One of the Deputy Chairpersons of the Electoral Commission (EC) currently embroiled in the scandal that has hit the commission is chasing the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) for causing her interdiction over matters relating to the commission’s Staff Endowment Fund.
Georgina Opoku Amakwaa, who is the Deputy EC chairperson in-charge of Corporate Services, is currently on indefinite leave allegedly on the instructions of the chairperson of the commission, Charlotte Osei – who herself is being probed by the Chief Justice for alleged abuse of office.
The deputy EC boss is threatening to take legal action against EOCO if the investigative body fails to respond to her queries about the status of its investigations.
Asante-Krobea Sekyere and Associates, lawyers of Ms Opoku-Amankwa, in a letter dated October 3, 2017 and addressed to EOCO, copied to the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, stated that “we are giving notice of our intention to go to court against your office, a copy of which has been forwarded to the Attorney-General, whom you claim you have submitted your report on the investigation to.”
According to the lawyers, numerous letters written to EOCO to furnish them with the progress of investigations against their client by the chairperson of the EC had been ignored without any receipts.
EOCO is investigating some officials of the EC over the loss of GH¢480,000 from the commission’s workers’ Endowment Fund.
Ms Opoku-Amakwaa said she caused her lawyers to write to the EOCO on three different occasions but the anti-graft body had refused to respond to any of the correspondences.
In a letter of October 3 to EOCO, a copy of which is in our possession, Ms Opoku-Amakwaa’s lawyers averred, “It is regrettable that even though all the previous letters were delivered to your office by our client personally, you have not seen the need to treat our letters with the requisite courtesy of even acknowledgement, let alone a reply to same.
“In our last letter to you dated 28th August, 2017, we requested to know the status of your investigation into the allegation made against our client by the chairperson of the EC.” In that same letter, we registered our displeasure towards the way and manner the office has dealt with our client.”
According to the lawyers, they had already indicated Ms Opoku-Amankwaa’s “unhappiness with the instruction issued by the chairperson of the EC to write to our client to proceed on leave on an allegation made by the same chairperson on a matter that bordered on the Staff Endowment Fund.”
The lawyers said they did not understand why Ms Charlotte Osei, against whom some allegations had also been leveled by some staff of the commission and which are before the EOCO for investigation, had not been asked to proceed on leave but the investigative body could cause Ms Opoku-Amankwaa to proceed on leave.
“Since your office has decided not to respond to our letters we have no other option but to proceed to court to seek redress for our client and to get your office to submit to us the status of your investigation into the allegation against our client, particularly as your action is keeping our client out of office indefinitely,” Mrs Opoku Amankwaa’s lawyers warned. In July, Mrs. Opoku-Amankwaa, together with two EC officials – Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, Chief Accountant and Joseph Asamaoh, a Finance Officer – were asked to proceed on leave over a missing GH¢480,000 from the Staff Endowment Fund for the commission’s workers.
A letter from the EOCO, which was signed by ACP K.K. Amoah (rtd.), Acting Executive Director, said it had taken over the case, explaining, “The suspects are assisting in investigations.”
In the letter, dated July 4, 2017, and addressed to the chairperson of the commission, EOCO had said it was investigating “the loss of about GH¢480,000 from the Endowment Fund at the Electoral Commission.
“The office would be grateful if you would direct the officers listed above to proceed on leave whilst investigation proceeds.”
Pursuant to the EOCO letter, Madam Charlotte Osei wrote to Mrs Opoku-Amankwaa asking her to proceed on leave ‘immediately‘ and directed her to “kindly forward any pending issues to the Office of the Chairperson.”
By William Yaw Owusu