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Is deputy commissioner behind impeachment plot? - Charlotte Osei drops hints

The Electoral Commission (EC) boss has hinted, her embattled deputy Georgina Opoku Amankwaah could be behind a petition seeking her impeachment.

Charlotte Osei has revealed, legal practitioner Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang who filed the petition on behalf of the so-called 'concerned staff' is the same lawyer representing the deputy Georgina Amankwah who is under investigation.

Counsel for petitioners, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang

The EC chair dropped the hint in her reply to the 27-point petition asking for her impeachement.

Allegations raised in the petition range from questions about her managerial competence, political neutrality and what the staff say are breaches of contracts and the public procurement act.

But Charlotte Osei is demanding to know the identities of the accusing staff.

“Whilst he [counsel] claims to act on behalf of ‘Concerned Staff’ of the Commission, he has not made clear who those ‘staff’ indeed are,” the EC boss said.

With the names of the petitioners remaining unknown for the past days, Mrs Osei has given a pointer her aggrieved deputy might be behind plot to have her dismissed.

The relationship between EC boss and Mrs Opoku Amankwaah has been reportedly fragile since Charlotte Osei was appointed by President John Mahama in June, 2015.

Georgina Amankwah and Charlotte Osei have both worked at the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).

But Mrs. Osei's next career move would see her become the new EC boss while her former colleague remained a deputy EC.

The fall-out worsened after the EC boss asked her deputy Mrs. Amankwah to proceed on leave after she was named in a missing ¢480,000 endowment cash for EC staff.

The anti-graft agency, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) is investigating the issue. But Georgina Amankwah represented by her counsel Mr. Agyemang has protested the directive to go on leave.

The Akuapim South MP, Osei Bonsu Amoah has pointed out the EC set a "dangerous precedent" when the EC chair ordered her deputy to proceed on leave on the instructions of EOCO.

He has argued it is akin to the Chief Justice asking a Justice of the Supreme Court to proceed on leave. The lawmaker believes this directive opened up the EC to EOCO which could also now order her to proceed on leave while investigations into the petition continue.

Charlotte Osei in her latest response is accusing Georgina Amankwah of subverting her authority among other allegations.

Below is a portion of her response to the petition as it relates to deputy commissioner Georgina Amankwah

(a) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) 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.

(d) 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.