EC Commissioners are not happy – Charlotte Osei

Accra, Mrs Charlotte Osei, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), says the seven Commissioners of the Commission, have constantly complained about leaking and damaged roofs of the EC.

They also spoke against poor electrical wiring, damp walls and lack of storage facilities to store elections equipment resulting in significant losses and inefficient use of resources at the Commission.

Mrs Osei made this known in a 17 paged document response to a petition by unknown concerned staff of the EC through their lawyer to the President for her impeachment.

The petitioners, who had come out with 27 claims against Mrs Osei in one of the claims said: As part of compromising her independence and neutrality, Mrs. Charlotte Osei claimed that the Electoral Commission has been allocated a new building for use as office complex without the approval of the Commission.

The seven- member Commission has not at any point in time formally requested for any office allocation since the Commission sees nothing wrong the current office.

With the Chairperson’s insatiable demand of affluence and flamboyance, she unilaterally awarded a contract to the tune of GHS3.9 million for demarcation and partitioning of the said office complex without recourse to the Commission.

She claimed she sought approval from the Public Procurement Authority but strangely enough, the contract sum is higher than approved level.

However, Mrs Osei said: The Chairperson informed the Commission in late 2015 that the Commission had requested new office premises from the Presidency to house the new secretariat of the Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA) after Ghana had been voted as a permanent secretariat of the AAEA in July 2015 with responsibility to provide office space for the AAEA.

In February 2016, at a Commission meeting members were informed that Government had allocated a new office building to the Commission through the office of the Chief of Staff, she added.

She said members were further informed that the new office was a new building and would only require partitioning and all commissioners were encouraged to visit the new premises.

The Chairperson subsequently visited the new site with the two Deputy Chairpersons and a Commission member, all of who were very excited by the new office.

The Chairperson has no control over the office of the Chief of Staff or the Presidency and clearly cannot obtain the permission of the Commission if a new office is allocated to the Commission, she said.

She said the current offices had major structural defects, significant parts of the roof were collapsing, significant leakages in most offices, damp and mouldy walls, electrical defects had been discovered and pointed out by the Fire Service for urgent attention, the building lacks disability access, was decrepit and outdated, requiring extensive work and expense to make it habitable and reflective of the office of the Electoral Commission.

Mrs Osei said the building houses precious lives of staff of the Commission and sensitive national assets such as the largest database of Ghanaians currently in the country. The current office space was not suitable by any standards.

She said with regard to the contract for partitioning of the eight-floor office building, the procurement laws were scrupulously followed.

She said the scope of the contract included glazed aluminum partitions for all eight floors, plumbing and sanitary installations, ventilation/air conditioning installations, electrical installations, servicing of the lifts, demolitions, masonry works and painting amongst others.

Directors of the Commission at the head office (Finance, HR, IT and Electoral Services), and an external consultant were members of the evaluation panel.

The Chairperson of the Commission was not a member of the tender evaluation panel. The bid submitted by Inocon Limited was the lowest of the three bids and was recommended to the Chairperson for approval, she said.

The Chairperson of the Commission is not and has never been a member of the tender evaluation committee and cannot therefore; influence the award of the contract.

Indeed, Mrs Osei was not even present in the ETC meeting where tenders were opened for the partitioning contract, she added.

Mrs Osei said the Chairperson was the only one authorised by the policies of the Commission to sign contracts.

She said an investigation into the processes for award of the contract and a value for money assessment would be welcome as it would be based on law and policies and not motivated by ill will and pettiness.

Source: Ghana News Agency