EC Chair, Charlotte Osei, and her deputies may not be suspended as an inquisitorial committee prepares to look into allegations of abuse of power and corruption that has hit Ghana’s elections management body.
Renowned legal practitioner, Samson Lardi Anyenini, says speculations that once the probe begins, possibly in January 2018, all three top officials will be asked to step aside is not accurate.
“It is possible that they can continue to carry on their job while the probe is going on,” he said.
Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, initiated what many say is a possible impeachment process when she empanelled a five-member committee last month to look into the allegations.
The inquisitorial committee, whose members are yet to be made public, is expected to investigate Mrs Osei, together with her two deputies, Georgina Opoku-Amankwa, who is in-charge of Corporate Services, and Amadu Sulley, in charge of Operations.
The EC was thrown into turmoil in July this year after some unnamed staff petitioned President Akufo-Addo to trigger an impeachment process against Charlotte Osei.
Mrs Osei launched her own attack, drawing in the two deputies.
The accusation against Charlotte Osei included funnelling of GH¢3.9 million to partition an office, her receipt of a Toyota Land Cruiser from the Mahama government, expending about $14 million when the Public Procurement Authority had authorised her to use only $7.5 million.
Photo: Samson Anyenini
Commenting on the matter on current affairs programme PM Express on the Joy News channel (Multi TV), Mr Anyenini said although the three EC officials at the centre of the turmoil may be asked to leave their post to pave way for a thorough investigation, that is not set in stone.
“The suspension is not automatic. There are people who think that so far as a prima facie case has been made [they] ought to be suspended, no. Article 146 (10) says that if the Judicial Council advises the President that we should suspend then he will suspend. And even when the President suspends, the law says at any time he can revoke the suspension it is not automatic," he explains.
Recalling his involvement in a similar investigation into allegations of abuse of office against former Chair of the Commission for Human Rights and Administration Justice (CHRAJ), Lauretta Lamptey, Mr Anyenini said his team made it a key strategy to demand that Mrs Lamptey is asked to step aside.
He explains in that case too the suspension was not automatic.
“We felt that we needed a certain access to the CHRAJ to firm up our evidence. We needed persons who are in there to come and testify when the process starts. We felt that if she is still there the people (staff) will be afraid...so we wrote. We didn’t wait for the process to start," he said.
Difficult days ahead
The possible impeachment process, the first to hit the EC, could prove to be a long-drawn-out process, says Kojogah Adawudu, who was also on current affairs programme on Tuesday evening.
Photo: Kojogah Adawudu
"It will not be child's play," he said, convinced that the committee members will take their time to make sure allegations of political undertones in the process is curred.
Watch the full discussion in the video link below.