EC boss sues petitioners’ lawyer
The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana, Mrs Charlotte Osei, has sued Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, counsel for some unnamed petitioners calling themselves Concerned EC Staff for defamation.
The suit was filed at the High Court on Tuesday, July 25.
Mrs Osei had declared her intention to sue the faceless staff for defamation and requested the lawyer produce their names. However, the lawyer failed to disclose the petitioners prompting the EC boss to name Mr Opoku-Agyemang as the sole respondent in the suit.
In the earlier letter dated July 19 by Sory@Law, the legal firm representing Mrs Osei, her lawyers said they “noted several defamatory statements” in the letter attached to the document seeking her impeachment which has been forwarded to the president.
Consequently, Sory@Law noted: “…We have our client’s irrevocable instructions to take immediate action against your clients who have not been disclosed on the face of your letter.
“Our client has instructed us to demand from you [counsel for the Concerned Staff, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang] and we hereby so demand the full list of these “Concerned Staff of the Electoral Commission” to enable us commence legal action against them for the defamatory statements contained in their petition failing which our client will be constrained to proceed against you alone as defendant in the suit our client intends to commence against them, since you are to all intents and purposes their agent.”
The petition by the Concerned Staff of the Electoral Commission was filed with President Nana Akufo-Addo and asked for investigations into allegations of fraud and financial malfeasance against the chair of the election management board. The petition also requested the removal of Mrs Osei for allegedly terminating a contract with STL and unilaterally renegotiating a contract with a vendor of the EC for $21,999,592 without the knowledge of her deputies or other commissioners.
The petition, signed by the lawyer for the staff, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, said Mrs Osei’s cancellation of a contract between the EC and Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) – a company contracted to supply and manage Biometric Voter Registration machines (BVRs) and the Biometric Voter Devices (BVDs) – coupled with her ordering of the payment of $76,000 to IT firm Dream Oval, were fraudulent.
“The Commission signed a contract with Super Tech (STL) Limited on the premise of that Voter Registration Exercise was going to be electoral area based. Upon assumption of office as Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei unilaterally abrogated the said contract without recourse to the same Commission that approved the earlier version,” the petition said.
“She single-handedly renegotiated the contract with the vendor without the involvement of the members of the Commission, not even the deputies. She then awarded the contract to the tune of $21,999,592 without going through tender contrary to the Public Procurement Act. The Chairperson then re-awarded these contracts without approval from the Commission,” it added.