28
Fri, Jul
7 New Articles

EOCO, EC AT WAR Over Missing GHC480, 000 saga

Politics

The Economic and Organised Crimes Office and the embattled top officials of the Electoral Commission appear to have taken uncompromising positions regarding the ongoing probe into alleged embezzlement of over GHC480, 000 from the EC’s Staff Endowment Fund.

The Economic and Organised Crimes Office and the embattled top officials of the Electoral Commission appear to have taken uncompromising positions regarding the ongoing probe into alleged embezzlement of over GHC480, 000 from the EC’s Staff Endowment Fund.

 

The EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, upon a request by EOCO, has written to the three suspects, Georgina Opoku-Amankwaa, Deputy Chairperson in charge of Finance & Administration; Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, Chief Accountant; and Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, Finance Officer, to proceed on leave. But the suspects are not ready to comply with the order of their superior.

Meanwhile, Counsel for Georgina Opoku-Amankwaa have written to Mrs Charlotte Osei, insisting that their client will not comply with a directive to “proceed on leave”, describing it as an “unconstitutional” order.

But, a source at the EOCO insists the request for her to proceed on leave does not amount to removal from office, explaining that the request was only meant to ensure non-interference in the investigations.

Indeed, the Daily Statesman can report that part of the reasons for the EOCO’s request for Ms Opoku-Amankwaa and others to proceed on leave was an alleged attempt to cover up the issues surrounding the said embezzlement, through a planned move to appoint a Chief Accountant and a substantive Internal Auditor in the absence of the EC boss. The planned appointments were stopped upon a directive by the EOCO.

A letter from EOCO, dated July 4, 2017, and signed by Nana Antwi, a deputy executive director, directed as follows: “It has come to the attention of the Office (EOCO) that the Commission intends to hold a general meeting on the 6th of July, 2017. Among the matters to be discussed include: the appointment of a Chief Accountant; the appointment of an active/substantive Internal Auditor.

This Office wishes to remind the leadership of the Commission of an ongoing investigation into the loss of the GHC480, 177, 83 from the staff Endowment Fund.

The Deputy Chair, (Finance and Administration) and officers from the Finance Office are assisting the Office in the investigation.

It would therefore be inappropriate to hold the said meeting to consider the appointment or confirmation of officers from the Finance Office.

I therefore have the instructions of the Ag. Executive Director to request you to suspend the intended meeting scheduled for the 6th July, 2017.”

Just like his embattled colleague, Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, Finance Officer, also insists he would not proceed on leave, as directed by the EC boss

“I wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 5 July directing me to proceed on leave pending the EOCO investigation into an alleged loss of about GHS480, 000 from the staff Endowment Fund. As you are aware, I wish to state on record again that I was neither at post as Director of Finance nor was I in any position to influence management’s decision regarding financial administration of the Endowment Fund during the period of the alleged loss. I am, therefore, in no position to influence the integrity of the investigation as stated in your letter while at post since I have no involvement in the alleged loss. Madam, assuming without admitting that officers who inherit problems have no knowledge of their predecessor are made to proceed on leave, then on the principle of fairness, all management staff in the same position must equally proceed on leave. I wish to courteously submit that subsequent to my assumption of duty as Director of Finance, there has not been any incident of the same or similar nature,” he stated in a response to the EC boss.

But in a counter response, the EC Chair warned him to comply with the directive in order to avoid sanctions.

The letter, dated July 7, 2017, stated: “kindly note that the letter directing you to proceed on leave was as a result of the directive received from the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) dated July 4, 2017”.

According to the EC boss, in complying with the directive, “I was mindful of the provisions of the EOCO Act, 2010 (Act 804)” which state: 1. The office may conduct investigations in conjunction with security agencies and other persons; 2. An officer of a public agency shall cooperate with officers of the office in the performance of functions under this Act; 3. A public officer who refuses or fails without reasonable cause to cooperate with an authorised officer of the office commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 50 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than three months or both.”