EC Boss fights back
Embattled chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Charlotte Osei, has hit back at one of the six commissioners accusing her of turning her position into that of a sole-commissioner.
She stated in a memo in response to Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn’s earlier claim that no meetings are being held by the commissioners.
According to Mrs Osei, as far as she is concerned, there is nothing happening at the EC which requires urgent attention to warrant a commission meeting and parried criticisms that she was carrying herself as a Sole-Commissioner.
She said she had stayed all matters requiring urgent ‘policy direction’ since the petition to initiate impeachment processes against her and her two deputies was filed and therefore she could not be said to be running ‘one man’ show.
Last week, a memo written by Mr. Aggrey-Fynn protesting the inability of the EC chairperson to hold commission meetings hit the media when he accused Mrs Charlotte Osei of acting like a sole-commissioner.
He had said that Mrs Charlotte Osei had refused to hold meetings with the other six commissioners to discuss the way forward for the independent electoral body, complaining that her action was in clear breach of the EC Act, 1993.
The commission member, therefore, gave Mrs. Charlotte Osei a one-week ultimatum to arrange a meeting to enable the commission to carry out its functions, failure of which he said he was going to use every legal avenue to get the matter settled.
In the memo written on February 16, 2018, Mr. Aggrey-Fynn had indicated that he sent an earlier one on 21st August, 2017 on the same issue but “regrettably I am yet to receive an acknowledgement of it nor seen any action on the content.”
However, the second memo was responded to by Mrs. Charlotte Osei on Monday, February 26, 2018, saying the agenda of the first memo sent by Mr. Aggrye-Fynn was “vague” and “was insufficient to form a basis of an agenda for a commission meeting.”
She said at the time the first memo was written, there was an Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) investigation into the commission’s staff Endowment Fund, as well as another EOCO investigation into the allegations contained in the petition sent to the presidency for her removal.
“The same petition has been presented to His Excellency the President and at the same time, your memo suggesting the need for a commission meeting, the petition had been forwarded by His Excellency the President to Her Ladyship the Chief Justice for judicial inquiry,” she indicated.
She told Mr Aggrey-Fynn in the memo that the matters which were before the EOCO and those before the Chief Justice could not form part of “the matters which require policy direction of the commission, or the commission risks being seen to be compromising or interfering in the ongoing investigations of inquiry.”
She said it would be helpful for Mr Aggrey-Fynn “to assist me by indicating which policy decisions I have taken during this period which belonged properly in the domain of the commission.
“To the best of my knowledge, all matters that require the policy direction of the commission have been stayed pending the conclusion of several ongoing investigations by different statutory bodies and authorities on the commission. If matters were considered urgent, they were circulated and brought to the attention of all commission members.”
Mrs Osei said when EOCO sent a confidential letter updating her on the status of the investigation into the staff Endowment Fund, she made sure it was brought to the attention of all the members of the commission and also the input of all the members was requested in August 2017, into the preparation of the commission’s budget.
The EC boss said additionally, the views of the commission members were sought in the ROPAL case involving the commission and in October, the commission members had given their approval to the negotiation for allowances of staff, saying, “These matters, in my view, were matters requiring commission members’ direction.”
She said in the memo that the input of Amadu Sulley, her deputy in-charge of Operations, is sought on management matters, saying, “All matters are handled with the active involvement of the respective line directors. I fail to see how these actions amount to positioning myself as a sole commissioner.”
Mrs Charlotte Osei accused five of the commissioners, including Mr. Aggrey-Fynn, of holding a meeting without inviting her, although she has the sole prerogative to convene commission meetings; and appeared to suggest that they are sabotaging her.
“I recall a meeting convened at your instance with other commission members (Maida, Adjalo, Sulley, Dadzawa). I was neither invited nor informed of this meeting, although you yourself acknowledge now that meetings can only be convened by the chairperson under the law,” she fired.
She added, “I have also not been informed by you what the outcome of your meeting was neither was I informed of the agenda prior to and after the meeting.”
Mrs Charlotte Osei said that she is facing impeachment processes alongside her two deputies and that the ongoing processes required their respective presence at the committee sittings “at least four days in a week, as well as meeting with lawyers, witnesses and various other matters.”
She posited, “If the commission meeting has not been called, it is clearly because of the peculiar and unprecedented situation in which the commission finds itself and not because anyone has arrogated themselves the power of a sole-commissioner as you allege.”