General News of Monday, 30 January 2017
The Executive Director of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Justice Tsar Yao, has been relieved of his post by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with immediate effect.
The decision to remove him from office was communicated to him last Friday from the presidency.
Just before the general election in December, the EOCO boss’ contract was extended by one year by then President John Dramani Mahama after the former had turned 60.
Some staff have accused Mr. Tsar, who until his elevation as EOCO boss was a Deputy Executive Director of the organization, of running a ‘one-man’ show.
He was appointed acting Executive Director in June last year to replace Biadela Kweku Mortey Akpadzi – who was also on contract.
Mr. Tsar did not quickly appoint the two deputies as mandated by law after assuming office but reportedly replaced them with a body called Rapid Response Unit (RRU).
Any investigator who frowned on the activities of the RRU was allegedly transferred from Accra to one of the regions.
Officers at the unit are the ones said to be handling all the so-called old cases investigated by EOCO.
EOCO hit the headlines recently when it turned out that it did not conduct any ‘proper’ interrogation of embattled immediate-past COCOBOD Chief Executive, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni.
Dr. Opuni had reportedly been to the premises of the investigative body on two occasions since last week but EOCO did not conduct any ‘serious’ investigation into his alleged role in the malfeasance in the cocoa sector.
A source had told DAILY GUIDE that the dismissed COCOBOD boss was at EOCO head office in the Old Parliament House, between 1:30 pm and 2pm and had a ‘hearty’ chat with the dismissed Executive Director, Justice Tsar.
Another source had hinted that the invitation extended to Dr Opuni was at the instance of the EOCO boss and not a directive from any official in the new government.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that the invitation had been pending for about a year after some workers accused Dr Opuni of corruption, but because the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was in power, he refused to honour it (invitation).
There had been some wild speculations that the former COCOBOD boss most likely ‘honoured’ the invitation in order to be ‘coached’ by some elements within the investigative body.
According to a source, the usual procedures to be followed in the investigation were never followed, explaining that, “When somebody is invited for questioning there are certain things that are supposed to be done. He walked straight to the Executive Director’s office and they were in a hearty chat.”
Explaining how people are interrogated at EOCO, the source said for instance, “The person’s name is supposed to be logged in and the interrogation room is booked followed by the setting up of both the video and audio recordings; but all these things were not done in Dr. Opuni’s case.
“He just went straight up to the Executive Director’s office and had a hearty chat and then left. There was nothing to show that the man was under interrogation.
“If proper procedures were followed then the EOCO should come out to tell the public which of the rooms was used for the interrogation. It should produce evidence of the so-called grilling.”