President Akufo-Addo has called for public participation in the search for a new Chairperson and Deputy Chairpersons for the Electoral Commission.
The public participation, he says, is necessary to ensure that independent individuals are appointed to the office.
The President on Thursday, dismissed the three top officials of the Commission; Charlotte Osei, Amadu Sulley, and Georgina Opoku Amakwah on the grounds of stated misbehavior and incompetence following various findings of wrongdoing established against them by a Chief Justice Committee.
Addressing the Ghanaian community in Mauritius yesterday, Nana Akufo-Addo dismissed claims that the dismissals were political; as suggested by the opposition NDC.
He, however, said transparent individuals must be selected to occupy the positions.
“I pray we all work together as Ghanaians to find somebody who will be transparent to work for the Electoral Commission. Let’s find somebody who will work neither for NPP or NDC but Ghana.”
‘I had no choice’
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also said he had no choice than to act on the recommendations of the Committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate allegations of corruption brought against the former
Speaking publicly on the matter for the first time at a town hall meeting with Ghanaians resident in Nouakchott, Mauritania, ahead of the conduct of the 31st AU Summit, President Akufo-Addo explained that he is duty bound to uphold the dictates of the Constitution.
“They (Committee) have been working over the last six months, and recommended that the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah, be removed from office on the grounds of stated misbehavior and incompetence,” the President said.
“Article 146(9) of the Constitution demands that I act on the recommendations of the committee. I have no power to disagree with the recommendations of the Committee; the Constitution does not give me that power. That is why I have removed the Chairperson of the EC and the two deputies.”
President Akufo-Addo stressed that the process that led to the removal of Charlotte Osei and her two deputies “was not borne out of hate, or a deliberate orchestration to remove some persons from their jobs.”
He added that the petitioners are workers of the Electoral Commission and not faceless persons, as some would want Ghanaians to believe. The President also recounted the publicly documented spat between the three former EC chairpersons.
Charlotte Osei breached procurement laws
The Committee concluded that Charlotte Osei blatantly violated procurement laws in the award of several contracts in her three-year period at the helm of affairs, prior to the 2016 elections.
Excerpts of the report said the committee investigated six separate allegations of various procurement breaches, for which a prima facie case was established against Madam Charlotte Osei.
The two deputy commissioners were also accused of procurement breaches and financial malfeasance.
Back in December 2017, the EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei and her two Deputies, Amadu Sulley (in charge of Operations) and Georgina Amankwa (in charge of Corporate Services) met with the Chief Justice over a petition filed against EC.
A five-member committee was subsequently set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the alleged corruption.
Some staff of the EC petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo in July 2017, to remove Mrs. Osei from office over allegations of fraud and financial malfeasance as well as abuse of office.
Some of the allegations involved the unilateral award of contracts by the EC boss in the run-up to the 2016 general election.
The petition against her alleged among others the funneling of GHc3.9 million to partition an office, the receipt of a Toyota Land Cruiser from the Mahama government and the use of about $14 million when the Public Procurement Authority had authorized her to use only $7.5 million.
Mrs. Osei also responded by making allegations of corruption against her deputies.
She claimed she was hounded because she sought to introduce systems to curb mismanagement.
Charlotte Osei accused a deputy Chairperson of the Commission of illegally signing contracts worth over GHc 40 million without her approval.
Another individual, by name Douglas Seidu, also petitioned the President in August 2017 seeking the removal of the EC Chair, on the grounds of “financial misconduct, incompetence, conflict of interest and breaches of the public procurement processes.
President Akufo-Addo in accordance with the constitution forwarded both petitions to the Chief Justice to look into the matter.