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General News of Friday, 21 July 2017


Lawyer for petitioners motivated by hatred to remove EC boss - Joe Debrah

Private legal practitioner Joe Debrah says lawyer handling the case on behalf of some unidentified petitioners seeking the removal of Charlotte Osei, Chairman of the Electoral Commission, is doing so because of personal hatred towards her, but will not disclose details.

Mrs. Osei is not only battling to save her job but her image over allegations her conduct is bringing the “Commission’s name into disrepute by single highhandedly petitioning EOCO on an alleged misappropriation of staff endowment fund for malicious reasons. ”

There are reports some staff of the commission are unhappy with her conduct since she took over from Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan. The petitioners also said Mrs. Osei “compromised the independence and neutrality of the Commission by arranging for 2015 V8 Land Cruiser with registration WR 2291-15 from the office of the President for use as an official vehicle without going through the procurement process or recourse to the Commission.”

According to them, she “unilaterally awarded a contract to the tune of GHS 3.9 million for demarcation and partitioning of the said office complex without recourse to the Commission” and “engaged in cronyism” by “awarding another contract to the tune of $14,310,961 (United State Dollars) to her cronies for the construction of Pre-fabricated District offices without recourse to the Commission.”

They said the “value” of the 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.”

Though the identity of the petitioners remains unknown, lawyer Maxwell Opoku Agyeman is the one speaking on their behalf. He has admitted sending copies of the petition to both the Chief Justice and the President.

His involvement in the case has been criticized by Mr. Debrah, a close friend, who said Mr. Opoku Agyeman took the matter up to settle personal scores with the EC chair, whom he has been friends with for decades. Speaking to Kasapa Fm breakfast show, Mr. Debrah declined to give specific details about the allegation but warned his professional colleague will fail in his pursuit.

But in a response to the allegations of waging a personal vendetta, Mr. Opoku Agyeman dismissed that as “frivolous” and “irresponsible” comment from another lawyer who is supposed to know better.

“I will not respond to what he said,” he said, adding; “ I am a professional and let’s not make this case personal” He said the decision to take up the job is more professional than what his colleague may think, especially when their own ethics enjoin them to be fair in all matters.

“This job has nothing to do with friends, I do my work base on convictions,” he said. “If I know this person or not is immaterial.” He said he has been teaching law for more than two decades and so wondered how anyone could make such “spurious” claim against him. He said he will not allow the campaign to get him off the case to deter him, especially when it “ does not lie in my power to determine the outcome of the petition.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Osei has given indication she will sue for defamation of character.