Chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, Ms Charlotte Osei, faces impeachment over allegations of abuse of office, causing financial loss to the state and breaches of the country’s procurement law. Some staff of the Commission who are making the allegations have petitioned President Akufo-Addo to cause the Chief Justice, Ms Sophia Akuffo, to initiate impeachment proceedings against Ms Osei.
The staff are claiming Ms Osei without recourse to laid down administrative structures and the Public Procurement Act, singularly abrogated contracts, secured a V8 Land Cruiser for her use, and awarded contracts worth thousands of dollars.
‘One man’ contractor
The petitioners are claiming a contract signed by the Commission with Super Tech Limited (STL) for the Voter Registration Exercise, which was going to be electoral area-based, was “unilaterally abrogated” by Ms Osei “She single-handedly renegotiated the contract with the vendor without the involvement of the members of the Commission, not even the deputies,” they claimed in the petition dated July 13 and signed by their lawyer, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang.
The EC chair “then awarded the contract to the tune of $21,999,592 without going through tender contrary to the Public procurement Act. The chairperson re-awarded these contracts without seeking approval from the Commission,” they claim.
Ms Osei is said to have compromised the independence and neutrality of the Commission for arranging 2015 model V8 Land Cruiser with registration WR 2291-15 from the office of the president for use as official vehicle without going through the procurement process or recourse to the Commission. According to the petitioners, Ms Osei again unilaterally awarded a contract of about 25 million dollars to a South African company, Quarzar Limited, to change and redevelop the Commission’s logo under the guise of rebranding without going through tender contrary to the procurement act.
They further alleged she submitted an estimate of over GHC1million for the renovation of her official bungalow without recourse to the Commission or the appropriate staff in the Commission. Ms Osei is also being accused of engaging the services of private law firm@ Sorry, as lawyers for the Commission without resorting to due process. READ: Fire EC lawyers & dissolve the 7 Commissioners after elections “This service engagement goes contrary to the public procurement act. As at now, there is no formal contractual arrangement between the Commission and the solicitors. The basis of fees computation for services rendered by these lawyers remains unknown,” they claim They argued that the said service contract could have been renegotiated downward.
“The chairperson has constituted herself into the Commission’s Tender Review Committee contrary to the Public Procurement Act. She singularly chairs the Entity Tender Committee and the Tender Review Committee at the same time. This puts her into conflict of interest position and this is a clear breach of the Public Procurement Act,” the added. She’s managerially “inept” According to the petitioners, the EC chair has since taking the office demonstrated ineptitude in the manner she managerially and administratively run the Electoral Commission. They claim the EC Chair is “managerially and administratively inept”, indicating that the she “lacks managerial experience or capacity and knowledge of corporate governance structures and regulatory compliance”. “The political posture of the Chairperson prior to the conduct of the 2016 General elections nearly pushed Ghana to the precipes. She could have plunged this country to civil war,” the stafff claimed. The petitioners who issued the petition under Article 146(3) of the 1992 Constitution say they are ready to “make themselves available with all the relevant documents” to assist in investigations to prove their case. They want the petition forwarded to the CJ “for possible impeachment” of the EC chair.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah