EC boss removal: SC asked to nullify decision

A private citizen, Fafali Nyonator, has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to declare as null and void the decision to remove from office, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission.

The applicant also wanted the court to order perpetual injunction, restraining President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from appointing any person to the position of EC Chairperson until the position has been declared vacant in accordance with proper processes and procedures as by law established.

The plaintiff, who is seeking to invoke the original jurisdiction of the apex court, is praying for an interpretation and or/enforcement of the provisions of articles 2(1)(b) and 130(1) (a) of the 1992 Constitution.

Article 2(1) (b) states that: “Any act or omission of any person, is inconsistent with or is in contravention of a provision of this constitution, may bring an action in the Supreme Court for a declaration to that effect.”

The applicant said the determination by the Chief Justice, Ms. Sophia A.B Akuffo, of a prima facie case pursuant to Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution against the EC boss, was inconsistent with Article 130(a).

Article 130(1) states: “Subject to the jurisdiction of the High Court in the enforcement of fundamental human rights and freedoms as provided in Article 33 of this Constitution, the Supreme Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction in-(a) all matters relating to the enforcement or interpretation of this Constitution.”

It is the case of the plaintiff that the Chief Justice usurped the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to construe and/or define the scope of application of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly articles 44(2) and 146.

The plaintiff is, therefore, seeking a declaration that the committee set up by the Chief Justice to inquire into the petition for the removal of Mrs. Osei from office, exceeded its powers by construing or defining the scope of application of provisions of the 1992 Constitution amounted to usurping the powers of the Supreme Court to interpret the provisions of the Constitution.

President Akufo-Addo on June 28, 2018, removed from office Mrs. Osei and two deputy commissioners of the EC, Amadu Sulley, and Georgina Opoku Amankwa.

A statement issued in Accra and signed by Alhaji Dr. Mustapha Hamid, Minister of Information, said the three were removed on grounds of stated misbehaviour and incompetence, pursuant to Article 146 (1) of the Constitution.

In July, 2017, a 27-point petition signed by a private legal practitioner, Maxwell Opoku Agyemang, containing series of allegations of misconduct against the EC Chairperson, was presented to President Akufo-Addo.

The petition which triggered full impeachment proceedings under Article 146 of the Constitution, partly described Mrs. Osei as incompetent, corrupt, fraudulent and autocratic.

The petition stated, among others, that the chairperson of the Commission in many instances breached the procurement law in purchasing goods and services for the Commission.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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