Charlotte Osei’s ouster: there is more than meets the eye

Charlotte Osei’s ouster: there is more than meets the eye

Written by: Amos Blessing Amorse After reading the 92 page written address by Counsel for Charlotte Osei, Thaddeus Sory, I am completely at los

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Written by: Amos Blessing Amorse

Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei

After reading the 92 page written address by Counsel for Charlotte Osei, Thaddeus Sory, I am completely at lost why the CJ’s committee recommended the removal of the first female head of Ghana’s Electoral body.

I doubt if members of the committee read that document. Even if they [ads1]read it, then it may be the case, respectfully and without any malice intended, that a verdict for Charlotte Osei’s removal was reached ahead of the hearing.

Reading from the proceedings, it was clear that the petition ought to have been thrown out on grounds of fraud without considering the merit of it. It was shocking that throughout the hearing, the petitioners could not produce any of the other ’16’concerned workers of the EC who supposedly signed the petition. A man by name, Forson Ampofo, who testified on behalf of the faceless petitioners made a mess of himself and was badly exposed during cross examination.

Mr Ampofo was, for instance, asked if he signed the petition which was submitted to the President. He answered in the affirmative only for the petition to be shown to him without a single signature on it. When he was asked if he had a copy of the petition, he said the petition was with his lawyer. From here, it was clear that the petition was drafted somewhere, he never saw it nor read it before it was forwarded to the President. The only thing the drafters of the petition did was to add his name to it. This explained why none of the supposed petitioners including Mr Ampofo, signed the petition. This account exposed Mr Ampofo not to be a credible witness. Because, for a witness to say he was part of those who drafted a petition and signed it before it was handed to his lawyer; only to be exposed under cross examination that he never saw the petition and did not sign it, speaks volume of what those behind the petition attempted to do.

Mr Forson Ampofo was further exposed when he was asked if he knew a man by name George Adjavukewe. Mr Ampofo, in his own account under cross examination, said Mr Adjavukewe was an official of the EC who died several years ago before the petition was drafted. Surprisingly, the deceased Adjavukewe’s name was part of the petitioners. How can a dead person petition for the removal of somebody? If Mr Forson Ampofo was part of the drafters of the petition and he person read the content of the petition to all the petitioners, as he testified, how did a dead person find his name on the document? Was it the case that Mr Ampofo contact Mr Adjavukewe’s ghost to supposedly sign the petition? Incredible!!!

Clearly, from this account, it was glaring that the supposed petitioners, even if they existed, had no knowledge of the petition. Even if petitioners existed, the begging question is, did they instruct the lawyer to file any petition in their names? If the latter is answered in the affirmative, the next question would be, why couldn’t the lawyer “produce” the petitioners even when the respondents constantly requested that they were brought to be cross examined? As the case stands, the CJ’s committee overlooked this point and proceeded to act on a supposed petition by unidentifiable persons to remove no less a person than Chairperson of the EC. The committee, shockingly, was never interested in interrogating the contradictory accounts of Mr Forson Ampofo. From Mr Ampofo’s contradictory accounts, it was clear there were no petitioners, to start with.

If a petition is tainted with that level of fraud, I am at lost why it was admitted. This is where President Akufo Addo and NPP, again, come into the picture as activate participants in this whole nation wrecking adventure. Before the petition was forwarded to the CJ, Eugene Arhin issued a statement on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 and stated, inter alia, that “Whilst the President was out of the country, the office of the President received a petition, initially undated and unsigned, against the Chairperson of the EC. Subsequently, counsel, Maxwell Opoku Agyemang, Esq., by letter dated 20th July, 2017, wrote to the office of the President setting out the names of the petitioners and the date of the petition.”

An undated and unsigned petition is defective and ought to have been disallowed. The latter part of the statement explained that the unsigned and undated petition had no petitioners. It took the presidency to notify Maxwell Opoku Agyemang of the defective nature of the petition. To remedy the defects, Maxwell Opoku Agyemang, in a letter dated July 20, 2017, provided the names of the petitioners and the date of the petition. Eugene Arhin’s statement never stated anywhere that the supposed petitioners subsequently signed the petition. It is not surprising that Mr Forson Ampofo was badly exposed in the witness box when he testified that he and the faceless petitioners signed the petition. Eugene Arhin’s statement also revealed that Mr Adjavukewe, the deceased EC official’s name was added as one of the petitioners by Lawyer Maxwell Opoku Agyemang. At this point, we need to enquire whether Maxwell Opoku Agyemang met the supposed petitioners and obtained their instructions before proceeding to file the petition in their names? If he had attempted that, he would have realized that Adjavukewe had died years back.

Mr Eugene Arhin’s statement raised another fundamental point we must all be interested in. He said the petition was filed at the time the President was not in the country and that they had to wait for the president to return to act on it. Question is, where was the acting President when the petition was received? Again, now that we know the President was outside the country when the petition was received, we are interested in knowing who at the presidency called the attention of Maxwell Opoku Agyemang that the petition was undated, unsigned and without identity of the petitioners? This information will serve as a useful guide to know where the petition originated.

There was an issue about an audio which was tendered in evidence. The audio was a conversion between Adubea, one of commissioners, and a journalist, who said they (the commissioners) had united to kick out Charlotte. Almost all the allegations contained in the petition against Charlotte was parroted in the audio by Adubea. During the hearing, Adubea never challenged the authenticity of the audio even though it was brought to her attention. A case of bad faith was established by counsel for Charlotte. From this point, it was clear the petition was partly a pet project of the commissioners but they only used the unidentifiable petitioners as smokescreen.

The Committee rejected all these procedural issues and went into the merit of the case. The 27 point allegation laden petition was whittled down to 6 issues. In other words, the other allegations were dismissed by the CJ. The renaming six allegations centered on procurement. Reading through the documents available to me, it is strange, if not jaw dropping, how the committee came to the conclusion that Charlotte breached the Procurement Act (this will be delt with in part two of this article). Charlotte Osei’s accusers who said she unilaterally took certain decisions relating to award and abrogation of contracts, embarrassingly admitted, under cross examination, that those acts were collective decisions of the commission. Where the stated misbehavior and incompetence came from to warrant Charlotte’s removal, I am unable to tell.

The case of Charlotte is simple; she was a prime target of a group of persons who hated her so much. They wanted to see her back and they have succeeded. It was clear no amount of evidence adduced during the hearing was sufficient, in the eyes of her haters, to save her. Even though she was swimming during the hearing, her haters were accusing her of spreading dust. It is very sad. But this jaundice conclusion on the facts presented to the committee must not be allowed to stand as reference document. It does not speak well of our judicial process.

Amos Blessing Amorse

Domeabra Obom Constituency