EC rot: Act now! AFAG to Akufo-Addo
Pressure group Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), has asked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to, as a matter of urgency, investigate the matters relating to the Electoral Commission (EC) as far as the allegations and counter-allegations among the Chair of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei and some of her deputies are concerned.
Some concerned staff of the EC have petitioned the President to institute measures to remove Mrs Osei from office.
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.
Mrs Osei has denied the allegations and also accused her deputies of various acts of corruption.
Commenting on this development, AFAG said in a press statement signed by Arnold Boateng, General Secretary of the group that: “The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) is troubled by the accusations and counter-accusations bedevilling the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission is a sacred democratic institution.
“The Electoral Commission of Ghana has so far played a critical role in our democratic journey since the beginning of the Fourth Republic. It is an institution which thrives on public integrity. It is a body that requires public confidence, support and credibility in the discharge of its work. The raging controversy has generated massive public outcry and interest. Despite the fact that the 1992 Constitution per Article 46 grants independence to the Electoral Commission, the same Constitution grants the President the power under Article 278 to set up a Commission of Enquiry in any public interest matter.
“We recognise that the petition presented by the unnamed workers has started a removal process under Article 146. However, we believe that the nature of the allegations and counter allegations cannot end with the removal or otherwise of the Electoral Commission Chairperson. As a sacred democratic institution, AFAG is by this press conference calling on the President to set up a Commission of Enquiry into the entire affairs of the Electoral Commission.
“According to the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Asare vs. Attorney General, the good Justices ruled that the President had powers to commission an enquiry to ascertain the truth or otherwise on all issues that bother on the public interest. There is no doubt that this raging controversy at the Electoral Commission has generated huge public interest which requires a Presidential Commission of Enquiry. We are also calling for full state media coverage of the proceedings of the proposed Commission of Enquiry.
“It is our belief that with the Commission of Enquiry, the truth surrounding the allegations and counter allegations will be unearthed. This will restore credibility and public confidence in the Electoral Commission. Finally, we will caution government to diligently draft the terms of reference and the sort of immunities to grant to witnesses, noting further that justice delayed is justice denied. Mr President, the people of Ghana want you to act now.”