There was drama last Thursday at the Chief Justice Committee currently investigating Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson, Charlotte Osei and her two deputies for alleged abuse of office and conflict of interest, Ghana Breaking News has learnt.
This was after some political party treasurers subpoenaed before the committee to testify for a counter-petitioner, allegedly developed ‘cold feet.’
The subpoena had been issued at the instance of the counter-petitioner – Emmanuel Senyo – a non-EC staff, who wants Mrs. Charlotte Osei’s two deputies (Amadu Sulley, in-charge of Operations and Georgina Opoku-Amankwaa, in-charge of Corporate Services) impeached.
Sources claimed that Mr. Emmanuel Senyo’s petition was directed at Amadu Sulley, whom he is alleging pocketed money from the political parties to the detriment of the commission.
Apart from treasurers of the political parties, Mr. Emmanuel Senyo, also reportedly subpoenaed Dr Joseph Kweku Asamoah, the EC Director of Finance, who is currently on interdiction on the orders of Mrs. Charlotte Osei in the matter of the EC Endowment Fund being investigated by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).
Mrs. Charlotte Osei was also subpoenaed by the counter-petitioner.
According to sources, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Director of Elections, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, was also subpoenaed but after his testimony, the rest who were all treasurers from the various political parties, allegedly informed the committee that they did not want to testify for the counter-petitioner.
They reportedly insisted that they were not provided with any information as to what they were to testify to before the five-member committee, presided over by Justice A.A. Benin of the Supreme Court.
The committee, notwithstanding, was of the view that the witnesses, who are public officers, needed to assist the ongoing probe that could lead to the impeachment of the EC bosses and therefore ordered Mr. Emmanuel Senyo’s lawyer to meet the witnesses and prepare a witness statement for each of them, including Mrs. Charlotte Osei.
The whole action was triggered by a petition sent to President Akufo-Addo by Lawyer Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, who was acting on behalf of some unnamed staff of the EC, who were seeking to trigger impeachment proceedings against Mrs. Charlotte Osei.
A barrage of allegations were leveled against Mrs. Osei, including spending GH¢3.9 million to partition an office, receipt of a bullet-proof Toyota Land Cruiser from the erstwhile Mahama-led NDC government, spending about $14 million for district offices renovation when the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) had authorized her to use only $7.5 million, as well as attending Cabinet meetings under President John Mahama’s administration, among others.
In the ensuing heat, Mr Emmanuel Senyo, who Ghana Breaking News understands relates James Kofi Afedo, the EC Communication Consultant who doubles as an NDC youth activist for the ‘Movement for Mahama,’ filed a counter petition to the president against the two deputy commissioners.
Even before the counter-petition was filed, Mrs Charlotte Osei, through her lawyers – Sory@Law, who are also the commission’s external solicitors – had 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.
In the process, she accused her Operations Director (Amadu Sulley) of transferring votes illegally in the run-up to the crucial 2016 general elections – an act seen by constitutional law experts as treasonable.
She had also accused Amadu Sulley of pocketing a huge amount of money from some political parties, saying in her initial statement, “the Deputy Chairperson Operations collected funds above GH¢6m in cash from some political parties for the organization of party primaries without recourse to the structures of the commission, and without the involvement of the finance department of the commission.”
Amadu Sulley did not take issues lightly when he was accused of pocketing GH¢6 million from the parties.
“I don’t understand the motive of the Chair (Charlotte Osei) to come out now to make this unfortunate allegation against me and the Deputy Chair, Finance/Administration (Georgina Opoku Amakwaa).”
He also accused Mrs Charlotte Osei of sidelining him in the daily operations at the EC and even said he was taking legal advice before concluding with a sarcastic statement: “if you tell one lie you need a thousand lies to cover!”
Mrs. Charlotte Osei and her two deputies are being investigated under Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution.
Apart from Justice Benin, other members of the probe committee include Justices Samuel K. Marful-Sau and Agnes Dodzie – both of the Appeals Court – as well as Welbeck Abrah Appiah, former Chief Executive of the Ghana Premier League Board (PLB) and Rose Karikari-Annan, Executive Secretary, Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA).