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General News of Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

EC controversy shouldn’t affect referendum for new regions – Yaw Oppong

A private legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong, believes the investigation of the leadership of the Electoral Commission for alleged corruption, will not affect the expected referendum on the creation of new regions.

The Justice S.A. Brobbey Commission of Inquiry recommended that the EC should hold referenda in the selected regions to determine the creation of the six new regions.

The Commission recommended the creation of the six new regions, i.e. Western North, Bono East, Ahafo, Savannah, North East, and Oti regions from the Western, Brong Ahafo, Volta and Northern Regions.

But some observers are concerned that the investigations into the alleged corruption at the EC may affect the process.

Mr. Oppong argued that the EC has still been functioning nationwide for the past 12 months despite the controversy.

“…They have been performing the functions in the region and even in Accra, the capital, and political party elections are being organized and supervised by them and I think they have fairly performed their functions to the satisfaction of those concerned.”

“So I think that in the absence of a couple of them having some kind of judicial process, the Electoral Commission is an institution. It is not an embodiment of personalities and the processes can go on smoothly without any problem which would have occurred because they may not be able to perform their functions.”

Background

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 funnelling 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 only being 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 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.