The Electoral Commission (EC) boss is hinting at a possible symbiotic relationship between the petition seeking her impeachment and her embattled deputy, Georgina Opoku Amankwaah.
Charlotte Osei said the lawyer representing the so-called ‘Concerned Staff’ of the EC, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang had “previously introduced” himself as counsel for the interdicted deputy Commissioner in charge of Corporate Services.
“Whilst he [counsel] claims to act on behalf of ‘Concerned Staff’ of the Commission, he has not made clear who those ‘staff’ indeed are,” the EC boss said in a 17-page response to the petition that has been served the President.
Counsel for petitioners, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang
With the names of the petitioners remaining unknown for the past days, Mrs Osei has given a pointer her aggrieved deputy might be behind plot to have her dismissed.
The EC boss and Mrs Opoku Amankwaah have a reported frosty relationship since her appointment as the head of the electoral body by former President John Mahama in June, 2015.
Tensions have been simmering between them until it exploded when the deputy was interdicted by anti-graft agency, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) over some missing money.
EC boss, Charlotte Osei
Mrs Opoku Amankwaah and EC’s Chief Accountant Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi were asked to proceed on leave for not being able to account for the sum of ¢480,000 from the Commission’s Endowment Fund.
Although he described the tension at the EC as “dangerous,” the Akuapim South MP, OB Amoah said the EC boss should be blamed for moves to have her impeached.
The deputy Local Government Minister said Mrs Osei erred when she reported Mrs Opoku Amankwaah and the Accountant to EOCO.
Akuapim South MP, OB Amoah
She was also behind the interdiction of the two, the lawmaker revealed on Joy FM/MultiTV’s Newsfile Saturday.
“For the Chair herself, if you open up [the Commission to EOCO] like this, then you can be asked to go on leave…assuming if these allegations were not sent to the President,” he added.
In her response that many have said will cause an irreparable damage to the EC, Mrs Osei claimed “there is ample evidence of extreme arrogance, ineptitude and blatant breaches of the law by the deputy Chairpersons.”
Below are some of the claims she made to severe a possible comeback for Mrs Opoku Amankwaah;
(a) The Deputy Chairperson CS has signed contracts worth over GHS40m without the 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.
(b) In June 2017, the annual leave of Deputy Chairperson Operations was approved by the Deputy Chairperson CS without recourse to the Chairperson and signed on behalf of Chairperson by Deputy Chairperson CS while she herself was on leave. This is clearly symptomatic of 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.
(c) The Deputy Chairperson 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.
(d) While on leave in June 2017, the Deputy Chairperson without authorization and notice to the Chairperson, approved 2015 financial statements of the Commission, an increase in the amount for fuel coupons (beyond budgeted levels) and without prior knowledge and authorization 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.
(e) The poor financial management systems within the Commission are systemic. In some cases, Commission funds are paid into personal accounts of staff members at the regional offices.
(f) A surreptitious attempt was made to remove the Chairperson of the Commission from the GIFMIS platform to enable payments to continue to be made on the blind side of the Chairperson.