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General News of Monday, 15 January 2018


Showdown at EC as Deputy Commissioner battles EOCO

The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana, Monday, Monday afternoon became the center of attraction as some Police personnel with AK 47 assault rifles led by the Acting Executive Director of the Economic and Organised Crime Office, ACP K. K. Amoah (Rtd) stormed the offices of the Commission to battle the deputy EC boss, Georgina Opoku Amankwaah.

Madam Opoku Amankwaah had stormed her office to resume work as earlier communicated to the EOCO through her lawyers and published by last week.

She had been on forced leave since July 2017 at the instance of the investigative agency.

Her resumption in office was against an advice from the investigative body urging her to follow due process since their investigations into the Staff Endowment Fund of the election management body has not been concluded.

Madam Georgina Opoku Amankwaah strongly believes that she has not been treated fairly at all by the EOCO ever since the issue of the Commission’s Staff Endowment Fund broke out.

In July 2017, the EOCO letter addressed to the Chairperson of the EC, Charlotte Osei, demanded that the Madam Georgina Opoku Amankwaah, the Chief Accountant, Mr. Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi and the Director of Finance, Dr. Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, be made to proceed on leave to pave way for investigations into the loss of about GH?480,000 from the Staff Endowment Fund at the Commission.

The directive by the investigative agency was complied with, forcing the deputy EC Chair and the two others to proceed on leave.

But seven months down the line, the investigation by the EOCO has not been completed, provoking lawyers for Madam Georgina Opoku Amankwaah, to write to the EOCO informing them that they have advised their client to resume work immediately.

This was in spite of the forced leave slapped on the deputy EC boss by the security agency.

The lawyers led by K. A. Asante Krobea insisted that with the setting up of the Chief Justice’s Committee following the petition to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the ECOCO has no basis to insist that the deputy EC Chairperson should still stay at home.

The lawyers in their letter dated January 2, 2018, and ‘Endowment Fund Investigation Resumption of Official Duty Our Client: Georgina Opoku Amankwaah (Ms), a copy which has been sighted by, contend that once the President of the land has not suspended the deputy EC Chairperson under Article 146 (10) of the 1992 Constitution, it was proper and fair for her to resume work.

The Chief of Staff, Chief Justice, Attorney-General, Senior Minister and Chairman of the Council of State were all served copies of the letter addressed to the EOCO.

Article 146 (10) of the 1992 Constitution states that “Where a petition has been referred to a committee under this article, the President may –

*in the case of the Chief Justice, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, by warrant signed by him, suspend the Chief Justice,

*in the case of any other Justice of a Superior court or of any Chairman of a Regional Tribunal, acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial Council, suspend that Justice or that Chairman of a Regional Tribunal.

Ms. Georgina Opoku Amankwaah per the position she is occupying has the same terms and conditions of service as are applicable to an Appeals Court Judge, according to the 1992 Constitution.

The lawyers, therefore, advised the deputy EC Chairperson to immediately resume work and dared anybody to stop her from working.

But the ECOCO insisted that investigations were still ongoing and that Ms. Opoku Amankwaah’s forced to leave should continue until the Attorney-General responds to the report that they have submitted to her office.

In a response letter dated January 8, 2018, and signed by the Acting Executive Director, ACP K. K. Amoah (Rtd), the EOCO advised Ms. Opoku Amankwaah to exercise restraint and follow due process.

“Investigation is said to be complete when an advice is received from the Attorney-General’s Department. Your client and others are not on leave because of the petition before Her Ladyship, the Chief Justice. You will do your client good service if you patiently wait for the advice from the Attorney-General’s Office. Let’s follow due process”, the response letter from the EOCO in part read.