The Supreme Court has become the new battleground in the brouhaha at the Electoral Commission (EC) following a suit by an individual against the Chief Justice and the Attorney-General (A-G) in an attempt to stop any investigations against the EC Chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei.
The plaintiff, Mr Ayamga Yakubu Akoglo, who initiated the lawsuit in his capacity as a Ghanaian, is praying the court to declare any action initiated or currently ongoing against the EC Chairperson as “unconstitutional, void and of no effect.’’
According to him, the issues raised in the petition calling for the removal of Mrs Osei had nothing to do with her core functions as prescribed in Article 45 of the 1992 Constitution and, therefore, do not warrant her removal per Article 146 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.
He contends that the allegation of financial or procurement impropriety levelled against the EC Chairperson in the petition should not be grounds for an action under Article 146(1) because financial and procurement functions are not part of the chairperson’s core duties.
“Statutory agencies such as the office of the Auditor-General, the Public Procurement Authority , the Controller and Accountant General’s Department and the Internal Audit Agency are best and well placed to deal with these complaints,’’ he averred.
Per his argument, the petition against Mrs Osei should not have been entertained by President Nana Addo Dankwa- Akufo Addo for onward transfer to the Chief Justice per Article 146 (3) of the 1992 Constitution on whether or not there is a prima facie case against the EC Chairperson.
“Not Article 146 petition’’
Article 45 of the Constitution stipulates the functions of the EC which include to compile and revise voters register, demarcate election boundaries for national and local elections, conduct and supervise all public elections and referenda, among other functions related to public elections.
Article 146 (1), on the other hand, talks about what constitutes grounds for the removal of a Justice of a Superior Court , the same condition which applies to the removal of the Chairperson of the EC and her two deputies.
These are “stated misbehaviour or incompetence or on ground of inability to perform the functions of his office arising from infirmity’’.
It is the case of Mr Akoglo that the petition against Mrs Osei does not satisfy the requirement under Article 146 (1) because it does not state that the EC’s Chairperson had failed to competently carry out her functions as stipulated under Article 45 of the 1992 Constitution
“The petition on the face of the record did not meet the constitutional requirements of incompetence to warrant the determination of a prima facie and to remove from office the Chairperson of the EC. On the face of the petition, there is no constitutional function of the EC not competently discharged by the Chairperson of the EC,’’ he argued in his legal action.