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General News of Wednesday, 26 July 2017


EC rot: I will sue if you don't revoke my leave order – Accountant writes to EC boss

The Director of Finance at the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana, Dr. Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, who is currently on leave pending the outcome of an investigations into the Commission’s Staff Endowment Fund, has written to the Chairperson of the electoral management body, Charlotte Osei, demanding for his immediate recall to post.

Failure to comply with his demand, he noted, will leave him with no option than to initiate legal proceedings against Charlotte Osei.

“We are accordingly instructed to demand, which we hereby do, that you recall our client from the imposed leave to enable him continue his normal work as Director of Finance of the Commission. Should you fail to do so, we would be compelled to initiate legal proceedings against you to protect our client against any form of victimization and injustice”, A letter written on his (Dr. Joseph Kwaku Asamoah) behalf by his counsel, Lawyer Akoto Ampaw of Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co law firm, dated July 13, 2017, a copy which has been intercepted by, in part stated.

On July 5, 2017, Charlotte Osei directed Dr. Asamoah to proceed on leave in order to ensure the ‘integrity of investigations’ into the ‘misapplication/loss of GH?480,000.00 from the Staff Endowment Fund of the EC.

The said directive was triggered by a letter of the Executive Director of the Economic & Organized Crime Office (EOCO), dated July 4, 2017, requesting Charlotte Osei to direct Dr. Asamoah and two others, who are all alleged to be suspects in the investigations, to proceed on leave.

However, Mr. Ampaw sees Charlotte Osei’s directive to Dr. Asamoah, as quite puzzling and untenable and without any due process foundations, noting that the alleged misapplication/loss of the Staff Endowment Fund happened at the time his client was not even in office.

“First, our instructions are that you received a letter, dated 27th June 2017, from EOCO’s acting Deputy Executive, Operations, one Nana Antwi, requesting your good self to release our client to report at EOCO’s head office on 28th June 2017, to assist in providing information and relevant documents related to the subject of investigations.

Our further instructions are that our client made himself available as requested for and provided all relevant information on the subject of investigations.

Our client demonstrated at the interview/interrogation that he had absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter of the investigations as he was not at post at the time funds from the Staff Endowment Fund were misapplied. It is therefore shocking that the EOCO’s should subsequently request you to direct the same person who had nothing to do with the withdrawals under investigation to proceed on leave. This is no doubt procedural though significant.

At the heart of our letter of protest is the fact that all the facts in this matter demonstrate without an iota of doubt that our client was not at post and had nothing whatsoever to do with the subject of investigations when the loss/misapplication of GH?480,000.00 of the EC Staff Endowment Fund occurred,” the letter in part further stated.

Available records on the Commission’s internal audit on the Staff Endowment Fund sighted by indicate that withdrawals were made between March 14, 2017 and October 14, 2017, whereas Dr. Joseph Asamoah took office as Director of Finance of the Commission on October 2, 2017.

The Controller and Accountant General’s office then wrote to the Director, Banking Department, Bank of Ghana on 7th October, 2014, with specimen signature of Dr. Asamoah notifying the Bank that Dr. Asamoah had been authorized to operate seven of the EC’s accounts with the Bank of Ghana.

“Significantly, the first EC cheque our client signed on the DEP Main Account which houses deductions from the Controller and Accountant-General for onward transmission to the staff Endowment Fund Account was on 21st November 2014 namely cheque number 082072 supported by PV No. 741 in the sum of GH?60,692.47. What is more, there has not been any further failure to pay into the Endowment Fund since our client started writing cheques as Director Finance of the Commission.”

“Further and crucially, the letter of the immediate past Director of Finance, Samuel York Aidoo, dated 18th February, 2016, admits without any equivocation, that there was a matter known to all authorities involved in financial administration at the Commission at the material time when the Commission was embroiled in severe financial crisis, threatening to bring all activities at the Commission to a halt. This was apparently as a result of the failure of the Finance Ministry to release Funds for the operations of the Commission.”

“In the circumstances and based on the incontestable facts of the matter, to write to our client directing him to proceed on leave in order to “ensure the integrity of investigations, in with respect, without any foundation whatsoever, is unfair and does great injustice to him.

It would appear that the only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn from the contents of your letter is that our client is being a helpless victim of other struggles, which have nothing to do with him. This is most unfair.

Our client, Dr. Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, has absolutely nothing to do with this matter and should not be made a scapegoat of any board room struggles engulfing the Commission,” noted Mr. Ampaw in his 4-page letter to Charlotte Osei.