General News of Saturday, 30 June 2018
The Committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate allegations of corruption against three officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) has asked the immediate past Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Operations at the EC, Amadu Sulley, to refund some GHC320, 822 which went missing under his watch.
The Committee has also recommended that the Chief Accountant at the EC, Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, be made to pay the Commission an amount of GHC360,000 which he claimed was still in his custody for safe keeping.
“The Committee held that at least an amount of GHC320,822 remained unaccounted for the consumables used for the primaries of the political parties in 2015, and that up to date, the remaining GHC360,000 has still not been paid into the EC’s account created in 2015 for that purpose, which they allege is still with the Chief Accountant for ‘safe keeping’,” the committee’s report which recommended the EC Chair and her two deputies’ removal said.
The report said Mr. Owusu Agyei Larbi will be “charged with the offence of stealing if he fails to make the payment.”
What the report said about Charlotte Osei
Parts of the report sighted by Citi News indicates that the committee investigated six separate allegations of various procurement breaches by Charlotte Osei.
“All the six allegations leveled against Madam Charlotte Osei for which a prima facie case was established by the Honourable Chief Justice, relates to breaches to the Public Procurement Act, Act 663, as amended by the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, Act 914” the committee’s report stated.
For all the six allegations, the committee found her culpable and said her explanation that she was not aware that she needed to go through procurement for some of the contracts because the monies involved were from donor partners, is untenable.
The report has been submitted to the AG who is expected to take a decision on it.
Illegal vote transfers
The Committee’s report also highlighted corrupt deals recorded under Amadu Sulley’s watch, including what was described as illegal vote transfers.
“The other allegation that the Committee investigated was that the Deputy Chairperson in charge of Operations had persistently instructed officials to carry out illegal vote transfers on the Voter Management System in clear breach of the law and operational policies of the Commission.
“Documentary evidence, was produced by the representative of STL, the contractor in charge of the EC electoral register database. Chairperson Charlotte Osei also gave evidence against Amadu Sulley, saying that when she heard that STL was effecting transfer of voters from the Voter Management System, illegally, she received email evidence from STL of voter transfers done through the VMS by STL between 1st January, 2014, and 3rd and 4th September, 2015 to date.”
Back in December 2017, the EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei and her two Deputies, Amadu Sulley (in charge of Operations) and Georgina Amankwa (in charge of Corporate Services) met with the Chief Justice over a petition filed against EC.
A five-member committee was subsequently set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the alleged corruption.
Some staff of the EC petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo in July 2017, to remove Mrs. Osei from office over allegations of fraud and financial malfeasance as well as abuse of office.
Some of the allegations involved the single award of contracts by the EC boss in the run-up to the 2016 general election.
The petition against her alleged among others the funneling of GHc3.9 million to partition an office, the receipt of a Toyota Land Cruiser from the Mahama government and the use of about $14 million when the Public Procurement Authority had authorized her to use only $7.5 million.
Mrs. Osei also responded by making allegations of corruption against her deputies.
She claimed her detractors were hounding her because she sought to introduce systems to curb mismanagement.
Charlotte Osei accused a deputy Chairperson of the Commission of illegally signing contracts worth over GHC40 million without her approval.
Another individual, by name Douglas Seidu, also petitioned the President in August 2017 seeking the removal of the EC Chair, on the grounds of “financial misconduct, incompetence, conflict of interest and breaches of the public procurement processes.
President Akufo-Addo in accordance with the constitution forwarded both petitions to the Chief Justice to look into the matter, which culminated in their removals.