The woes of embattled Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, appear not to be over, as a fresh petition has been filed against her.
The petition was filed on August 18 at the presidency seeking impeachment proceedings to be initiated against her over alleged breach of public procurement practices and provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663), as well as gross financial mismanagement.
A source said the petitioner is not a staff of the EC but a concerned Ghanaian, who wants the conduct of Mrs. Osei to be investigated as EC boss on grounds of stated misbehaviour and incompetence.
At least there are 15 allegations levelled against the EC boss in the fresh petition, and the petitioner is said to have listed all the offences allegedly committed by Charlotte Osei, who is already enmeshed in a series of controversies.
Some of the allegations involved the unilateral award of contracts by the EC boss in the run-up to the 2016 general election.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reportedly forwarded the petition to the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, pursuant to Article 146 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.
Already, there is an initial petition from unnamed EC staff who are being led by Lawyer Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, against Mrs. Osei, which is pending before the Chief Justice.
A litany of allegations have been leveled against her, including spending GH¢3.9 million to partition an office, receipt of a Toyota Land Cruiser from the erstwhile Mahama-led NDC government, spending about $14 million when the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) had authorized her to use only $7.5 million, as well as attending Cabinet meetings during the tenure of President John Dramani Mahama, among other issues.
As a result, preliminary investigations into the purported abuse of power and corruption scandal commenced recently.
The Chief Justice reportedly wrote officially to the embattled EC boss to respond to the damning allegations that could lead to her impeachment.
The two other commissioners, Amadu Sulley, in-charge of Operations and Georgina Opoku-Amankwa, in-charge of Corporate Services – who have running battles with Mrs. Osei – were equally being written to for the provision of answers to counter petitions against them, seeking their respective removals from office. That petition was said to have been initiated by someone who is said to be very close to Charlotte Osei.
Legal experts say that if a prima facie case is established against any of the commissioners during the preliminary investigations, the Chief Justice, per the rules, will then establish a committee to fully investigate the issues and a report submitted to the president – who forwarded the petitions for action.
Mrs Charlotte Osei, through her lawyers – Sory@Law – who are also the commission’s external solicitors, hit back at her accusers, insisting that she had not been corrupt or abused her office and rather accused her two deputies of deliberately scheming to frustrate her stay in office.
The chairperson, in her initial response, openly accused Ms. Opoku-Amankwaa of signing contracts worth over $40 million without her knowledge and authorization between May and September 2015.
She also turned her attention on Mr Amadu Sulley and said apart from transferring votes illegally in the run-up to the 2016 general election, he (Sulley) also pocketed a huge amount of money from some political parties.
Accusations and counter accusations have since ensued between the EC boss and her two deputies, who are fighting back strongly, trying to parry the chairperson’s allegations.
However, before the formal preliminary investigations could commence, a private citizen, Ayamga Yakubu Akoglo, had filed a writ at the Supreme Court, seeking to prevent the Chief Justice from going ahead to investigate the EC boss.
The case is yet to be determined, as the Supreme Court is currently on its annual legal vacation.
The plaintiff, who has also cited the Attorney General in the suit, wants the court to declare the action being initiated against the EC boss by the Judicial Council as unconstitutional, void and of no effect.
He is claiming that the issues raised in the petition against Charlotte Osei had nothing to do with her core functions as prescribed under Article 45 of the 1992 Constitution and as a result, did not warrant her removal per Article 46 (1) of the Constitution, describing the petition as ‘defective.’