be countenanced given the urgency required to turn the socio-economic fortunes of this country around and the desire to build strong and incorruptible institutions which will drive the agenda of reducing corruption to the barest minimum.
It is therefore justifiable and prudent to temporarily dissolve the EC or ask them to proceed on leave until a final determination is made on the matter after having gone through a constitutional process.
Awuriki A. Yeboah
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, CPAG DIRECTORATE