The Head of Programs at the Center for Democratic Governance (CDD), Kojo Asante, believes a full-scale investigation of the Electoral Commission’s activities is in order to unravel the allegations of financial malfeasance being thrown about by key players within the commission.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Asante explained that, a more comprehensive probe could be realized if President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was petitioned by some staff of the EC, expands the remit of the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).
[contextly_sidebar id=”s0LPxCdCinE3Pemypso5opDO7VuWQrzm”]EOCO’s mandate allows it to monitor and investigate economic and organised crimes involving serious financial or economic loss to the state, and on the authority of the Attorney General, prosecute these offences.
“This petition was to trigger the removal of Mrs. Charlotte Osei, but I think the President, having received the response [from Charlotte Osei], should basically expand the remit of EOCO to go substantially into all the matters and allegations that have been raised to establish for a fact what exactly has happened; whether abuses of power have happened, whether financial mismanagement has happened, whether allegations of corruption can be established prima facie. Based on this, the president can make some recommendations on whether he is going to move the process forward or not.”
Some organisations have proposed the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms to mediate the problems at the EC and ensure a truce. But Mr. Asante noted that, the hierarchy of the EC was now implicated and tainted by the allegations of corruption and financial malfeasance thus any intervention in the EC’s affairs must be angled towards unraveling the truth.
“The way it is, if you don’t isolate the allegations of criminality and so on and just move quickly to calm things down and let everything get along, you would really miss the opportunity of trying to resolve what appears to be serious challenges with corporate governance at the EC… It would also afford the individuals the opportunity to “fully exonerate themselves in one way or the other because their reputations are also on the line.”
Prior to the petition from the employees, EOCO, had been interrogating the EC’s Director of Finance, and two other officials over their alleged involvement in the loss of GHc480,000 from the Commission’s Staff Endowment Fund.
Official communication between the EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, and Dr. Asamaoh, later indicated that he was indeed not at post when the money went missing from the Commission’s Staff Endowment Fund.
The EC tensions came to the fore after some employees of commission petitioned President Akufo-Addo to dismiss Charlotte Osei for alleged financial malfeasance.
Among the allegations centred around financial malfeasance, the aggrieved employees claimed that Mrs. Osei unilaterally awarded a GHc 3.9 million contract for work on an office complex without consulting the Commission.
The employees also said Mrs. Osei engaged in cronyism by awarding another contract to the tune of $14,310,961 to associates for the construction of prefabricated District offices.
Mrs. Osei rubbished the allegations in a detailed response to the employees and fired some accusations of her own, alleging that a Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Operations at the EC, Amadu Sulley, milked some GHc 6 million from political parties without informing the Commission’s Finance Department.
She said the political party primaries were treated as a private commercial project by Amadu Sulley, noting that funds were paid directly into the personal accounts of key staff for functions to be performed at the primaries.
Mrs. Osei also said she will order investigations into the conduct of Amadu Sulley and other Commissioners believed to be engaged in malpractices.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana