General News of Saturday, 22 July 2017
The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission is on a war path against three of her six deputies, accusing them of administrative incompetence and blatant breaches of various parts of the constitution.
Charlotte Osei in a response to a petition brought against her by some unnamed EC workers, accused her deputy in charge of Finance and Administration of signing contracts worth more than ¢40 million without authorisation.
She also said deputy commissioner in charge of Operations, Amadu Sulley bagged some ¢6 million from political parties without the knowledge of the finance department of the Commission. He was said to be using party primaries as a “private commercial project”.
Deputy Chair Finance and Administration was accused of supervising a finance department which consistently flouts financial regulations. Mrs Osei branded the deputy as an incompetent leader who has disregard for the law. The EC boss vowed to trigger investigations into the conduct of the three, one of whom is already a subject of EOCO investigations.
The three deputies are the latest to be roped into controversy as deep divisions at the commission escalate into a full media battle.
The commission is split four-two against the EC chair, Myjoyonline has gathered.
While ‘pointing a gun’ at the three, some staff have also pointed a gun at the EC chair listing 27 allegations against her.
Allegations raised in the petition range from questions about her managerial competence, political neutrality and what the staff say are breaches of contracts and the public procurement act. Spoiling for a fight since the petition became public, the EC chair said last Friday she is ready with a prepared response to EOCO and the Chief Justice.
But in what is already beginning to look like a media trial, Charlotte Osei has thrown in her response after the petitioners also threw their petition into the public domain.
EC boss debunks allegations levelled against her by unfazed staff by GhanaWeb on Scribd
The chairperson crowned a bullet-by-bullet response to the petition by including fresh allegations against the three other deputies.
Read portions of response relating to deputy chairpersons.
Deputy Chair, Corporate Services
In June 2017, the annual leave of Deputy Chair Operations was approved by the Deputy Chair CS without recourse to the Chairperson and signed on behalf of Chairperson by Deputy Chair CS while she herself was on leave. This is poor knowledge of corporate governance and managerial ineptitude. Indeed, the Deputy Chairperson CS has arrogated to herself the powers of the Chairperson, convening commission meetings and taking other ultra vires decisions in clear breach of the Law.
The Deputy Chair CS went on an unauthorised leave from May 19 – June 19 2017 without notice to the Chairperson and without prior approval. A sick leave note was subsequently submitted to the Director of HR.
While on leave in June 2017, the deputy Chairperson without authorization and notice to the Chairperson, approved 2015 financial statements of the Commission, increased in the amount for fuel coupons beyond budgeted levels and without prior knowledge of the Chairperson or the Commission. Clearly, there is ample evidence of poor knowledge of corporate governance, rules of public service financial management and general incompetence.
Under the supervision of the Deputy Chair CS, staff in the finance department have flouted many financial regulations, amended bank mandates, and made many unauthorized payments beyond their approval levels and without the knowledge of the Chairperson. Again, supporting documents would be submitted to the appropriate agencies for further investigation. The poor financial management systems within the Commission are systemic. In some cases, Commission funds are paid into personal accounts of staff members in the region.
The Deputy Chairperson, Finance and Administration
The Deputy Chairperson F/A has signed contracts worth over GHS40m without knowledge and authorization of the Chairperson between July-September 2015. Payments were also made on these contracts in excess of her approval limits and again, without the knowledge and authorization of the Chairperson. This is illegal, criminal and a breach of the policies of the Commission and the laws of Ghana. The supporting documents would be submitted to the relevant investigative agencies for their further action.
Deputy Chair, Operations
The Deputy Chair Ops has persistently effected illegal vote transfers from his office on the Voter management System in clear breach of the law and operational policies of the Commission. Such actions have major implications for the integrity of the work of the Commission and constitute abuse of office.
The Deputy Chair Operations collected above funds GHS 6m (Six million Ghana cedis) in cash from political parties for the organization of party primaries without recourse to the structures of the Commission, without the involvement of the finance department of the Commission. Political party primaries were treated as a private commercial project by the Deputy Chair Ops, with funds paid directly into the personal accounts of key staff for functions to be performed for party primaries.
An internal audit report highlighting widespread malfeasance in the conduct of party primaries under the supervision of the Deputy Chair Operations is attached and marked CO28. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.