EC Boss Under Fire as Group Petitions Chief Justice
A Civil Society Group, Center for National Affairs, has petitioned the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo to expedite investigations into impeachable allegations against Charlotte Osei, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and her two deputies.
This the group believes is necessary to ensure the credibility of two impending referendums slated for next year.
The referendum on District Assembly election the creation of new regions is to be supervised by the Commission.
It may be recalled that some EC workers in a six-page petition submitted to the President in July, 2017 levelled some allegations against their boss.
The petition was forwarded to Ms. Akuffo as enjoined by the Constitution and a five-member committee was subsequently up to probe the matter after a prima facie case was established.
Her two deputies; Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwaah are also facing the CJ’s committee after petitions were presented against them as well.
But months on, the Center for National Affairs is back before he CJ urging her to quicken the pace of the investigation into the matter.
In its petition, the group said it considers the petition as a barometer of public interest in bring to the protracted leadership crisis at the Electoral Commission and urge your expedition following a petition for their removal.
It said being aware of the current novelty before the CJ in determining the fate of the Commissioners at the Commission, the citizens are still yet to know the finality of the matter due to the prolonged periods of investigation and reporting of recommendations by the sitting Committee.
The group argued that the national the National election for President and Members of Parliament in 2020 are issues of great national concern and critical indicators of our democratic progress.
In the view of the group, there is the need to also take into consideration the tendency for the prolonged nature of the matter to cause political tensions indicating that the proceedings if not duly expedited is capable of affecting our whole democratic set up.
“We at Centre for National Affairs believe this delay is a result of the “exercise of discretionary powers” by the Chief Justice and the Commission set up to investigate the complaints” it said
The Centre for National Affairs added: “Where the Constitution under Article 146 provides the necessary procedure to handle petitions against Justices of a Superior Court, of which the Chairperson and her deputies fall under based on provisions in Article 44 Section 2 and 3, it fails to provide timelines for the completion of the various procedures. The timelines for these procedures are therefore wholly discretional in nature and wholly subject to the dictates of the authority in play.”
The group said Article 296(3) allows for judges to exercise discretionary powers without publishing a Constitutional Instrument or Statutory Instrument to govern the exercise of this power but Article 159 empowers the Chief Justice, acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial Council and with the approval of the President, to enact Constitutional Instruments that provide regulations for the efficient performance of the functions of the Judicial Service and Council.
The petitioners noted that all well-meaning citizens of the country would be provided with some air of relief if the investigations are expedited and the recommendations forwarded to the President for the pronouncement on the matter to be made.
“This would go a long way in helping the Electoral Commission function effectively after several months of what has been observed as dysfunctional state of affairs at the election management body.”
By: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson