President Akufo Addo and New Patriotic Party keep blowing their underbelly in this elaborate plot to supplant Mrs Charlotte Osei with their preferred Chairperson of the Electoral Commission.
Aside the inadvertent confessions presidential staffers, government spokespersons and NPP kingpins have made so far which clearly show their complicity in the whole scheme, the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, gave a clearer picture of how the presidency is in tacit support, and actually ‘cooked’ the petition to get Charlotte Osei out of office in his press statement.
Announcing that President Akufo Addo has referred the petition to the Chief Justice in line with article 146(3), Eugene Arhin stated that the presidency ‘horded’ the petition until July 26 when lawyer for the unknown petitioners “supplied” date for filing of the petition and name of the petitioners.
In other words, the President ‘delayed’ in referring the petition to the CJ because of two reasons – (1) the petition was without a date at the time it was sent to the President and (2) the petition had no petitioners. Eugene Arhin attempted to cover the President’s tracks when he stated in the statement that the petition delayed in getting to the CJ because at the time it was received, President Akufo Addo was not in the country.
This alibi exposes the ignorance of those working at the presidency. Articles 57(2) and 60(8) provide that whenever the President is out of the country, the vice President assumes his position, and in that case, becomes acting President. The Supreme Court in Asare v Attorney General and Atta Mensah & Anor v Attorney General & Anor has affirmed the position that the acting President has same power as the substantive President.
So the argument that President Akufo Addo was out of the country hence the delay in referring the petition to the CJ is flawed. Then acting President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia could have referred the petition to the CJ if the presidency was desirous of doing so. Unless the ‘big guys’ at the flag staff house want to tell us that Dr Bawumia, as acting President, was unfit to perform the functions of President Akufo Addo when he (the President) was outside the country.
The presidency had “genuine” reason for waiting until July 26 before referring the petition to the CJ. The presidency wanted the faceless petitioners to correct all their mistakes before the petition got to the CJ. Today, we are being told that lawyer Maxwell Opoku Agyemang followed up his petition with a letter dated July 20 to add “date” to the petition and also add the names of the petitioners he had earlier concealed.
Who at the presidency told Opoku Agyemang that the petition he filed had no date? Again, who advised him to add the names of the petitioners? In the petition, Lawyer Opoku Agyemang stated that he was willing to unveil the petitioners at any forum if the processes demand. So who asked him to “supply” the names of the petitioners before the petition was referred to the CJ?
Of course, the Supreme Court in Adjei Twum v The Attorney General &Akwetey laid down the basis for concealing the identity of petitioners. In that case, the court explained that the identity of persons desirous of concealing their identity in an “article 146” petition should be disclosed to the President. Lawyer Maxwell Opoku Agyemang knew this before he filed his undated and unnamed petitioners.
Mind you, lawyers of Charlotte Osei wrote to lawyer Maxwell Opoku Agyemang, requesting the names of the petitioners but he snubbed their letter. A writ was then issued against him on July 25 only for the presidency to be telling Ghanaians that he (Opoku Agyemang) supplied the names of the petitioners in a July 20 letter. Incredible! Somebody at the presidency might have asked him to supply the names and the date. Who then at the presidency did that hatchet job and what is the person’s interest in this case?
Lawyer Opoku Agyemang is not a novice in the legal profession. He is not just a lawyer of repute but a law lecturer at the Ghana School of Law. He “knows his onions” when it comes to law and procedure. These elementary mistakes should not be coming from someone like him.
A petition without a date and petitioners, if referred to the CJ, could have suffered a major procedural and technical defect. The presidency knew this so they ‘coached’ him to correct his errors. What interest does the presidency have in this case that officials there had to call lawyer Opoku Agyemang to correct his error?
It is not clear if his July 20 letter was an addendum to the undated petition or it amended the petition or it replaced the earlier petition. The presidency’s complicity in this case is now too glaring.
Amos Blessing Amorse