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Full text of Mrs Charlotte Osei’s response to petitioners

By Iddi
Yire, GNA

Accra, July 25, GNA – Mrs Charlotte Osei, the
Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), has responded to a petition
against her by faceless workers of the Commission, forwarded to the President,
calling for her impeachment.

In a 17-page document, she dismissed the
allegations as frivolous and without merit.

Full
Text:

Re: petition against the Chairperson of
Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei

Responses provided by Mrs Charlotte Osei to
the allegations made in the petition

As a point of order with regard to the recent
unfounded accusations leveled at Mrs. Charlotte Osei in her capacity as
Chairperson of the EC Ghana, Mr. Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang is not a staff member
of the Commission. Whilst he claims to act on behalf of “Concerned Staff” of
the Commission, he has not made clear who those “staff’ indeed are. This is of
particular importance as he has previously introduced himself at another forum
as counsel for Ms. Georgina Opoku-Amankwaa, the deputy Chairperson Corporate
Services of the Commission. In order for this petition to be considered as a
legitimate submission on behalf of the staff, the names and signatures of these
concerned staff must be provided in support of the so-called petition
submitted.

With regard to the baseless allegations, below
is a detailed response on all points raised with supporting documentation,
which it is noted, Mr. Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang and his fictitious petitioners
have failed to provide.

Claim 1: “Madam Charlotte
Osei, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission on 30th June, 2015 assumed
office as Article 71 appointee whiles still holding office as a Board Member of
Ghana Re Insurance, a public company contrary to Article 44(4) of the 1992
Constitution. When the issue was raised, the PRO of Ghana Re confirmed that she
only resigned on December 5th, 2015. This means that whiles holding office as
the Chairperson of the Commission, she was still a Board Member of Ghana Re
Insurance.”

Response
1:

Ghana Reinsurance is a limited liability company with shares held by the
government of Ghana. A non-executive director position is not a “public office”
in the context of Article 44(4) which my esteemed counsel should well know.

Claim 2: “Mrs. Charlotte Osei
was appointed as Chairperson of Electoral Commission of Ghana while holding
office as Chairperson of the National Commission of Civic Education contrary to
the 1992 Constitution. In fact, it was announced as her swearing-in ceremony by
the former president that he received her resignation from the NCCE on 29th
June, 2017 before the swearing in.”

Response
2:

The appointment to the office of Chairperson of the Electoral Commission took
effect on June 30, 2015.  Resignation as
Chairperson of the NCCE pre-dated the swearing in on June 30, 2015. The
Chairperson therefore cannot be accused of holding two public positions
simultaneously. She certainly did not receive two salaries for the month of
June 2015.

Claim 3: “Following her
appointment as EC chair, Mrs. Charlotte compromised the independence and
neutrality of the Commission by arranging for 2015 V8 Landcruiser with
registration WR 2291-15 from the Office of the President for use as official
vehicle without going through the procurement process or recourse to the
Commission.”

Response
3:

Mrs. Osei does not use a vehicle with the said registration number WR2291-15.
Following her appointment as Chairperson, the Office of the Chief of Staff
allocated Mrs. Osei a vehicle. This is certainly not a new practice in Ghana’s
public service. Indeed, the office of the Chief of Staff provided and continues
to provide vehicles for many government institutions and appointees. The
Chairperson could therefore not have compromised her independence or neutrality
as she neither requested nor lobbied for the said vehicle. Indeed, this flawed
argument would imply that the Commission receiving money from the Government of
Ghana compromises the neutrality of the Commission.

Claim 4: “The political
posture of the Chairperson prior to the conduct of the 2016 General Election
nearly pushed Ghana to the precipices. But for the action of technical and
competent staff of the Commission, she could have plunged this country into
civil war.”

Response
4:

The petitioners would have to define clearly the “political posture” which
nearly pushed the country to civil war. It is a witnessed fact that during the
election, the Chairperson was in touch directly with the two main candidates in
the presidential election in her capacity as Returning Officer. The then
candidates are in a position to confirm this. The Chairperson remained in
continuous contact with the hierarchy of the Ghana Police Service and the
Military until the final declaration of results to ensure a peaceful conclusion
to the election. It is well documented by several observer bodies that the
December 2016 elections were safe, free and fair and the Chairperson is
directly acknowledged as having been instrumental in ensuring this. As testament
to her work, she has received local and international commendation and
recognition.

As an allegation supporting an impeachment
process, this would be the first time that posture, that ‘could have’ had a
certain effect but did not, would be a supporting ground for a constitutional
impeachment process.

Claim 5: “Mrs. Charlotte Osei,
without recourse to the Commission engaged the Service of lawyers Sory@law
without going through the procurement process. This service engagement goes
contrary to the Public Procurement Act. As at now, there is no formal
contractual arrangement between the Commission and the Solicitors. The basis of
fees computation for services rendered by these lawyers still remains unknown.”

Response
5:

Sory@ Law was retained on the basis of a decision of the Commission taken at a
Commission meeting of September 2015. If there has been any breach in the
procurement process, then the entire Commission must be held responsible. It
was made clear at the meeting that fees for litigation related work cannot be
agreed ahead as it would depend on the complexity of each case and the court
where a case was filed. For instance, Supreme Court cases are usually billed
higher than cases conducted at the High Court. It was therefore the function of
the Chairperson to refer all incoming lawsuits to Sory@Law on the basis of the
Commission’s decision. It was the function of the Deputy Chairperson CS to
negotiate the fees for each matter referred with Sory@Law. Indeed, the same
Deputy Chairperson CS has previously failed to negotiate fees with previous
counsel retained by the Commission or ensure that they are paid for legal work
done. Some of these payments remain outstanding four years after services have
been rendered.

If it is true that the Chairperson
unilaterally retained Sory@Law, members of the Commission including the two
Deputy Chairpersons would clearly have to explain the basis for meetings held
between the entire Commission and Lawyer T. Sory, and other meetings between
management and executive management staff, and staff of Sory@Law to discuss
pending cases.

The petitioners may not be staff of the
Commission as they claim and so may not be privy to the fact that on November
16, 206, Sory@Law wrote to the Commission providing a fee quote for its
services and offering a flat rate fee for High Court cases and Supreme Court
cases which was accepted. The said letter is attached hereto and marked
‘CO5A’.  Further, any payments made to
Sory@Law have been effected by the Director Finance under the supervision of
the Deputy Chairperson CS. If the petitioners have no knowledge of the
arrangements with Sory@Law, one wonders the basis for payments made to Sory@Law
without the approval or knowledge of the Chairperson. The petitioners in the
interest of fairness and transparency, may wish to present the agreement
between the Commission and its previous legal counsel, specifying the scope of
services and agreed fees a. In which case, it would be helpful to explain why
the Commission as at the date of the alleged petition, has been unable to pay
its lawyers for the 2013 Presidential election petition.

Claim 6: “The Commission
signed a contract with Super Tech Limited (STL) on the premise that the Voters
Registration Exercise was going to be electoral area based. Upon assumption of
office as the Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei unilaterally
abrogated the said contract without recourse to the same Commission that
approved the earlier version. She single handedly renegotiated the contract
with the vendor without 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
reawarded these contracts without seeking approval from the Commission. In the
opinion of the Commission, these contracts could have been negotiated further
down if members of the Commission had been involved. This is because the change
in the 2016 voters registration process required automatic reduction in these
contracts.”

Response
6:

The two Deputy Chairpersons signed 2 contracts with STL on 6 May 2015 for
US$22.3m (BVR) and US$16.4m (BVD) respectively (copies attached and marked
‘CO6A’). Letters were written to PPA on 15 May 2015 (copies attached and marked
‘CO6B’) seeking permission for sole sourcing AFTER the contracts had been
signed. The contracts contained no price break down and were signed against the
2016 budget of the Commission, which was unknown at the time. The finance and
procurement departments of the Commission had no knowledge of the execution of
the contracts (Please see ‘CO6C’ attached). The Chairperson informed the Deputy
Chairpersons of the many breaches of law in connection with these contracts.
The Deputy Chair Operations confirmed the illegalities in an email and also
confessed his lack of knowledge of procurement processes (please see ‘CO6D’
attached). The Chairperson abrogated the contracts in August 2015 (please see
‘CO6E’ attached) and requested the Finance department to re-negotiate with STL
and rectify the contract award process. Upon receipt of the consent of the PPA
to sole sourcing, she engaged consultants to advise the Commission on the real
needs of the Commission regarding the BVR contract and review the proposals
submitted by STL. The Consultants confirmed that the Commission should spend a
maximum of US$7.2m (attached as ‘CO6F’). This resulted in STL submitting a new
proposal for the services at a quote of US$7.2m (attached as ‘CO6G’)

Interestingly, STL has not complained about
the abrogation of the contracts. It is amazing that persons, who schemed to
cause loss to the state, flout procurement laws with impunity, can then accuse
another of acting illegally. When the first contracts were signed, no one in
the Commission was involved in the negotiations. Quite surprisingly, it is now
alleged that their involvement would have resulted in better pricing for the
Commission. Was the Chairperson to seek the input of the same deputies who had
admitted lack of knowledge in procurement matters and who had earlier failed to
follow procurement laws and hastily signed such major contracts?

Claim 7: “As part of
compromising her independence and neutrality, Mrs. Charlotte Osei claimed that
the Electoral Commission has been allocated a new building for use as office
complex without the approval of the Commission. The 7 member Commission has not
at any point in time formally requested for any office allocation since the
Commission sees nothing wrong the current office. With the Chairperson’s
insatiable demand of affluence and flamboyance, she unilaterally awarded a
contract to the tune of GH¢3.9 million for demarcation and partitioning of the
said office complex without recourse to the Commission. She claimed she sought
approval from the Public Procurement Authority but strangely enough, the
contract sum is higher than approved level.”

Response
7:
It
is untrue that the 7 members of the Commission do not see anything wrong with
the current offices. Commission members have constantly complained to the
Chairperson about leaking and damaged roofs, poor electrical wiring, damp walls
and lack of storage facilities to store elections equipment resulting in
significant losses and inefficient use of resources at the Commission.

The Chairperson informed the Commission in
late 2015 that the Commission had requested new office premises from the
Presidency to house the new secretariat of the Association of African Election
Authorities (AAEA) after Ghana had been voted as a permanent secretariat of the
AAEA in July 2015 with responsibility to provide office space for the AAEA. In
February 2016, at a Commission meeting members were informed that Government
had allocated a new office building to the Commission through the office of the
Chief of Staff. Members were further informed that the new office was a new
building and would only require partitioning and all commissioners were
encouraged to visit the new premises. The Chairperson subsequently visited the
new site with the two Deputy Chairpersons and a commission member, all of who
were very excited by the new office. The Chairperson has no control over the
office of the Chief of Staff or the Presidency and clearly cannot obtain the
permission of the Commission if a new office is allocated to the Commission.
The current offices have major structural defects, significant parts of the
roof are collapsing, significant leakages in most offices, damp and mouldy
walls, electrical defects have been discovered and pointed out by the Fire Service
for urgent attention (please see ‘CO7A’ attached), the building lacks
disability access, is decrepit and outdated, requiring extensive work and
expense to make it habitable and reflective of the office of the Electoral
Commission. The building houses precious lives of staff of the Commission and
sensitive national assets such as the largest database of Ghanaians currently
in the country. The current office space is not suitable by any standards.

With regard to the contract for partitioning
of the 8-floor office building, the procurement laws were scrupulously
followed. A copy of the Tender evaluation report is attached and marked ‘CO7B’.
The scope of the contract included glazed aluminum partitions for all 8 floors,
plumbing and sanitary installations, ventilation/air conditioning
installations, electrical installations, servicing of the lifts, demolitions,
masonry works and painting amongst others. Directors of the Commission at the
head office (Finance, HR, IT and Electoral Services), and an external
consultant were members of the evaluation panel. The Chairperson of the
Commission was not a member of the tender evaluation panel. The bid submitted
by Inocon Limited was the lowest of the three bids and was recommended to the
Chairperson for approval.

The Chairperson of the Commission is not and
has never been a member of the tender evaluation committee and cannot
therefore; influence the award of the contract. Indeed, Mrs. Osei was not even
present in the ETC meeting where tenders were opened for the partitioning
contract (please see document marked ‘CO7C’). The Chairperson is the only one
authorised by the policies of the Commission to sign contracts (copy of policy
attached and marked ‘CO7D’).  In any
case, for the said contract that is allegedly unknown to the Commission,
payment was approved and paid by the Deputy Chairperson CS without the
knowledge and authorization of the Chairperson.

There is no requirement in law or in policy,
for the Chairperson to seek the approval of the Commission for the execution of
any contracts. Evidence of any law or policy requiring this approval should as
a matter of law, be presented by the petitioners.

An investigation into the processes for award
of the contract and a value for money assessment would be welcome as it would
be based on law and policies and not motivated by ill will and pettiness.

Claim 8: “Mrs. Charlotte Osei
has been engaging in cronyism by awarding a contracts to the tune of
$14,310,961 United States Dollars to her cronies for the construction of
pre-fabricated District offices without recourse to the Commission. The value
of these contracts is in excess of the approved threshold by the Public
Procurement Authority. One of the contractors by name Messrs Contracts &
Cads Limited is related to Mrs. Charlotte Osei. Upon receipt of advance
mobilization under the approval of the Chairperson, the company has failed to
meet the contract terms. Notwithstanding the clear breach of the contractual
terms, the company has requested for additional payment which the Chairperson
has approved. The Director of Finance has stopped the payment of this request.
This accounts for one of the reasons of the Chairperson’s disaffection for the
Director of Finance.”

Response
8:
A
contract was awarded for the construction of 100 district offices to Messrs
Clicotech and Messrs. Cads Contracts & Services on a 58-42 basis. Although
Messrs Cads Contracts was the only company that met all the criteria at the
Entity Tender Committee level (please see document marked ‘CO8A’), the tender
evaluation committee recommended that they be awarded 42% of the contract for
stated reasons. The Chairperson followed in total, the recommendations of the
evaluation panel (copy attached and marked ‘CO8B’) in awarding the contract. In
following the recommendation, there was clearly no wrongdoing or alleged
cronyism by the Chairperson. If the Chairperson intended to award the contract
to Cads Contracts based on cronyism, then the same Chairperson would not have
given Clicotech Limited an extended time (with consent of the other bidders) to
submit its audited accounts, VAT and tax clearance certificates to enable it
meet the tender requirements.  Mrs. Osei
has no relative at Cads Contracts Ltd.

If the contract sums were in excess of the
thresholds approved by the PPA, it begs the question why these issues were not
pointed out in the report of the tender evaluation panel, why the Deputy Chairpersons
as member so the Review Panel did not point this out and why the Deputy
Chairperson CS would approve the payments to Clicotech and Cads Contracts (same
contracts, issued through same process) and ensure that payments on the
contracts were effected without the approval of the Chairperson and with no
notice to her.

In Addition, the consultant engaged by the
Commission has been actively involved in the management of the contract. He has
visited all the project sites, written to confirm work done by both contractors
and to endorse the certificates raised by both contractors. The consultant has
not raised any issues of impropriety or poor performance on the contract.
Indeed, the consultant has recently written a letter to the Chairperson
reminding her of the need to honour payment obligations to the contractors as
per the terms of the contract. Incidentally, on these same contracts,
mobilization payments were made to both contractors in December 2016, without
the knowledge and approval of the Chairperson. These are matters of grave
financial impropriety that require further investigation. The Chairperson has
no issues with the Director of Finance and staff at the EC head office can
testify to this. In matters of contracts, it is important that an institution
such as the EC follows the instructions of its retained consultant in
management of the contract to avoid breaches of contractual terms rather than
sentiments based on mischief and ill will.

Claim 9: “The Chairperson has
brought the Commission’s name into disrepute for single handedly petitioning
EOCO on an alleged misappropriation of staff endowment fund for malicious
reasons. This is because the issue has come before the entire Commission for
redress. The decision to go to EOCO was not that of the Commission but
characteristically unilateral decision by the Chairperson.”

Response
9:

The Chairperson has NOT submitted a petition to EOCO on the Endowment Fund
issue. However, the Chairperson believes that EOCO is the right institution
being a fact finding body, to investigate the issue of what the endowment fund
contributions of staff, which were not paid into the Fund for eight months in
2014 were used for. This matter has been before the Commission since February
2015 and has not been resolved. A memo sent by the Chairperson on December 1,
2015 on the issue has not been responded to as of today (please see ‘CO9A’
attached). The vouchers indicating the application of the Funds have not been
submitted despite repeated requests by the Chairperson and repeated claims by
the deputy Chairpersons of their availability. The Commission cannot by itself,
use 2017 funds released by the Ministry of Finance, to repay obligations
incurred in 2014, with no documentation and not recorded in the audit report of
2014 as an outstanding obligation, without the report of a separate institution
like EOCO. If there has been any embarrassment to the Commission, it is based
on the failure to keep proper accounting records in the matter and the wrongful
utilization of monies belonging rightfully to the staff endowment fund. If the
unknown petitioners are actually ‘concerned staff’ of the EC, the resolution of
this matter should be of utmost importance.

Claim
10:

“The Commission procured grant from USAID as part of the support of the 2016
General Election. This facility was signed by the then Minister of Finance. By
Article 175 of the 1992 Constitution and in line with Section 5 of the
Financial Administration Act, 2003 (Act 654), these grants constitute Public
Funds. As part of the implementation of this grant the Chairperson, Mrs.
Charlotte Osei, without the Commission’s approval unilaterally recruited
Personal Assistant and a Communication Officer and paid them $1,500 and $2,500
United States Dollars respectively. This was done without clearance from the
Ministry of Finance.”

Response
10:

The Chairperson and the Commission did not require the permission of the
Ministry of Finance to utilize funds agreed with the USAID in the manner agreed
by USAID in the Funding contract. All expenditure of donor funds is carried out
in line with the policies of the donor agency. The petitioners would have to
provide further proof of this requirement and show how in disbursement of other
donor funds the Commission has sought the permission of the Ministry of
Finance. The Chairperson followed the rules of the funding agency to the
letter. The Chairperson does not need the approval of the Commission to appoint
temporary staff and consultants deemed necessary and agreed in the Grant
letter. Indeed, as part of the basket of donor support provided to the
Commission for the election, it was agreed by donor partners that the
Commission would require a communications consultant and that a personal
assistant should be recruited for the Chairperson to support with managing the
heavy workload of the election year.

Claim
11:

“The Chairperson unilaterally transferred District Electoral Officers she
perceived to be pro-NPP to deprived areas prior to the 2016 general elections
without the knowledge of the Commission contrary to administrative procedures.”

Response
11:

The petitioners would have to show the basis for the perception that the
district electoral officers transferred were pro-NPP. Is the allegation that
only staff who are pro other parties should be made to work in ‘deprived
areas’? How are these ‘deprived areas’ defined? 
It would be helpful for the petitioners, if they exist, to show what
action was taken and should have been taken against district electoral officers
performing key functions and showing party biases as they allege. These
officers were transferred because of threats made by political actors on their
activities, which were likely to compromise the neutrality of the commission
and the integrity of the elections. It is within the powers of the Chairperson
to transfer district electoral officer either for purposes of protecting the
lives of staff or as the exigencies of the Commission’s work requires.

Claim
12:

“Since her assumption of office, the Chairperson has polarized the Commission
along political lines. Her political posture prior to the 2016 General Election
is evidence for public judgment.”

Response
12:

This is palpably untrue. Indeed, the Chairperson assumed office in a very
politically polarized environment and has worked very hard with staff, staff
associations and unions to create a healthier work environment. The petitioners
must present evidence to support this allegation.

Claim
13:

“The leadership of Mrs. Charlotte Osei has brought about an irreversible
disunity among Commission Members to the extent that she is not on speaking
terms with the deputies and other Commission members. There is total breakdown
of administrative structures of the Commission.”  

Response 13. Mrs. Osei is on speaking terms
with everyone at the Commission. The Deputy Chairpersons have chosen to be
grossly insubordinate and rude and there is ample documented evidence to
support this. Deputies take managerial decisions and implement same without the
knowledge of the Chairperson; threaten staff that have direct dealings with the
Chairperson; take their leave without the approval of the Chairperson and
implement major administrative and operational decisions without the knowledge
of the Chairperson. It would be helpful for our fictitious petitioners to
provide evidence to the contrary. There is only a breakdown of the structures
for maladministration and illegal financial dealings and not the administrative
structures of the Commission as claimed by the fictitious petitioners.

Claim
14:

“Mrs. Charlotte Osei persistently antagonized the then opposition, NPP prior to
the 2016 General Elections to the extent she never met any of the leadership
who sought audience with her to discuss issues of concern. This contrary to her
over patronage of the then ruling NDC including her attendance of Cabinet
Meetings.”

Response
14:

It is surprising that the ‘concerned staff” are also spokesperson for the NPP
with seeming intimate knowledge of the grievances of the NPP.   However, contrary to the impressions of the
petitioners, the leadership of the NPP is in a position to confirm several
meetings held with Mrs. Osei to discuss their concerns ahead of the 2016
elections. Indeed, in one of those meetings with the two Deputy Chairpersons,
it was confirmed that the Deputy Chairperson Operations had unilaterally and
without the knowledge of the Chairperson or the Commission created over 1000
(one thousand) additional polling stations for the district level elections of
September 1, 2015.

Mrs. Osei has NEVER attended a cabinet meeting
and shown absolutely no patronage to the NDC. This is the most infantile of
allegation as surely, records are available of attendance at Cabinet meetings
at the Presidency. The petitioners would be compelled to provide evidence in
support of these allegations.

Claim
15:

“Mrs. Charlotte Osei frequently travels out of the jurisdiction without
informing either the Commission or any of her deputies.”

Response
15
:
The Chairperson does not report to the two deputies. These are deputies who
constantly show insubordination, do not come to work or come to work when they
feel like, go on leave and travel without the knowledge and approval of the
Chairperson. They clearly do not respect their office or their role within the
organisation. Corporate governance procedures are clearly disregarded in their
operational behaviour.

As a ground for impeachment, it would also be
proper for the Deputy Chairpersons to be impeached for all the times they have
taken unauthorized leaves and travelled within and outside the jurisdiction,
without the approval of the Chairperson.

Claim
16:

“Mrs. Charlotte Osei harbored personal vendetta against a vendor by name Messrs
Buck Press Limited on the premise that he belongs to NPP. She categorically
made this statement in an interview with BBC. In view of this, she unilaterally
without recourse to the Commission removed the company’s name from the list of
vendors already approved by PPA to do business contrary to the Public
Procurement Act.”

Response
16:

The BBC interview transcripts are available and would show that Mrs. Osei never
made any comments that showed a personal vendetta against Messrs. Buck Press or
mentioned his party affiliation which is unknown to her.  The petitioners would be required to provide
documentary evidence of these allegations.

Messrs Buck Press was awarded 2 contracts by
the Commission in 2016; 1 contract in 2015; 2 contracts in 2014; 1 contract in
2013; and 2 contracts in 2012. Messrs Buck Press was one of four companies who
put in a tender for the printing and supply of carbonised forms. The contract
was awarded to Aerovote Ghana on the basis of the recommendations of the Tender
Evaluation committee report submitted to the Chairperson (copy attached and
marked ‘CO16A’).

The Chairperson is NOT a member of the tender
evaluation committee. The tender evaluation committee was chaired by the
director of finance and included the Directors of HR, IT and Electoral Services
at the Commission. There is no record of the evaluation committee recommending
that the contract should be awarded to Buck Press and that the Chairperson
flouted such recommendation. Further, the Chairperson was informed by the
evaluation committee that Aerovote was the only company that met the security
and form personalization requirements and with the capacity to print the
carbonized forms IN GHANA. Consequently, for the first time in our electoral
history, political party representatives could monitor the process of printing
of carbonized forms that led to higher levels of transparency and the integrity
of our electoral process. The Chairperson has no personal issue against Messrs.
Buck Press. The Commission has maintained the same seven main printers it has
always done business with and the Chairperson maintains a cordial relationship
with all the printing companies.

Claim
17:

“The Chairperson, Mrs. Charlotte Osei assuming Office has consistently
attempted to demonise her predecessor, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and taking steps
to de-recognise the legacy of her predecessor.”    

Response
17:

The Chairperson has always shown the highest levels of respect and admiration
for her predecessor and she maintains a very warm relationship with Dr. Kwadwo
Afari-Gyan and his family. Indeed, in most interviews she has granted, she has
always paid tribute to the excellent legacy left by her predecessor
particularly in the area of putting in place structures that support and
enhance credible and transparent elections. In any case, assuming without
admitting that this allegation was true, how does this become a ground for
impeachment of the Chairperson of the EC under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana?

Claim
18:

“Mrs. Charlotte Osei has consistently approved for payment of 76,000 United
States Dollars to an IT company, Dream Oval Limited without contract contrary
to the Financial Administration Act.”    

Response
18:

The contract with Dream Oval was funded by the USAID and awarded in line with
USAID procurement policies. The USAID has not complained of any breaches of
policies and has agreed to pay the additional costs necessitated by the
additional security infrastructure that Dream Oval had to put in place for the
Commission’s website. There has been no breach of any law or policy put in
place by USAID with regard to this matter. This is therefore, another baseless
allegation founded on mischievous imaginations.

Claim
19:

“The Chairperson through her arrogant posture brought embarrassment to the
Commission by refusing to grant audience to the members of the National Peace
Council and the leader of the Africa Union Delegation Mr. Thabo Mbeki, the
former president of South Africa during the 2016 General Election.”

Response
19:

It is patently untrue that the chairperson refused to meet President Mbeki and
the National Peace Council. The Peace Council came on an unscheduled visit to
the office at a time the Chairperson was away from the office. There were
subsequent conversations and meetings with the Chair of the National Peace
Council, which the Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante can confirm.

The Chairperson met President Thabo Mbeki on
December 1, 2016 at the Movenpick Hotel at the request of President Mbeki.
There is pictorial evidence of the meeting as posted by president Mbeki on
social media (please see attached and marked ‘CO19A’). There were also several
phone conversations with President Mbeki before and after the December
elections. Indeed, after the elections, President Mbeki called personally to
congratulate the Chairperson on her warmth, hard work, exemplary leadership and
excellent organization of the elections. It would be most helpful for the petitioners
to establish basic facts available as matters of public record in their quest
to vilify the Chairperson.

Claim
20:

“The Chairperson is managerially and administratively inept. She lacks
managerial experience or capacity and knowledge of corporate governance
structures and regulatory compliance. She has no respect for the organizational
structure of the Commission to the extent that she deals directly with
directors and senior officers without recourse to the deputies. The Chairperson
lacks the requisite managerial skills in public administration. This point
needs no elucidation since the current leadership style is publicly known.”    

Response
20:

The Chairperson’s managerial competence is evident from her career track record
and the reports of local and international election observer missions as well
as the commendations from regional directors and senior staff of the EC on the
organization of the 2016 elections. Her competence is also shown by many
positive changes at the Commission since the tenure of the current Chairperson.

The Chairperson will deal directly with
directors when a Deputy spends half of the working week outside of Accra,
particularly in a busy election year when decisions have to be taken quickly.
The Chairperson has attempted to put in place structures at the Commission to
ensure that the Commission is managed in an efficient manner. The Commission
has no disciplinary committee or effective disciplinary processes, no audit
review committee or processes, no structured management meetings, and no clear
financial and administrative procedures and manuals. This is unpardonable.

Financial statements and bank statements are
not submitted to the Chairperson or the Commission. Budgets and audit queries
are not formally presented to the Chairperson or the Commission. Approvals and
payments are made on the blind side of the chairperson and in excess of
approved limits. The attempts by the Chairperson to ensure proper structures
and financial management systems have led to disputes with the deputy
Chairpersons and staff who benefit financially and illegally from the chaos.
The Chairperson refuses to superintend a system that engenders endemic
corruption and poor administrative structures.

It should be noted that all these actions
amounting to financial malfeasance and impropriety would be documented and
submitted to the requisite authority for investigations.

Claim
21:

“The Chairperson had poor human relations not befitting of any leader in public
space.”  

Response
21:

The Chairperson has a warm and friendly relationship with all staff and
maintains an open door policy.  The
Chairperson only has difficulties with staff that do not want to see the
progress of the Commission and want to continue to preserve their illegal
commercial kingdoms for personal gain within the Commission. In 2015, attempts
by the Chairperson to stop district electoral officers from inserting ghost
names on the list of officials recruited for the 2015 district level elections,
to enable them appropriate the allowances for the officials resulted in the
Chairperson being reported to the BNI for investigation. In the report attached
hereto dated September 23, 2015 and marked ‘CO21A’, staff, according to the
BNI, admit to a culture of misappropriation of funds meant for electoral staff,
and assert that this practice is a ‘convention’ at the Commission.

A work culture that permits some staff to
steal with such boldness is extremely unfortunate and cannot be allowed to
continue.

Claim
22:

“The Chairperson has submitted an estimate of over GHS1million for the
renovation of the official bungalow for the Chairperson without recourse to the
Commission or appropriate staff in the Commission.”

Response
22:

The estimate for renovation of a house indicates the level of work required to
be done in the house. It is not a contract and there is no breach of the law
occasioned by submitting an estimate. It is in fact the Deputy Chair Operations
that is in breach of process reflected in his actions in 2015 when without
recourse to the Chairperson, the Deputy Chair Operations verbally authorized a
Director to undertake repairs to the Chairman’s official residence for the use
of the said Director.  

Upon submission of the estimate of works done,
it would have been expected that the Deputy Chair CS who oversees
administration, would have started a proper procurement process for the
renovation of the Chairperson’s residence. To date, no work has been initiated
and the Chairperson is still unable to move into the official residence two
years after appointment. In the same vein, the Chairperson was never provided
with an office three months after joining the Commission. She had to initiate
the moves herself to get suitable office premises and furnish it personally.

Claim
23:

“The Chairperson has constituted herself into the Commission’s Tender Review
Committee contrary to the Public Procurement Act. She singularly chairs the
Entity Tender Committee and Tender Review Committee at the same time. This puts
her into conflict of interest position and this is a clear breach of the public
Procurement Act.”    

Response
23:

The Chairperson’s headship of the Commission’s Entity Tender Committee (ETC) is
in line with the law, commission policy and was a decision taken at a
Commission meeting after its review of the UNDP commissioned assessment report
on the EC. That report highlighted major breaches of procurement law and poor
procurement and financial management regime at the Commission prior to the
appointment of the Chairperson. To establish conflict of interest, it needs to
be shown exactly what actions the Chairperson has taken in her capacity as head
of the ETC which show that her personal interest have conflicted with her
official position. The fictitious petitioners have failed to establish this.

Claim
24:

“The chairperson since assumption of office does not know any regional or
district of the Electoral Commission. She has blatantly refused to visit any of
the offices of the Commission citing security reasons. Surprisingly, since her
assumption to duty, she has never visited any of the offices of the deputies.”    

Response
24:

The Chairperson has visited as many offices as time constraints in a busy
election year would permit. As with all large organizations, the Chairperson in
her leadership is required to prioritize major issues around clear priorities
within the Commission. At the time of the appointment of the Chairperson, the
strategic and organizational priorities did not allow for significant local
travel to the regions. Security has never been a cited reason for the failure
to travel and proof of this would be requested from the petitioners. As with
all large organisations, the Chairperson is required to allow the responsible
leadership to keep her informed of the needs of the organisation whilst she may
not personally be able to visit every office – it is with this knowledge of the
deplorable state of district and regional offices, and in some cases, no district
offices at all, that the Chairperson commissioned the construction of 100
district offices due to be completed this year.  

In the Chairperson’s short tenure of 24 months
at the Commission, she has supervised the conduct of two national elections and
4 by-elections and undertaken significant travel related to Commission work and
AAEA obligations. Whilst the Chairperson regrets not being in a position to
visit each and every station and district office, the nature of constraints of
time and organisation priorities she has been unable to do so – however it is
clearly the responsibility of the Deputy Chairperson of Operations to do so.

The Chairperson has visited the offices of her
deputies. In any case, it is baffling why this issue should be of major concern
to the ‘concerned staff” of the Commission, and be elevated to an impeachable
offence and of greater importance to staff than the security of their
retirement funds and their general well being.

Claim
25:

“On the issue of Staff Endowment Fund she blatantly refused to meet the Senior
Staff Association and the Union in the presence of the deputies and by
extension the Commission. The allegations against the Deputy Commissioners and
other staff have not been brought before the Commission only to surface at
EOCO. The Chairperson cause the said auditing of the Endowment Fund without
recourse to the Commission. The said audit report was not brought to the
attention of the relevant persons for their comments or responses in line with
best practice of auditing standards.”    

Response
25:

The Chairperson has had many, many meetings with the Senior Staff Association
(SSA) and Union executives on the issue of the endowment fund. The president of
the SSA Mr. Joseph Addo Boateng and Mr. Charles Botchey, union chair can
confirm this. Indeed, she has never refused a meeting with the two bodies to
discuss the endowment fund issue. The staff bodies are aware of her tireless
efforts to resolve the issues regarding the endowment fund monies since
November 2015. The Chairperson wrote letters to the retired Director of Finance
and Chief Accountant in February 2016 seeking their input towards a resolution
of the issue. Further, she commissioned an internal audit report into the Fund
in March 2016. These have all yielded no conclusions, as the payment vouchers
to support the fact that the endowment fund monies were used for operational
purposes were never provided.

Claim
26:

“The Chairperson has lost popularity, legitimacy and touch with the staff and
some members of the Commission. She has failed to manage the Commission as a
corporate entity.”

Response
26:

Legitimacy is conferred by law and cannot be lost simply on baseless, frivolous
allegations that are lacking in substance, not factual, and actuated by
malice.  The Chairperson has consistently
delivered on her mandate in an exemplary manner as reflected by the several
commendations received by her from the international and local community on the
successful elections held in 2016.

The Chairperson is responsible for leadership
of an organization mandated by the law and subject to the law. The rules of
engagement are clearly defined in the law and corporate governance is a
critical component to the successful operation of the Commission. Delivery of
this requires that the leadership take unpopular decisions to ensure that the
broader needs of the Commission and the people of Ghana are placed ahead of the
desires of corrupt, unscrupulous individuals with the sole desire to enrich
themselves at the expense of our Democracy. Where there is an endemic culture
of corruption and the Chairperson is attempting to eradicate same, clearly she
will not be expected to be popular with the beneficiaries of the corrupt
system.  Where leadership of the
Commission seeks popularity, either with staff or external stakeholders, then
leadership of the Commission would be failing in its duty to the people of
Ghana and breaching the oaths of office that they have sworn to on appointment.

Claim
27:

“The Chairperson, Mrs. Charlotte Osei unilaterally awarded a contract of about US$25,000
to a South African company, Quazar Limited to change and redevelop the
Commission’s logo under the guise of rebranding without going to tender
contrary to the Public Procurement Act.”

Response
27:
  The decision to prepare a strategic plan and
rebrand the Commission was a decision of the full commission at a meeting.
Quazar was selected out of three companies and contracted by the UNDP to assist
the Commission complete its Strategic Plan and rebranding. The UNDP was very
happy with the services of Quazar and the UNDP has not submitted any complaints
of any breaches in the award of contract process. Indeed, representatives of
Quazar had several meetings and workshops with senior staff and members of the
Commission. It is therefore unclear the basis for the complaints that the
Chairperson unilaterally engaged the services of Quazar. In addition, Quazar
was not paid US$25,000. Quazar was paid about GH¢23,470.00 as supported by the
documents attached and marked ‘CO27A’. It would be most helpful if the
petitioners would get basic facts right.

FURTHER
PARTICULARS  

28. It is worth pointing out, that while the
Chairperson is persistently accused of arrogance and taking unilateral
decisions, there is ample evidence of extreme arrogance, ineptitude and blatant
breaches of the law by the deputy Chairpersons. 
A few examples will suffice here:

I. The Deputy
Chairperson CS has signed contracts worth over GHS40m without the knowledge and
authorization of the Chairperson between July-September 2015. Payments were
also made on these contracts in excess of her approval limits and again,
without the knowledge and authorization of the Chairperson. This is illegal,
criminal and a breach of the policies of the Commission and the laws of Ghana.
The supporting documents would be submitted to the relevant investigative
agencies for their further action.

II. In June 2017, the
annual leave of Deputy Chairperson Operations was approved by the Deputy
Chairperson CS without recourse to the Chairperson and signed on behalf of
Chairperson by Deputy Chairperson CS while she herself was on leave. This is
clearly symptomatic of poor knowledge of corporate governance and managerial
ineptitude. Indeed, the Deputy Chairperson CS has arrogated to herself the
powers of the Chairperson, convening commission meetings and taking other ultra
vires decisions in clear breach of the Law.

III. The Deputy
Chairperson CS went on an unauthorised leave from May 19 – June 19 2017 without
notice to the Chairperson and without prior approval. A sick leave note was
subsequently submitted to the Director of HR.

IV. While on leave in
June 2017, the Deputy Chairperson without authorization and notice to the
Chairperson, approved 2015 financial statements of the Commission, an increase
in the amount for fuel coupons (beyond budgeted levels) and without prior
knowledge and authorization of the Chairperson or the Commission. Clearly,
there is ample evidence of poor knowledge of corporate governance, rules of
public service financial management and general incompetence.

V. The poor financial
management systems within the Commission are systemic. In some cases,
Commission funds are paid into personal accounts of staff members at the
regional offices.

VI. A surreptitious
attempt was made to remove the Chairperson of the Commission from the GIFMIS
platform to enable payments to continue to be made on the blind side of the
Chairperson.

VII. The Deputy
Chairperson Operations has persistently instructed officials to carry out
illegal vote transfers on the Voter management System in clear breach of the
law and operational policies of the Commission. Such actions have major
implications for the integrity of the work of the Commission and constitute
abuse of office.

VIII. The Deputy
Chairperson Operations collected funds above GHS6m (Six million Ghana cedis) in
cash from some political parties for the organization of party primaries
without recourse to the structures of the Commission, and without the
involvement of the finance department of the Commission. Political party
primaries were treated as a private commercial project by the Deputy
Chairperson Ops, with funds paid directly into the personal accounts of key
staff for functions to be performed for party primaries. An internal audit
report highlighting widespread malfeasance in the conduct of party primaries
under the supervision of the Deputy Chairperson Operations is attached and
marked ‘CO28A’.  This situation cannot be
allowed to continue.

It is clear from the manner in which these
allegations have been laid – in the court of public opinion – based on no facts
and only malicious intent of persons protecting corrupt and unscrupulous acts.
These acts enrich solely the practitioners of these acts, and there is no
intent to abide by the law of the land nor truly be of service to the people of
Ghana. There is clearly, no established case of fraud or abuse of office made
against the Chairperson. The public purse, should be, and must be protected,
even at the EC. The independence granted the Commission under the Constitution
does not mean immunity to flout all the financial laws of Ghana, waste public
funds and unlawfully enrich corrupt public officials.

The role of the EC is to enable the citizens
to participate in free and fair elections – it has and will always remain the
guiding principle of the Chairperson. It is only those that are eager to
subvert the law and engage in illegal actions that will not support this
mandate in its implementation and vision of creating a World Class Electoral
Commission.”

GNA

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