The Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Charlotte Osei has told parliamentarians that internally generated funds including accreditation fees collected from journalists before covering the 2016 presidential and parliamentary polls are intact.
She was in parliament to respond to a question on how monies collected from journalists and from those who replaced their missing cards were used.
“’In total, we collected GHC42,710 from media houses,” she told the House when summoned to answer questions on some discrepancies in the 2017 financial report of the Commission.
Member of Parliament for Subin, Eugene Antwi, filed an urgent question before the House when he figured some inconsistencies in the financial report, which suggested the EC, did not raise funds internally in its operations in 2016.
Responding to the question and other questions posed to her by members of parliament, said the non-capturing of the monies which included the over GHC2.5 million collected replacing Voter’s ID cards was an ‘oversight’ and would have to talk to the Financial Director who prepared the report.
The commission received a total of GH¢2,590,080.47 to process replacement voter ID cards, she said adding, the monies are in a GCB account of the Commission.
She stressed, the EC cannot expend the money without the Finance Minister’s approval.
“When I got the letter from parliament inviting me to come and speak to how much we’ve collected for lost or replaced ID cards, then we requested the bank statement and that’s what I found in the bank statement is what I have come to report to the House.
“Mr Chair, I’m not the entire Commission there are other people who work on these things. I’m speaking for myself as Chair.’’
Meanwhile, the MP upon whose question prompted the Committee on a Whole to summon the EC boss was unsatisfied with the responses given by Mrs. Osei.
He was emphatic that the division at the EC was obvious and affected the presentation by the commissioner.
The Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Charlotte Osei was summoned before Parliament to respond to questions about how much the Commission raised from monies it collected from journalists during the 2016 elections.
Subin Member of Parliament Mr Eugene Boakye Antwi wanted clarity on how the Commission raised in fees for accreditation for journalists and how it was disbursed.
The issue about accreditation fees became a controversial subject ahead of the 2016 election.
The Commission in a statement charged all journalists seeking to cover the elections at the various polling stations to pay for their accreditation.
“Accreditation tags will be given to only those who have formally applied for it and for a fee to be determined by the Commission,” the statement said.
This did not go down well with a number of journalists some of whom proceeded to court with a suit against the Commission.
The protests notwithstanding, the journalists paid for the accreditation and were issued with same.
Appearing before the House today [Wednesday], Mrs. Osei who was accompanied by Deputy Chair in-charge of Operations, Amadu Sulley, Commission Member, and three other directors said, the EC received 4,271 applications from interested media houses for accreditation.
Each journalist that applied was charged a fee of GHc10 per card. The cost covered the actual cost of printing the card, lamination and provision of card which was GHc8 exclusive of VAT and NHIL that the printers charged.
There were also 273 journalists, technicians, political party candidate representatives and election observers who were accredited without charge to cover processes at the National Collation Centre.
Mrs. Charlotte Osei said in total, the EC collected GHc 42, 710 from accredited media houses.
The EC paid out an amount of GHc 42, 713 to the printer.
‘’In sum, we had 4, 271 applications from journalist for accreditation, we issued 4,544 cards because that includes 273 persons who were allowed into the National Collation Centre. The printer charged GHc8 exclusive of VAT and NHIL for each accreditation card. We charged GHc10 because we had to cover administrative cost and taxes.’’
The Special Prosecutor's Bill has been withdrawn from Parliament by government following calls by the minority.
Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu on behalf of the Attorney General, withdrew the Bill and also the Zongo Development Fund Bill
The Minority Leader of Parliament on Tuesday, called for the Bill to be withdrawn.
According to Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the bill does not fulfill the mandatory 14 day constitutional process for its introduction in Parliament.
He further stated that the since the Bill was gazetted on 14th July, it should have been laid on or after 28th July and not the original date on which it was laid.
The Majority Leader on Wednesday said the withdrawal was to enable the committee charged with the responsibility to have greater and broader consultations.
Minority Chip Whip Muntaka Mubarak seconded the Majority Leader but was quick to add that it would have been best if the Attorney General had come to withdraw the bills.
Member of Parliament for Sagnirigu constituency, Alhaji Aba Fuseini has stated that the Minority in Parliament will resist the ‘’witch hunting’’ of former officials or appointees under the past National Democratic Congress (NDC) following a raid at the private residence of former Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor by operatives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Speaking on Frontline today, he admitted that every Ghanaian is subject to the laws of the country, and so he does not understand the basis for raiding Dr. Donkor’s home when ho charges have been brought forward against him.
For him, the development only points to an element of vindictiveness that everyone is subject to the law but we are talking about the manner which suggest clearly that it is a ‘’witch-hunt’’.
Operatives from the CID on Monday raided the private residence of Dr. Donkor in the bid to gather information regarding the AMERI deal approved during former President Mahama’s era.
Dr Kwabena Donkoron on Monday revealed that the police officers arrived at his house with a warrant demanding to search the premises and told him he was being investigated on suspicion for causing financial loss to the state.
Narrating what happened, he said he was sleeping in the morning when the staff in his house told him that there are police CID wanting to enter the premises.
“I dressed up and met them and they produced a warrant signed by an Accra Circuit Court. It said that application has been made to the court to permit the search on grounds that I have caused financial loss to the state. And this was the first time I was hearing about it," he said.
He added “every document on Ameri is a public document. They were submitted to Parliament, so there is absolutely no private document in my custody".
“In any case, if they were investigating Ameri, I probably didn’t expect that as a sitting MP, they should come to me with a search warrant.”
The Ameri deal was signed as an emergency power agreement in February 2015, between government represented by the Minister of Power and Ameri Energy, to ameliorate the country’s power challenges at the time.
Commenting on the incident further, Hon. Fuseini questioned why the current administration that believes in the rule of law, will subject a sitting MP to such an embarrassment.
‘’If you hold a walking stick in a wrong way it becomes an offensive weapon…If you don’t handle things in a proper manner, it turns into something else…Is not strange that the government that is supposed to uphold the law is abusing it?
‘’They are aware that the MP as part of his duties as MP, have certain rights and responsibilities and there are procedures that are involved when you want to investigate a sitting MP. And so you just don’t get up and say you have a court order, invade hiss premises and solicit for what you want. In the first place, the procedure was wrong,’’ he fumed.
Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has suggested that the Electoral Commissioner and her two deputies must step aside until investigations are concluded into the allegations and counter allegations leveled against each other.
The impasse at the Electoral Commission has been a subject for discussion on both the traditional and social media.
Allegations and counter allegations have been thrown at each other by the Commissioners.
Suggestions have been given by some individuals for the three commissioners to step aside.
The Majority Leader says until investigations are concluded, the three commissioners should be made to step aside.
“When I contributed to the affairs of the EC in March, I said that looking at the signs on the wall I thought that the issue was salvageable, if we had people sit down with them and deal with it. But now given where we have travelled to I think we should allow an in-depth inquiry into the conduct of business at the EC,” he said.
“Given the heat that the three of them have succeeded in generating, I think it will be better if they step aside for a proper investigations to be conducted.
“Who knows at the end of the day it will be much ado about nothing and they get back to work again,” he stated.
The commissioner and deputies will later meet the leadership of Parliament today [Wednesday] on the brouhaha.
The Commissioner, Mrs. Charlotte Osei is currently on the floor of Parliament responding to questions on how monies accrued from the charging of journalists in 2016 for accreditation and replacement of missing voter cards have been used.
A 27 year-old man called Elvis Amankwaa has poisoned himself at Sefwi Oseikrom in the Western region after a girl he reportedly proposed to, rejected him and went in for his best friend.
The man, according to a report filed by Nyankonton Mu Nsem’s Sir Joe, was so much in love with the girl and could not imagine living without her and when she told him she rejected him and went for his friend, the man saw his world coming to an end and killed himself.
Some friends who spoke to our reporter confirmed that Amankwaa [deceased] threatened to either kill his friend or himself because he was not happy with the decision by the lady.
According to him, the deceased for three days failed to talk to anyone and isolated himself.
He was later found in his room with a substance suspected to be DDT mixed with water near him.
He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Asafo Government Hospital, Sir Joe added.
An Accra High Court on Wednesday July 26, 2017 deferred its ruling in a case brought against Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery and the Comptroller General of Immigration, Kwame Sakyi by an Indian national who is contesting his deportation from Ghana.
The applicant, Ashok Kumar Sivaram who had lived in the country for since the year 2000, is accusing the two officials of unlawfully deporting him over unsubstantiated claims.
The Interior Minister and the Comptroller General of Immigration are said to have approved the deportation of Mr Sivaram on grounds that he obtained a fake marriage certificate to enable his stay in the country.
The suit revealed that the “the Applicant was deported from Ghana on the said morning of 1st June 2017 without any notice to him or being offered the opportunity to be heard on the allegation of forgery leveled against him.”
At hearing today [Wednesday], counsel for the applicant, lawyer Gary Nimako prayed the court to quash the order by the respondents because the action was capricious and arbitrary.
The respondents he argued carried out their action by claiming that the applicant’s marriage certificate through which he was deported, was fraudulent and criminal.
However, the lawyer said the determination of what is fraudulent or criminal can only be done by a competent court of jurisdiction.
The Minister of Interior he stressed had no such powers to deport the applicant adding, the applicant was not given a fair hearing before his deportation.
He prayed the court to revoke the deportation order and because the action was in excess of their powers. They exceeded their powers in deporting the applicant.
On the claim that the applicant was a threat to the security of state, lawyer Nimako shot it down and argued that he [Ashok] has been living in the country since 2000 and had no criminal record hence it will be strange for him to deported on such grounds.
“The Respondents carried out this operation without regard to the presence of the Applicant’s business interest in Ghana that employs one hundred and sixty (160) people out of which one hundred and thirty (130) are Ghanaians and thirty (30) are Expatriates. Again, no regard or consideration was given by the Respondents inspite of the pendency of the case in the High Court, Commercial Division and the Order for a valuation process to be undertaken by Ernst & Young to enable the Court proceed with the matter pending before it,” the suit explained.
The suit indicated that “the Applicant was arrested as if he was a common criminal on 1st June, 2017 and immediately deported from Ghana without regard to the Orders of the High Court made on 5th May, 2017 for the valuation of Jai Mai Communications Limited.”
Counsel for the respondents, lawyer J. Armah, objected to the application on the grounds that the Minister did not err in deporting the applicant because he did so with recourse to law.
The applicant he stated was granted an opportunity and a fair hearing after it was established through an investigation that he forged his marriage certificate.
The Minister she said did not act in excess of his powers. The Minister took into consideration the security of Ghana and deported the application who in his [Minister’s] opinion was a threat to national security,she added.
Lawyer Armah had earlier prayed the court after she raised a preliminary objection to the application. She asked the court to dismiss the application on grounds that, he [Applicant] ought to have sued the Attorney-General who was mandated by law, to represent a state institution in civil cases.
The Minister she said was sued in his personal capacity. But Lawyer Nimako in his response said, the fact that the Minister’s name was captured on the application did not mean that he was sued in his personal capacity.
The objection was however overruled by the presiding judge, Justice Kweku A. Boafo.
He subsequently deferred the ruling to Monday July 29, 2017
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, 26th July, 2017, referred a petition purporting to invoke Article 146(3) of the Constitution, in respect of the office of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei, to the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo.
A statement signed by Communications Director at the presidency, Eugene Arhin said, ‘’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.
The statement added: ‘’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. Pursuant to the terms of Article 146(3), President Akufo-Addo has, thus, referred the petition to the Chief Justice for resolution, in accordance with the provisions of Article 146(3).’’