The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) yesterday issued a statement denying a publication in DAILY GUIDE in the matter of some top officers accused of misappropriating GH¢480,177.87 of the Electoral Commission’s (EC’s) staff Endowment Fund.
A statement issued in Accra and signed by ACP K.K. Amoah (Rtd), Acting Executive Director of EOCO, stated, “The attention of the authority at the EOCO has been drawn to the banner headline of the 23rd January, 2018 edition of the DAILY GUIDE newspaper that ‘EOCO Clears EC Top Officers.’ “We wish to emphatically and categorically state that no such clearance has been issued by this Office to any of the Officers of the Electoral Commission.”
Mr. Amoah also said, “The attribution that ‘EC Chairperson is said to be manipulating EOCO’ is blatant falsehood and needs to be condemned. The general public is invited to disregard the said publication. EOCO will issue a statement on this matter.”
According to sources, even though the anti-graft body carried out the investigation on the EC’s case, it is distancing itself from the leakage of the document since its report was only submitted to the Attorney General upon whose advice the docket was raised.
The EOCO docket, signed by Evelyn D. Keelson, a chief state attorney, on behalf of the AG, concluded, “We are of the view that until a comprehensive audit is conducted into the Endowment Fund of the staff of the Electoral Commission, it will be difficult to firmly establish the commission of any malfeasance.”
Georgina Opoku-Amankwaah, Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Finance and Administration, together with Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, Chief Accountant and Dr Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, Finance Director, were hounded out of office by the EOCO on the instructions of the EC chairperson, Charlotte Osei, over the GH¢480,177.87 and their continuous stay out of office is beginning to raise eyebrows since nothing was found against any of the three top officials.
Interestingly, the advice from the Attorney General’s Department on the investigative report of the EOCO did not make the three officials suspects in the case.
In fact, in the eight-page document sighted by DAILY GUIDE, Mrs. Opoku Amankwaah and the two others were treated as witnesses by the EOCO.
The document, dated January 10, 2018, specifically mentioned Samuel Yorke Aidoo, the then Director of Finance, as well as Ishmael Pensah, a former Chief Accountant who no longer works with the EC, as the suspects who were investigated by the EOCO.
The title of the docket which reads, ‘The Republic vrs Samuel Yorke Aidoo and Ishmael Pensah,’ captures Mrs. Osei as the officer who had filed the complaint before the EOCO.
DAILY GUIDE is insisting that there are ‘unseen’ hands behind the prevention of the affected officers from going back to work.
When Mrs. Opoku Amankwaah decided to defy the EC and the EOCO to resume work last week, it was the EOCO boss who commandeered a police/military team to remove the deputy chairperson from office.
Recently, the deputy EC boss, frustrated by alleged manipulation of the EOCO investigation, defied the ‘stay at home’ order to return to work only for the anti-graft body to chase her out, even though no adverse findings had been made against her.
Mrs Charlotte Osei is said to have registered her displeasure for calling the affected people back because she doesn’t want to work with them.
Ms Opoku-Amankwaah said she was tired of the embarrassment visited on her by her continued interdiction and decided to resume work, saying that under the law it is only the President of the Republic who can send her packing.
However, the EOCO officers said they were still investigating the alleged misappropriation of the EC’s Endowment Fund, even though the three officers were not the focus of the investigation.
The EC chairperson is said to have indicated that she was not ready to work with any of her deputies as well as the Finance Director.
Interestingly, Mrs. Osei, together with her two deputies – Georgina Opoku Amankwaah and Alhaji Amadu Sulley, in-charge of Operations – are being investigated by a five-member committee set up by the Chief Justice, following petitions filed against them on allegations of abuse of office and conflict of interest under Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution.
Despite the damning allegations, the EC boss is still at post.