The National Democratic Congress (NDC) views the removal of the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, as an attempt by the Akufo-Addo government to rig the 2020 elections.
The NDC National Organiser, Kofi Adams, told the press on Thursday night that it was clear Ghanaians were fed up with the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.The government thus made this move to clutch onto power, Kofi Adams intimated.
“They [NPP] have failed already. Ghanaians, everywhere you pass, are saying, for this government, we will see its back in 2020.”
“…So the attempt and the fear, for which reason, they have set out to remove an arbiter of our elections and the two deputies so as to allow them to continue their rigging machinery. Ghanaians will not allow that to happen,” he said.
He thus called on civil society, religious leaders and traditional leaders to resist this development.
“We must all rise and speak [and say] that enough is enough. They have done enough destruction. We will not allow them to continue with this destruction,” Kofi Adams said.
Kofi Adams also described the NPP as having “a termite mentality.”
“Termites destroy and think that they are building. What they have done is to destroy what we have built over the years.”
“That destruction must not be extended to the Electoral Commission. This is an institution that we will religiously guard and protect,” he added.
The removal of Charlotte Osei and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah from office followed a recommendation from a Committee set up by the Chief Justice.
The Chief Justice set up the committee to probe multiple complaints against the EC officials.
Allegations of fraud and malfeasance were brought against them, following which the Chief Justice established a prima facie case against them.
The committee cited misbehaviour and incompetence as reasons for the dismissal, pursuant to Article 146(4) of the Constitution.
Charlotte Osei breached procurement laws in award of contracts – Committee
The Committee concluded that Charlotte Osei blatantly breached procurement laws in the award of several contracts in her three-year period at the helm of affairs, prior to the 2016 elections.
Excerpts of the report released by the government and made available to Citi News says the committee investigated six separate allegations of various procurement breaches, for which a prima facie case was established against Madam Charlotte Osei.
A statement by a Minister for Information, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid on Thursday, 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.
Removal not politically motivated
Ahead of the insinuations from the NDC, the government stressed that the shake-up at the EC was not politically motivated.
The Director of Communications at the presidency, Eugene Arhin said the President acted strictly according to the recommendations of the committee set up by the Chief Justice.
“Those critics will be completely off the mark. When this matter first broke our, we heard the two deputies were virtually against the chairperson herself. You heard the allegations they made. These persons who petitioned the president against Charlotte Osei were persons who worked at the Commission.”
Back in December 2017, the EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei and her two Deputies, Amadu Sulley (in charge of Operations) and Georgina Amankwa (in charge of Corporate Services) 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 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.
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, which culminated in their removals.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citinewsroom.com/Ghana