Charlotte Osei withdraws suit against Opoku-Agyemang

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh, ACCRA & Della Russel Ocloo, TEMA
A former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei
A former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei

A former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei, has withdrawn her defamation suit against an Accra-based lawyer, Mr Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang.

Mrs Osei, also a legal practitioner, sued Mr Opoku-Agyemang on July 25, 2017.

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She had asked the court to direct Mr Opoku-Agyemang to retract comments deemed defamatory and made in relation to the petition sent to the Presidency asking for impeachment proceedings to be initiated against her and apologise same.

Mr Opoku-Agyemang, on behalf of some “concerned staff” of the EC, had sent a petition to the President asking for impeachment proceedings to be initiated against Mrs Osei for misconduct and conflict of interest.

But a notice of withdrawal from her lawyers said Mrs Osei was no longer interested in pursuing the matter.


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The High Court, presided over by Mr Justice Ackah Boafo, granted her request and awarded costs of GH¢8,000 against Mrs Osei.

The reason for the withdrawal was not made known, but sources close to her legal team told the Daily Graphic that “our client is no longer interested in pursuing the suit. She is tired of all the legal battles and wants a break from them”.

The suit

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Mrs Osei had sought the court to declare that the defendant’s statement that she was "managerially and administratively inept" because she had no respect for the organisational structure of the EC was defamatory.

She also considered statements to the effect that she had poor human relations and, therefore, not befitting of any leadership position in public space, as well as being accused of unilaterally transferring district electoral officers perceived to be pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP), as defamatory.

The plaintiff had also pleaded with the court to declare that the defendant’s comments to the effect that she had polarised the EC on political lines were defamatory.

She also prayed the court to declare that an accusation that she had unilaterally constituted herself into the EC’s Tender Review Committee, contrary to the Procurement Act, and unilaterally awarded a contract of about $25,000 to a South African company to change and re-develop the EC’s logo under the guise of rebranding was defamatory.

She also sought a declaration that the statements that plaintiff nearly pushed Ghana “to the precipice” by her “political posture” prior to the conduct of the 2016 general election and that she had a “political bias and prejudice” against Ghanaians who supported the New Patriotic Party (NPP) by antagonising the NPP prior to the 2016 general election and brought embarrassment to the commission “through her arrogant posture” were also defamatory of her person.

Removal

Mrs Osei was, on June 28, 2018, removed as the Chairman of the EC for misbehaviour and incompetence.

Her removal was based on recommendations by the committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate alleged acts of corruption, misconduct and misbehaviour.