Officers of the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), led by its Executive Director, ACP K.K. Amoah (Rtd), together with five armed policemen, yesterday stormed the offices of the Electoral Commission (EC) in Accra, to chase out the Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Corporate Services, Georgina Opoku-Amankwaah, from her office.
This was after the embattled deputy chairperson, who is on interdiction on the orders of the EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, defied the anti-graft investigative body and decided to resume work on the instructions of her lawyers.
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 who can send her packing.
However, the EOCO officers said they were still investigating the alleged misappropriation of the EC’s Endowment Funds and so it was not appropriate for Ms. Opoku Amankwaah to be at post.
In July last year, Ms. Opoku-Amankwaah, together with two EC officials – Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, Chief Accountant and Dr Joseph Asamoah, Finance Director – were asked to proceed on leave over a missing GH¢480,000 from the Staff Endowment Fund, after Ms Charlotte Osei had asked EOCO to investigate the matter.
Sources said no adverse findings were made by EOCO, but DAILY GUIDE learnt that the EC chairperson is allegedly manipulating the anti-graft body, making it difficult for it (EOCO) to come out with its report.
Ms Osei is said to have indicated that she was not ready to work with any of her deputies as well as the finance director, who is equally on leave on the orders of EOCO.
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.
Even despite the damning allegations, the EC boss is still at post.
Mrs. Charlotte Osei and Amadu Sulley are still at post and have not been asked to step aside for the investigations to commence.
Ms. Opoku Amankwaah had served notice last week of her resolve to return to work and reported to work around 11am yesterday. According to her, barely one hour after she had entered her office, three officials from EOCO came telling her that the Executive Director of the office had asked them to invite her over to the head office.
According to her, she had told the three officials that she had another scheduled meeting during the day and so she could not homour Mr Amoah’s invitation.
Narrating to the media during a press conference what transpired when she reported to work, the embattled deputy chairperson explained that she was later told that if she could not meet Mr. Amoah yesterday, then she could do that on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.
But again, she told them that she was going to meet the Chief Justice’s Committee on the EC’s scandals on that date and so it was impossible for her to meet him.
“So it was agreed between my lawyer and me and the EOCO Executive Director that we meet on Monday,” she said.
As she was addressing the media, the Executive Director of EOCO stormed her office in the company of five heavily armed policemen from the Rapid Response Unit of the Ghana Police Service, disrupting the press conference.
Mr. Amoah refused to speak to the media on his mission to the place, and retorted when journalists asked him to comment on the matter, “Talk to her; she’s the one doing press conference, not me!”
Mr. Amoah and the police officers stood in the office for a couple of minutes, not making any comment, and were later approached by lawyer Adu Poku – who was representing Madam Opoku Amankwaah – and the two parties started a closed-door meeting around 4:20 pm until a few minutes to 5pm.
After the meeting, the lawyer briefed the media on what transpired, saying that they came to an agreement and that EOCO had asked them to give it 14 days to provide the embattled deputy chair with the report of the investigation.
Within the 14-days, Madam Opoku Amankwaah, the lawyer said, had agreed to stay on leave but gave the assurance that after the period she would definitely return to work whether or not the report had been fetched.
“Since 10th July I have been at home pending investigations like they said. And then, last week, my lawyer wrote (to EOCO); my lawyer wrote last week that I will come back to work because the matter that they were investigating, that same matter has come under investigation before the Chief Justice Committee. The one at EOCO should be automatically terminated and therefore I should come to work,” Madam Opoku Amankwaah told the media.
She said the Executive Director of EOCO wrote to her last week.
“By his letter he (K.K. Amoah), didn’t say I should come oo, but he indicated that my lawyer will do me good service if he asks me to be patient. So my lawyer said no, we are still coming because now it is only the president who is clothed with that authority to write to me to go home.
“Before that, when the chairperson wrote to me to stay back, my lawyer and myself, we said we were not complying because by my appointment, it is not the chairperson who should write to me to go on leave, it is the president, the appointing authority.”
Before that, she said, her lawyer had written to K.K. Amoah, who reportedly indicated that he had concluded his investigations and forwarded the case to the Attorney General.
According to her, once the matter was now before the CJ’s committee, EOCO no longer has jurisdiction over it and that it was unconstitutional for it to continue investigating it and asking her to remain on leave.
“The matter before the CJ’s committee is a matter affecting all the three executive commissioners so what myself and my lawyer are saying is that, it is the president, who is clothed with that authority to ask us to go home. So if the president writes to us to go home, why not?” she averred.
“I feel singled out. I feel I have not been treated fairly by the EOCO. I have not been treated fairly at all,” Ms Opoku-Amankwaah declared.
By Melvin Tarlue