Opinions of Fri, 21 Jul 20179

Charlotte Osei and impeachment

“Some aggrieved staff of the Electoral Commission (EC) have petitioned the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo to impeach Mrs. Charlotte Osei - EC Chairperson” (Source: peacefmonline.com, July 19, 2017). I surely need legal education on the foregoing issue. The president of the Republic of Ghana is empowered to appoint the head of the electoral commission, even so, he might be powerless to carry out impeachment of a public officer of Madam Charlotte Osei’s caliber.

All over the world and throughout history, impeachments are done by legislature probably in accordance with Baron De Montesquieu’s separation of powers and checks and balances or with recourse to Lord Acton’s famous dictum: “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Is it not quixotic for the president and the chief justice to carry out impeachment of the electoral commissioner as contained in the above petition? In India for example, the head of electoral commission can only be removed from office through parliamentary impeachment just as a Supreme Court Judge. However, upon

recommendations of the electoral commissioner, other commissioners can be removed by the president. The agitation against Madam Charlotte Osei presents two premonitions. First, Madam Charlotte Osei might be blocking avenues for some corruption-ridden individuals within the commission. Her exit from the EC will therefore help some corrupt employees to maintain the status quo.

The second hunch could be equalization. Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) directed Madam Charlotte Osei to ask three of her workers to proceed on leave.

“EOCO in a letter dated, July 4, 2017 addressed to the EC Chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei demanded that the three be made to proceed on leave to pave way for investigations into the loss of about GH¢480,000 from the Endowment Fund at the Electoral Commission. The letter said the three were key persons to assist with the investigations. The money was allegedly withdrawn from the Endowment Fund of the EC between 2012 and 2013.

In response to EOCO’s request, the EC Chair, Mrs Charlotte Osei, wrote on Wednesday July 5, 2017, saying: As you are aware, the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) is investigating the loss of about GHc480,000 from the staff Endowment Fund”

As Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr observed: “I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealising envy. I don’t disparage envy, but I don’t accept it as legitimately my master.” Ghana my beloved Republic will never cease to be amazing. How can an employee boldly tell his boss he will not comply with EOCO directives? “The Director of Finance at the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, has indicated he will not proceed on leave as directed by the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei to pave way for investigations into the loss of monies in the EC staff Endowment Fund” (Source: ghanaweb.com, Thursday July 6, 2017). He who is disenchanted always looks for an opportunity for vengeance. Charlotte Osei has fallen a ripe prey to her workers’ venom.

If one is an impotent and a chief is complaining that someone has impregnated his wife, would he bother himself? It is upon this premise that I humbly think no EC worker has a right to tell Ghanaians that he/she will not proceed on leave to pave way for EOCO investigation. This case per the sensitive nature of the commission requires immediate state interventions. Neither the president nor the Chief Justice can impeach Charlotte Osei. Impeachment is a core mandate of the parliament. Even the national assembly cannot do it anyhow. Perhaps the Florida Supreme Court Judge, Charles Terrance Canady has a nice thought about impeachment: “Impeachment must not be a raw exercise of political power in which the house impeaches whoever it wishes for any reason it deems sufficient. Indeed, it is the solemn duty of all of the members of the house in any impeachment case to exercise their judgement faithfully within the confines established by the constitution.” I think Ghana is no exception.

God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.

Columnist: Nana Yaw Osei

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