Three top officers of the Electoral Commission (EC) who were suspended by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) on the instructions of sacked EC Boss, Charlotte Osei have been asked to return to work.
In July 2017, Georgina Opoku Amankwah, a deputy Commissioner in charge of Corporate Services together with two senior EC officials: Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, Chief Accountant and Dr Joseph K. Asamoah, Finance Director were asked to proceed on leave over a missing GH¢480,000 in the Staff Endowment Fund for the commission’s workers.
Unfortunately for Georgina Opoku Amankwah, she is not returning to the commission because President Akufo-Addo, acting on the recommendations of the Committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate complaints against three EC bosses comprising the Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, Alhaji Amadu Sulley, in-charge of Operations and Mrs Georgina Opoku-Amankwah, which found them guilty of ‘stated misbehaviour’ and ‘incompetence,’ had removed them from office.
A letter from EOCO signed by its Acting Executive Director, ACP K.K. Amoah (Rtd) to the EC Director of Human Resource said “you may recall that on 5/07/2017, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission on the advice of this office directed three officers listed below to proceed on leave as a result of an investigation into the missing money for the Endowment Fund.”
“They were Ms. Georgina Opoku Amakwah, Deputy Chairperson, F/A; Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, Chief Accountant and Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, Director of Finance.”
The EOCO letter said “on June 14, 2018, the Governing Board of EOCO directed that the commission be notified to allow the officers to resume work from the leave as the investigation is completed,” adding “you are therefore being directed to instruct the officers to resume work.”
Later on July 9, the EOCO wrote another letter to the HR Department of EC asking the commission to instruct Mr. Agyei-Larbi and Dr. Asamoah, to be reinstated and said the instant letter superseded the previous one.
Until Mrs. Opoku Amankwah’s removal from office, her lawyers, Asante-Krobea Sekyere and Associates, were having a tug of war with EOCO over the delay in reinstating her.
She even threatened to take legal action against EOCO if the investigative body failed to respond to her queries about the status of their investigations.
The Finance Director also threatened court action through his lawyer, Akoto Ampaw, if he was not reinstated because he complained that he was being victimized by the commission for no reason.
In the heat of the argument in July last year,
EOCO issued a letter saying it had taken over the case explaining that “the suspects are assisting investigations.”
EOCO in the letter dated July 4, 2017, addressed to the Chairperson of the commission 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,” the EOCO letter directed at Charlotte Osei said.
Pursuant to the EOCO letter, then EC boss, Charlotte Osei had written to Mrs. Opoku Amankwah and the two others asking them to proceed on leave ‘immediately ‘and directed Mrs. Opoku Amankwah to “kindly forward any pending issues to the office of the Chairperson.”
By William Yaw Owusu