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General News of Monday, 6 August 2018


Charlotte Osei dragged to Amidu for causing financial loss

Former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission,  Charlotte Osei Former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei

Members of staff of the Electoral Commission (EC), who caused the removal of Charlotte Osei from office, have officially filed a fresh petition at the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate her.

The EC staff, led by two of their members, Forson Ampofo and Godsway Dadjoe, want the Martin Amidu-led team to charge her for causing financial loss to the state in a petition DAILY GUIDE learnt was filed last Wednesday.

The petition for the Special Prosecutor’s Office to institute criminal investigations included the contract given to Aerovote Limited to print pink sheets for the 2016 general elections; the request for a new EC head office building from the Mahama administration, which she went ahead to spend the taxpayer’s money to partition; her position at Ghana Re-Insurance; as well as a contract awarded to Superlock Technology Limited (STL).

Other issues in the petition included the contract to construct pre-fabricated offices for the commission, a contract to another company called Dreamoval, another one to Quazar Limited, which were all captured in the report of the Chief Justice’s five-member committee that recommended the dismissal of the chairperson of the EC.

Pink Sheets

The petitioners claimed “Mrs. Osei owns a private law firm – Prime Attorneys. The firm had a client called Aerovote Limited. When she was EC Chair, Mrs. Osei and her firm, Prime Attorneys, communicated with and gave information about how to bid for printing contract at the EC to Aerovote Limited, which was not even a registered contractor of the commission even before the processes for the bids were put together. Aerovote was eventually awarded the contract.”

According to the petitioners, “Mrs. Osei, without recourse to the commission, and without seeking approval of the commissioners, requested a new office building for the commission. Even though the commission was never given any proper land documents transferring ownership or use of the building to the commission, Mrs. Osei instructed the spending of almost GH¢154,000,000 of the commission’s money in the internal partitioning of the building alone,” adding “to date, the ownership of the building has not been ascertained and the commission cannot move into the building.”

They suggested to the Special Prosecutor that “it is a clear case of causing financial loss to the state.”

According to the petitioners, Mrs Osei assumed office as Article 71 appointee on June 30, 2015, but claimed she was still holding office at 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 Insurance confirmed that she only resigned on December 5, 2015. This means that whilst holding office as chairperson of EC, she was still a board member of Ghana Re Insurance,” according to the petitioners.

They further claimed the sacked EC Boss submitted GH¢1 million for the renovation of the official bungalow for the chairperson without recourse to the commission or appropriate staff of the commission.

“Mrs. Osei constituted herself into the commission’s Tender Review Committee contrary to the Public Procurement Act. She singularly chairs the Entity Tender Committee and the Tender Review Committee at the same time. This puts her in a conflict of interest position and this is a clear breach of the Public Procurement Act,” they stated.

They claimed “the South African company, Quazar Limited, to which the EC gave a contract without proper procedure is owned by a relative of Mrs. Osei.”

“We say that these breaches also mount to criminal conduct and hereby lodge a complaint to you to further investigate and prosecute,” the petitioners said.

The petitioners also drew the Special Prosecutor’s attention to the adverse findings of the Chief Justice’s committee, including the unilateral abrogation of a duly signed contract with STL which Mrs. Osei turned round to re-award to the same company without following procurement procedures for which the committee found her liable.

They also told the Special Prosecutor about the award of a $25,000 contract to Quazar Limited in breach of the Procurement Authority Act.

They expressed their readiness to assist Mr. Amidu and his team with all the evidence to get to the bottom of the issues raised.

At a news conference recently, the petitioners said “we wish to state that we shall use all legal means available to us to ensure that her removal is permanent and cast in stone,” one of the petitioners Rabiu Sulemana, who spoke on behalf of the EC staff, who were the petitioners in Mrs. Osei’s case, said at a news conference in Accra recently.

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