General News of Friday, 28 July 2017
Georgina Opoku-Amankwah, one of the deputy commissioners of the Electoral Commission (EC), has broken her silence in the ongoing corruption allegations that have beset the commission.
According to her, the Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, has peddled falsehood in the alleged corruption scandal and abuse of office that have hit the top hierarchy of the election organizing body.
Mrs. Opoku-Amankwah, who is the Deputy Ccommissioner in-charge of Corporate Service, said Mrs Charlotte Osei told a pack of lies in her response to the petition that has been filed by some EC staff calling for her (Madam Osei’s) impeachment.
The petition for the impeachment has since been sent to the Chief Justice for action by President Akufo-Addo in line with constitutional requirements.
The EC boss, apart from claiming that her deputies deliberately worked to frustrate her stay in office as the chairperson, also openly accused Mrs. Opoku-Amankwah of signing contracts worth over $40m without her knowledge and authorization between July and September 2015.
However, in a 25-point response to the EC Chairperson’s claims sent to the Economic and Organised Crime Office in what appears to be a never-ending scandal that has engulfed the commission, Mrs. Opoku-Amankwah said, “The Chairperson’s claim that there was a deliberate strategy to frustrate her work and tenure is palpably false and a figment of her own imagination.”
The Deputy Commissioner appeared to suggest that it was rather Mrs. Osei who was the problem at the commission and not her or Amadu Sulley – Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Operations – whom Mrs. Osei has also accused of engaging in fraudulent deals and other illegalities.
“The claim by the Chairperson that she was never given an office is false. An allegation like this gives the impression that the commission was created after the Chairperson was appointed,” Ms Opoku-Amankwah averred.
She said the EC boss was given a befitting office used by her predecessor, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, in the commission’s headquarters in Accra adding, “Strangely, she refused to take up the office, claiming that she had a security audit conducted by a security detail from the office of the president and indicated that the office was not fit and safe for her occupation. Rather, she disorganized the whole Human Resource Directorate by choosing the director’s office as a place of her preference.
“She accordingly instructed the then Director of Human Resources, who was occupying that office, to vacate the office for her use. She thereafter contracted her own artisans to do a complete makeover fitting with a shower cubicle and other facilities, thereby rendering our artisans redundant. She also changed the fittings and furniture in the office,” the deputy commissioner said.
Ms Opoku-Amankwah said that every effort to get the Chairperson to embark on a familiarization tour of EC offices in the country failed because Mrs. Osei expressed security concerns and insisted that since her (EC boss’) assumption of office, she had never visited any of the regional or district offices of the commission.
She said when they proposed to renovate the Charlotte’s official residence for her after Dr. Afari-Gyan had packed out, she rejected the proposal and Ms Opoku-Amankwah noted, “This suggestion estranged her relationship with the former Human Resource Director.”
NCCE Accommodation & V8
“For reasons best known to herself, she continued to live in the accommodation provided by the NCCE, claiming that the official residence is not fit for her status. Mrs. Osei had also declared that the official V8 Land Cruiser vehicle bought in 2014 – just a year before she assumed office – and had been used by Dr. Afari-Gyan, was not fit for her status and arranged for a 2015 model from the presidency and kept Dr. Afari-Gyan’s vehicle for her household use.
Ms. Opoku-Amankwa described as spurious, allegation by Charlotte Osei that she had met a bloated budget of GH¢1.7 billion, saying it “exposes her lack of understanding by the budget drivers of an election year budget.”
She continued, “I wish to state that there was no occasion that the Chairperson called the deputies to a meeting in connection with the budget that they refused. This strenuous attempt to accuse the deputies in the budget iteration exercise is not only unfortunate but also undeserving of an institution.”
She said on the two contracts worth $41 million to an IT firm, the commission had unanimously approved the deal before Mrs. Osei assumed office but was rather unilaterally abrogated by the Chairperson. “As at the time of writing, neither deputies knew the outcome of the abrogation as she dealt directly with the vendor,” Madam Opoku-Amankwah disclosed.
She said she never unilaterally promoted directors but that had been done in collaboration with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the Ministry of Finance before Mrs. Osei took over.
Mrs. Opoku-Amankwah said all contract documents were in case files at the commission and could not have refused to hand them over as claimed by Mrs. Osei.
“Her managerial deficiencies, coupled with her poor human relations and lack of appreciation for team work, is too manifest to escape public judgement,” according to the Deputy Director in-charge of Corporate Services.
She claimed that the allegation of staff fuel coupon rate having been increased is bogus because Mrs. Osei had been the greatest beneficiary and added that there had not been any financial year that the Chairperson was precluded from budget discussion.
She said before Mrs. Osei took over, management meetings were called every Monday, Wednesday and Friday but she stopped the practice and decided to allow meetings at her ‘whims,’ adding, “She resorted to using some members of the commission in performing the duties of the deputies.”
Mrs. Opoku-Amankwah described as “frivolous, useless….the allegations leveled against her and asked that they be treated with contempt.