Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has hailed the dismissal of Mrs Charlotte Osei as the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) and her two deputies, Georgina Opoku Amankwah and Amadu Sulley.
In a statement signed by the party’s National Chairman, Nii Allotey Brew- Hammond, and issued to the media on Friday, June 29, 2018, PPP expressed its profound gratitude to the five-member committee which was set up by the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Sophia Akuffo, to investigate and make recommendations to the President on the corruption allegations leveled against the EC’s boss and her two deputies, in accordance with article 146 (4)(5) of the 1992 Constitution.
“We are not surprised at all with the outcome of the investigation. The EC Commissioners themselves had prepared the nation for this end result because of their own public accusation of gross violations of our procurement laws and their articles of engagement.
‘We believe that the independence and autonomy of the EC has been given a boost. This will engender a degree of public confidence and put to rest, the soiled image of the Commission, and the rot in which the EC Commissioners themselves told us they wallowed in”, the statement said.
The PPP in the statement was equally happy that the Chief Justice’s Committee followed due process to sponge down the EC of abuse of power, arrogance and complete disregard for public law and order.
The statement went on to thank President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for acting with urgency on the recommendations and applying the law without fear or favour.
While showing its gratitude to the ruling government for taking such a bold decision on the matter, the statement also called on the President to make the committee’s report public in accordance with the citizens right to information under Article 21(1)(f) of the 1992 Constitution.
“It is our considered opinion that if this report is made available to the PPP, it will inform our next line of action; which will include, reporting Mrs Charlotte Osei to the BNI for her immediate arrest also based on facts we have gathered in our dealings with the EC”, the statement indicated.
It further called on President Akufo Addo to appoint Ghanaians of high integrity to the Commission who will put the national interest first, and conduct their affairs in accordance with stated public policy and live above partisanship so that “our Electoral Commission will symbolize fair play, justice, selflessness, objectivity, transparency, accountability, honesty, independence, integrity and strong leadership”.
“It is our expectation that public officers will remain committed, diligent, patriotic and revere the rule of law so that, citizens do not gladly exercise their powers under the constitution to remove them from office. Our prayer is that this unfortunate and disgraceful spectacle should not befall anyone”, the statement added .
As a law-abiding party, PPP said, its shared responsibility was to educate Ghanaians on why “our democracy takes place in a framework of a Presidential representative democratic republic, with the President as both head of state and head of government, and with multi-party democracy as our accepted form of democracy”.
To this end, it pledged to contribute constructively to the development and improvement of Ghana by defending the existence of legally approved political parties as the most effective way towards progress
It will be recalled that in December 2017, Mrs Charlotte Osei and her two deputies, met with the Chief Justice over a petition filed against EC.
A five-member committee was subsequently set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the alleged corruption.
Some staff of the EC petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo in July 2017, to remove Mrs. Osei from office over allegations of fraud and financial malfeasance as well as abuse of office.
Some of the allegations involved the unilateral award of contracts by the EC boss in the run-up to the 2016 general election.
The petition against her alleged among others the funnelling of GHc3.9 million to partition an office, the receipt of a Toyota Land Cruiser from the Mahama government and the use of about $14 million when the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) had authorized her to use only $7.5 million.
Mrs. Osei also responded by making allegations of corruption against her deputies.
She claimed she was only being hounded because she sought to introduce systems to curb mismanagement.
Mrs Osei accused a deputy Chairperson of the Commission of illegally signing contracts worth over GHc 40 million without her approval.
Another individual, by name Douglas Seidu, also petitioned the President in August 2017 seeking the removal of the EC Chair, on grounds of “financial misconduct, incompetence, conflict of interest and breaches of the public procurement processes.
President Akufo-Addo in accordance with the constitution forwarded both petitions to the Chief Justice to look into the matter.
The dismissal of Mrs. Charlotte Osei and her two deputies came after a committee set up by the Chief Justice, , pursuant to Article 146(4) of the Constitution, to investigate separate complaints brought against the three persons by Ghanaian citizens, recommended their removal from office.
The Committee recommended their removal on the basis of stated misbehavior and incompetence, pursuant to Article 146 (1) of the Constitution.
A statement by a Minister for Information, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid on Thursday June 28, 2018 said, the President had directed the three persons to hand over their respective schedules to the Director of Human Resources at the Commission, while thanking them for their service to the country.
“The provisions of Article 146 (9) of the Constitution require the President of the Republic to act in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee.
“President Akufo-Addo has directed the three persons to hand over their respective schedules to the Director for Human Resource and General Services of the Electoral Commission, and thanked them for their services to the nation”, the statement said.
Story: Atta KWAKU BOADI
Writer’s email: email@example.com