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OSEI FACES POSSIBLE PROSECUTION: COUNTERSUIT RAISED OVER HER REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

General News

The dismissed chair of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei, faces possible prosecution for breaching the procurement law in awarding contracts.

The dismissed chair of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei, faces possible prosecution for breaching the procurement law in awarding contracts.

 

Mrs Osei, together with her two former deputies, Georgina Opoku Amankwah and Amadu Sulley, was removed from office on June 28 on the recommendation of Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo.

The decision was made after a committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate allegations against the officials, including abuse of office, corruption, breaches of the procurement laws and conflict of interest, found all three culpable.

 

                                           ‘Unilateral’ decision

 

Charlotte Osei was said to have engaged the services of a legal firm without going through the proper procurement process. She was said to have caused a subsequent payment of GHC400,000 to be effected even though there was no documentary evidence of the engagement.

Anotherr claim against the former EC chair was the unilateral abrogation of a contract duly procured with SuperTech Ltd (STL), the Ghanaian subsidiary of an Israeli-owned firm. She later awarded the same contract again to STL without recourse to the due processes of the Public Procurement Act. The sum involved was over US$22 million.

Out of the 12 contracts she awarded to STL for supplies of ICT equipment and services, only one did not exceed her procurement threshold as chair of the Electoral Commission.

Mrs Osei also breached the procurement law in the acquisition of a new office block for the Commission.

Some people believe these breaches, and others, are grave acts which cannot be swept under the carpet even following Mrs Osei’s dismissal.

Deputy Attorney General Joseph Dindiok Kpemka has confirmed to the Daily Statesman that the Attorney General is looking into the matter and considering possible prosecution.

                                             ‘Young Politician’

 

Meanwhile, the government has been sued at the Supreme Court for acting on the recommendation of the Chief Justice and removing Mrs Osei from office.

The plaintiff, Fafali Nyonator, reputedly the founder of an obscure ginger group called “Young Politician”, is seeking a perpetual injunction on the dismissal of the EC boss.

She specifically wants “a declaration that the determination by Her Ladyship the Chief Justice of a prima facie case pursuant to Article 146 of the constitution for the removal of office of the chairperson of the Electoral Commission is inconsistent with Article 130 (a) of the constitution as by the said determination Her Ladyship the Chief Justice usurped the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to construe and/or define the scope of application of the provisions of the constitution, particularly Articles 44 (2) and 146 thereof”.

 

                                            Seeks court order

 

The plaintiff is seeking an order from the court to declare the Chief Justice’s determination of a prima facie case against Mrs Osei “null and void”.

She wants the same to be declared of the report of the committee which recommended Mrs Osei’s removal from office, as well as the decision by the President to remove her from office.

The plaintiff wants a further declaration that the committee which inquired into the petition for the impeachment of Mrs Osei “exceeded its powers by construing, or defining the scope of application of, provisions of the 1992 constitution, including Article 44 (2) and 146, and thus acted in violation of 130 (a) of the constitution by usurping the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to interpret the provisions of the constitution”.

Finally, she wants the Supreme Court to restrain the President from “appointing any person to the position of chairperson of the Electoral Commission until that position has become lawfully vacant in accordance with proper processes and procedures as by law established”.