Monday, July 31, 2017

EC BOSS IN FRESH TROUBLE

By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday, July 29, 2017

Pressure is mounting on the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, to reinstate a senior officer she asked to proceed on leave over alleged misappropriation of the commission’s staff welfare fund.

Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, EC’s Director of Finance, has vowed to sue the commission if Mrs Osei does not rescind the decision, claiming that he’s being wrongly accused.

He has caused his lawyer, Akoto Ampaw, of Akufu-Addo and Prempeh Chambers, to write to Ms. Osei demanding his re-instatement, otherwise he would resort to the court of law for redress.

Before the ongoing scandal at the commission in which Mrs. Osei stands accused of abuse of office and corruption by some concerned EC staff exploded, the topical issue at the commission was the purported misappropriation of staff welfare fund.

Georgina Opoku-Amankwah, a Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Corporate Services, together with Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, Chief Accountant and Joseph Asamoah, Finance Officer, were asked to proceed on leave over reported missing GH¢480,000 belonging to the workers.

The decision to interdict the officers commenced when the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) wrote to the commission that it had taken over the case and that “the suspects are assisting investigations.

However, the suspended Finance Officer’s lawyers said their client demonstrated before the EOCO with ample documentary evidence that he had nothing to do with the subject matter.

“Our client, Dr. Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, has absolutely nothing to do with the matter and should not be made a scapegoat of any boardroom struggles engulfing the commission.

“We are accordingly instructed to demand you to 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,” Mr Akoto-Ampaw stated.

The lawyer then attached documents, including letters that showed that their client was innocent, a letter from the Controller and Accountant General to the Bank of Ghana, as well as the EC’s Audit Report on the Endowment Fund, which they say were ample evidence clearing Mr. Asamoah.

Welfare Schemes
The EC Staff Welfare Schemes were inaugurated on 5th June, 2009 to cater for the welfare of those working for the commission and a 13-member board of administrators was set up to administer the management of the Schemes.

According to the EC, the schemes included ​Endowment, ​Retirement and ​Funeral and the Board, under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Chairman (Finance and Administration) and assisted by commission members, had its first meeting on 17th June, 2009 and members were appointed to serve on the various schemes.

The EC said the Board has a representation from the commission, the directors, Senior Staff Association, the Local Trade Union and two other co-opted members. 

It said the schemes had been composed such that the ​Endowment Fund has the Director (Finance), Chief Accountant and Local Union Representative as the members while the ​Retirement Scheme has Director (Human Resource and General Services), Senior Staff Representative, Local Union Representative and a Co-opted Member as its composition.

According to the commission, the ​Funeral Scheme has Director, Senior Staff Representative, Local Union Representative and a Co-opted Member as its composition and that the commission invested their contributions with NDK Financial Services.

According to the EC, the Endowment Committee was supposed to receive monthly deductions of members of staff contributions from the cash office of the commission, for onward submission to NDK Financial Services for investment.

“The audit team identified during the audit that there was non-release of funds (i.e. staff deductions) by the commission to the Fund Managers for onward submission to NDK Financial Services for the period covering March 2014 to October 2014, and this amounted to Four Hundred and Eighty Thousand, One Hundred and Seventy-Seven Ghana Cedis and  Eighty-Seven Pesewas.

This denied existing members and also retirees of interest on funds if it had been invested for the period stated,” an internal audit report revealed.

“Additionally, those on retirement received their benefits, excluding the interest, on the un-invested funds and this left gaps in the computation of individual staff member’s contribution.”

The report said that the audit team noted that monthly cheques issued to the Fund were released very late and in some cases were never released at all. 

“For example, a cheque of GH¢47,754.54  with cheque No. 922744 meant for payment into the Fund for the month of November  2012 was issued on 31/12/2012, being one month after its due date.  Such late submission of cheques denied contributors to the fund the opportunity to earn any interest income had the monies been received and invested earlier.”






Friday, July 28, 2017

CHARLOTTE OSEI IS A LAIR – DEPUTY EC BOSS CHARGES

By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, July 28, 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.

Explosive Issues
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.”

Divisive Figure
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.

False Claim
“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.

Country Tour
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.

Spurious Allegation
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.

Managerial Deficiencies
“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.












Thursday, July 27, 2017

NO INTERNAL AUDITOR AT EC SAYS SULLEY

By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, July 27, 2017

It is emerging that the Electoral Commission (EC) does not have an internal auditor to oversee financial transactions of the commission.

The substantive Internal Auditor was hounded out of office by the EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, according to the Deputy EC Director in-charge of Operations, Alhaji Amadu Sulley.

The EC boss and her two deputies - Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku-Amankwa, in-charge of Corporate Service -  have been trading accusations and counter accusations since a petition was sent to the presidency by unnamed staff of the commission for impeachment processes to be initiated against Mrs. Charlotte Osei.

Petition
According to the petitioners, the EC Chairperson allegedly abused her office and engaged in corruption. They asserted that she was incompetent and not fit to lead the commission.

Mrs. Charlotte Osei has responded to the allegations and ended up accusing her two deputies of corruption and sabotage.

She said for instance, that Amadu Sulley collected about GH¢6 million from political parties without recourse to the commission and added that apart from the money, the Operations Director also carried out illegal vote transfers in the run-up to the crucial 2016 general election.

“The Deputy Chairperson, Operations, collected funds above GH¢6m (Six million Ghana Cedis) in cash from some political parties for the organization of party primaries without recourse to the structures of the commission, and without the involvement of the finance department of the commission,” she averred.
However, Amadu Sulley has hit back in a statement, insisting that he did nothing wrong and that it was Mrs. Charlotte Osei who is on a mission to destroy them.

“The Internal Auditor is still alive, even though he resigned out of frustration by the Chair,” Mr Amadu Sulley said, adding, “As at now, the commission is yet to have an Internal Auditor. This is very unfortunate.”

“I will (sic) like to state that, it is not true that the Deputy Chairman, (Ops), took GH¢6 million for primaries of political parties,” he stated.

Lacking Knowledge
He said Mrs. Charlotte Osei is inept and lacks knowledge of the electoral system, saying, “Everyone in the commission knew about the primaries except the Chair herself.”

He said that party primaries “are not legally binding on the commission but we supervise them since the parties have it in their respective constitutions to protect integrity of the process.”

According to him, the law only “entreats the commission to supervise the election of the executives of all registered political parties at national, regional and constituency levels as stipulated in Section 17 (2) of Act 574.

Party Primaries
He said that on the 2016 primaries, three parties namely, New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the People’s National Convention (PNC) presented a budget each and were discussed in his office.

“Monies brought by the parties did not come to me but sent to the Accounts Section through Director of Elections of the commission. I did not receive a pesewa; they were all sent to the Accounts Section,” he claimed.

Amadu Sulley further said that “all monies for work of the operatives were sent to them through the Regional Directorate. Monies on consumables like indelible ink, endorsing ink, stamp pads, etc. which belong to the commission, were paid to the commission.”

Internal Investigation
He said Charlotte Osei at a point ordered the Internal Auditor to investigate him over the payments and the auditor later told him he did not have anything against him after the investigation.

“I don’t understand the motive of the Chair to come out now to make this unfortunate allegation against me and the Deputy Chair, Finance/Administration.


SHERRY AYITEY TAKES OVER 31st DEC. WOMENS MOVEMENT

By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, July 27, 2017

There appears to be a coup d’├ętat at the 31st December Women’s Movement (31st DWM), which was once affiliated to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Former Minister of Fisheries under the previous Mahama administration, Hani Sherry Ayitey, appears to have taken over the affairs of the red beret movement.

She has begun a re-organization exercise at all branches of the movement in the country.

The move is likely to cause heated debate over who actually owns 31st DWM since former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, is believed to be the founder and President of the movement at all material times.

The former First Lady founded the movement after her husband’s Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), which metamorphosed into NDC, seized power in a coup on 31st December 1981.

The red beret wearing movement was the mobilizing tool during the 19-year rule of former President Rawlings.

His wife Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings was the lead organizer of the women, who offered their unalloyed support for the NDC across the country.

But Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings broke ranks with the NDC to form the National Democratic Party (NDP).

There have been subtle efforts by some elements in the NDC to lay claim to the movement.

The NDC is instigating the ranks and file of the movement to undermine Nana Konadu.

According to reports, members across the country have called for accountability.

Some say Mrs. Rawlings has held herself as president of the movement since 1992 in contravention of the stipulated five-year term per the regulations governing the movement.

According to a syndicated story in pro-NDC newspapers, members of the movement have demanded audited accounts of the 31st DWM and Carridem Development Company Limited, which is a subsidiary of the movement from 1999 to date, including all bank account statements and the Assets Register.

The newspapers said at Ashaiman, members expressed their appreciation for efforts being made to reorganize the movement and called on the leadership to open its membership to more women.

Sherry Ayitey, the former Minister of Fisheries under President Mahama, who is also a former treasurer of the movement and once a confidant of Mrs Rawlings, was said to have addressed the women in Ashiaman.

She entreated the women to ‘forget about the past, forge ahead in unity and get involved in politics in their localities.

The former Minister reportedly told the women that the movement was going to sponsor any member, who would show interest in contesting elections at the district level.

Interestingly, in the glory days of the NDC, the party never recognized the importance of the movement.

Ms Ayitey might have jumped into the driver’s seat due to the defeat of the NDC since she has less to do these days.







Wednesday, July 26, 2017

EC BOSS STORMS COURT

By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, July 25, 2017

Embattled Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, has sued the lawyer who is leading some unnamed staff of the commission to press for impeachment proceedings against her.

A litany of allegations have been leveled against Ms. Osei, including spending GH¢3.9 million to partition an office and receiving a Toyota Land Cruiser from the previous government as well as attending Cabinet meetings under President John Mahama.

However, the EC boss is moving to clear her name and has filed a suit against the lawyer, Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, for defamation.

Plaintiff’s Reliefs
She is seeking a declaration that the statements that Plaintiff is "managerially and administratively inept" because Plaintiff has no respect for the organisational structure of the Electoral Commission, "has poor human relations not befitting of any leader in public space," has "unilaterally transferred District Electoral Officers perceived to be pro-NPP," "...polarized the Commission along political lines" and disunited its members at paragraphs 11, 12, 13, 20, 21 and 26  of the petition attached to Defendant's letter conveying the petition to his Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana are defamatory of Plaintiff.”

She wants another declaration that “the statements that Plaintiff has constituted herself into the Commission's Tender Review Committee contrary to the Procurement Act," "unilaterally awarded a contract of about $25,000 to a South African company...to change and re-develop the Commission's logo under the guise of rebranding..." set out at paragraphs 6, 18,  23, 27 of the petition attached to Defendant's letter conveying the petition to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana are defamatory of Plaintiff.”

It stated, “A declaration that the statements that Plaintiff nearly pushed Ghana "to the precipices" by her "political posture" prior to the conduct of the 2016 general elections, has a political bias and prejudice against Ghanaians who support the New Patriotic Party (NPP) by antagonizing the "NPP prior to the 2016 general elections brought embarrassment to the Commission" through her arrogant posture set out at paragraphs 3, 4, 14, 19 of the petition attached to Defendant's letter conveying the petition to his Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana are defamatory of Plaintiff.

The EC boss wants a further declaration that the statements that Plaintiff “has been engaging in cronyism by awarding contracts to the tune of $14,310,961.00 to her cronies” the value of which contract sums exceed the approved threshold of the PPA, the details of which statements are set out at paragraph 8 of the petition attached to Defendant’s letter conveying the contents of the petition to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana are defamatory of Plaintiff.

Madam Charlotte Osei also wants general damages for libel against the lawyer “for publishing and or causing to be published the aforesaid words of and concurring in Plaintiff,” as well as an order “directed at the Defendant to publish a retraction and an apology with the same prominence as the defamatory words on his Facebook page as well as one publication in the Daily Graphic.”

She also filed for an injunction restraining the defendant from publishing defamatory statements against the Plaintiff as well as costs, including lawyer’s fees.

Statement Of Claim
According to the Plaintiff, a statement by the Defendant that she is managerially and administratively inept “has greatly injured Plaintiff’s reputation and credibility as an expert in business management, compliance and regulation, corporate/business law, banking as well as labour with significant experience.”

She averred that for the defendant to state that she had constituted herself into the EC’s Tender Review Committee and singularly chairs the Entity Tender Committee, was understood to mean that “the plaintiff is dishonest and fraudulent, self-centered, does not have the interest of the nation at heart and generally engaged in criminal activity such as corruption and is debased and perverted in character.”

Duty To The State
Mrs Osei further said that by stating and publishing of and concerning her that she engages in cronyism by awarding contracts to her cronies, the Defendant meant that “Plaintiff is corrupt and allows her interest to compromise her duty to the state.”

She said the Defendant’s statement that she had adopted a political posture meant that Plaintiff “has questionable credentials as an independent arbiter in important matters such as public elections in the Republic of Ghana.”

According to her, she would rely on the facts that the Defendant “published the words complained of without any facts justifying the allegations of fraud, corruption and dishonesty against Plaintiff,” adding “the allegations of fraud, corruption and dishonesty imputed to Plaintiff in the offending publications are entirely false and baseless.

“Blatantly false statements in his petition, an example being that set out at paragraph 17 thereof that Plaintiff refused to grant evidence to the members of the National Peace Council and the leader of the African Union delegation; Thabo Mbeki,” adding, “representing faceless clients, allegedly workers of the Electoral Commission and with whom if Defendant had had proper conference as required of a lawyer, the falsehoods set out in the petition would have been obvious.

“The allegations relating to Plaintiff's political posture, relationship with other officials of the Commission, failure to visit district offices, frequent travels, are baseless and cannot be a bona fide ground upon which a lawyer would advise his client(s) to trigger Article 146 proceedings under the 1992 Constitution against Plaintiff.”

She said the “Defendant's personal involvement in radio and television discussions about the petition and Facebook posts on the subject,” will be used in court, adding, “circulating and or causing same to be circulated even before the petition got to the attention of the Presidency.”

Sole Intent
“Plaintiff avers that the said defamatory words were published and circulated with the sole intent of reducing her in the estimation of all right-thinking Ghanaians and that Plaintiff has received numerous calls from her friends, family, international business colleagues and associates, lawyers - all expressing concern about the publications complained about in this suit.”

The Plaintiff says “the false and malicious publications by Defendant has injured the image of Plaintiff and brought her hard-won reputation into hatred, ridicule, odium, discredit, contempt, opprobrium and reproach.”

It is unclear if the lawyer - Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang - has been served with the court document which was filed yesterday.



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

AMADU SULLEY FIGHTS EC BOSS OVER GH¢6M NDC CASH

By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The two top Electoral Commission (EC) officials caught up in the alleged corruption scandal continue to trade accusations.

The Chairperson of the EC, Charlotte Osei, dropped a bombshell over the weekend when she accused her deputy in-charge of Operations, Amadu Sulley, of collecting about GH¢6 million from political parties without recourse to the commission.

Mrs Osei, who has been accused of abuse of office and corruption by some unnamed EC staff, said in her response to the petition asking for her impeachment that Amadu Sulley, apart from collecting money illegally, also carried out illegal vote transfers in the run-up to the crucial 2016 general elections.

“The Deputy Chairperson, Operations, collected funds above GH¢6 million in cash from some political parties for the organization of party primaries without recourse to the structures of the Commission, and without the involvement of the finance department of the Commission,” she said.

 Even though the EC chairperson did not mention the name of the political parties that paid money to Amadu Sulley, DAILY GUIDE has learnt that the NDC paid an amount of over GH¢5.5 million to the EC for its primaries in 2015 ahead of the 2016 polls allegedly with no receipt issued.

The EC boss said, “Political party primaries were treated as a private commercial project by the Deputy Chairperson, Operations, with funds paid directly into the personal accounts of key staff for functions to be performed for party primaries.”

Mrs Osei attached an internal audit report highlighting widespread malfeasance in the conduct of party primaries under the supervision of Amadu Sulley, as part of the evidence in her defence of the allegations that have been brought against her and stated that “this situation cannot be allowed to continue.”

Vote Transfer
According to the EC Chairperson, “Amadu Sulley has 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. Such actions have major implications for the integrity of the work of the Commission and constitute abuse of office.”

Surreptitious Attempt
She said in her response to the petition, “A surreptitious attempt was made to remove the Chairperson of the Commission from the GIFMIS platform to enable payments to continue to be made on the blind side of the Chairperson.”

She admitted ‘systemic failure’ of financial management systems at the EC, saying, “In some cases, Commission funds are paid into personal accounts of staff members at the regional offices.”

Financial Fraud
Mrs Charlotte Osei said in 2015, attempts she made to stop district electoral officers from inserting ghost names on the list of officials recruited for the 2015 district level elections to enable them to appropriate the allowances for the officials, resulted in the Chairperson being reported to the BNI for investigation.

“In the report attached hereto dated September 23, 2015, staff, according to the BNI, admit to a culture of misappropriation of funds meant for electoral staff, and assert that this practice is a ‘convention’ at the Commission. A work culture that permits some staff to steal with such boldness is extremely unfortunate and cannot be allowed to continue.”

Petitioners
DAILY GUIDE understands that the petitioners who are still unknown are most likely to include Amadu Sulley and his colleague, Ms. Georgina Opoku-Amankwaa, Deputy Chairperson, Corporate Services of the Commission - who is currently on interdiction over alleged misappropriation of Welfare Funds for staff of the commission.

Total Breakdown
Mrs Charlotte Osei averred that her deputies were taking official decisions without her consent, saying, “While on leave in June 2017, the Deputy Chairperson, without authorization and notice to the Chairperson, approved 2015 financial statements of the Commission, an increase in the amount for fuel coupons (beyond budgeted levels) and without prior knowledge and authorization of the Chairperson or the Commission.”

She said Mrs. Opoku-Amankwaa “went on an unauthorised leave from May 19 - June 19, 2017 without notice to the Chairperson and without prior approval,” adding, “A sick leave note was subsequently submitted to the Director of HR.”

Terse Response
In the confusion, Amadu Sulley reportedly sent a text message to Starr FM yesterday saying that he was consulting his lawyers over the allegations.

“I want to assure you that it’s not true. I have all the documents and I am going for legal advice,” he averred.

NDC Money
It is unclear which political parties paid the money to the Deputy Director in-charge of Operations for its primaries as alleged by Mrs Charlotte Osei.

 However, it will be recalled that in February 2016 the accountant of the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) who was fired by the party, revealed that it (party) had paid huge sums of money to the EC.

According to Mathias Mokono Wilson - who claimed to have worked with the party as accountant for 23 years - a total amount of GH¢5.544,630 was withdrawn through him and the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, on behalf of the EC.

"Myself and Asiedu Nketia went to the bank and withdrew money on behalf of the EC,” the beleaguered accountant told Citi Fm in Accra.

On February 10, 2016, Mr. Wilson filed a suit at the Labour Division of the Accra High Court through his solicitors from Azinyo Chambers against the NDC for unlawful dismissal, claiming that the party gave him only a week’s notice to leave the head office at Adabraka, Accra, instead of the mandatory three months after he had been accused of releasing Presidential Nominee Forms to a party member - George Boateng - who wanted to contest then sitting President John Mahama.

Cheque Details
Giving details of the payments to the EC, the accountant said there were different cheques he withdrew together with Mr Asiedu Nketia on different dates at Societe Generale, Accra Main, on behalf of the EC, although he admitted that “I am not a signatory to the NDC account.”

According to him, “The first cheque was GH¢630,000; the second cheque was GH¢357,000; the third cheque was GH¢2 million, then followed by GH¢2.199,340, then followed by GH¢69,315, GH¢54,975, GH¢140,000 and GH¢100,000, totaling GH¢5.544,630.”





WHAT KILLED MY DAD?

By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The fifth anniversary of the demise of Professor John Evans Atta Mills was held yesterday in Accra with a renewed call for investigation into what actually killed the president.

His only son, Sam Kofi Mills, has waded into the debate, wanting to know the cause of death of his father.

According to him, neither he (son) nor the family of the late president is aware of the cause of the former leader’s death and that no autopsy report had been issued to that effect.

He said yesterday that “if someone approached me or if some sort of investigation might have to be done to find out, of course, I will champion the cause because he is my father and I want to know.

“I still don’t know the cause of his death; the hospital never gave the family any autopsy report to show that this and this were the cause of why he passed away, so, I don’t think any member of my family will be able to give evidence of how President Mills passed away.”

Wreath Laying Drama
At the Asomdwee Park, near the Independence Square, where the late president was buried on August 10, 2012, family members, as well as his party - National Democratic Congress (NDC) - officials gathered to lay wreaths in memory of the late president, but that did not pass without some sort of drama.

A source said when it was time for wreaths to be laid, there was none for former President John Dramani Mahama and the organizers had to dash to town to buy him one.

Mahama’s Sermon
Later, Mr Mahama advised Ghanaians to emulate the late Mills whom he described as an embodiment of peace.

“We’re celebrating his life, and working with Professor Mills was a great experience for me; and as we all know, he stood for certain values and those values were values of inclusiveness, humility and a person who was father for all.

“Unfortunately, Ghana continues to be torn apart by partisan differences and that was what Professor Mills tried to scale. Even though I feel people feel vengeful, we must remember his character and try to live by those values. And, so, as we celebrate the fifth anniversary, let us all remember what he stood for – that the opportunities of this country should be open to all our people, irrespective of their political affiliations. I’m happy that he’s in heaven looking down on us and that Ghana will continue to make progress and we must all continue to work together to make our nation great and strong,” Mr. Mahama underscored.

Mills’ Death
Prof. Mills died suddenly on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, when he was preparing to contest for a second term in office, and since then, details about what caused his death are still shrouded in secrecy.

President Mahama, who was Prof Mills’ vice and subsequently succeeded him upon his demise, from all indications, did not tell Ghanaians what actually was the cause of his boss’ death and the erstwhile NDC administration is not in any position to make that revelation.

Just last week, members of the maternal family of the late president said they would support any attempt by President Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to investigate circumstances surrounding the death of the former president.

 “We won’t mind if the new government probes what actually caused the death of our brother, the president. We don’t mind if they do that so that everything will be clarified,” Ato Harry Brew, an 85-year-old first cousin of the late president, told DAILY GUIDE in Accra.

“If the opinion of the country is that it should be done then it has to be done,” he said from his Ashongman Estates residence when he took DAILY GUIDE through the family history of Mills.

Opportunistic People
The family’s position to know the cause of death appears to have been contradicted by one of the president’s younger brothers - Samuel Atta Mills - who is the current NDC MP for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) in the Central Region.

“It is just a few opportunistic people, who are asking for this; who claim they are family members. How are they family members? How far removed are they?” the NDC MP quizzed in an interview with Class FM in Accra.

“We all have extended family in other areas who feel that this is the cocoa season and then they need to get involved in whatever they are sharing; there is nothing to share. Actual family is not asking for this; anybody can get up and claim that they are a family member,” Mr. Atta Mills fumed.





Monday, July 24, 2017

CHAOS AT EC – DIRTY FIGHT OVER CHOP CHOP

By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, July 24, 2017

The infighting that has rocked the Electoral Commission (EC) is getting nastier by the day with revelations that some of the commissioners are neck deep in corrupt practices, including inflating contract sums.

Since some unnamed staff of the commission petitioned the president to initiate impeachment proceedings against the Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, serious allegations of abuse of office and corruption continue to be traded among the top hierarchy of the commission unabated.

Mrs Charlotte Osei, who was seeking the faces behind the petition, officially responded to the allegations in the petition over the weekend but her response, in the view of many, has revealed what appears to be a commission in disarray, creating an impression of a chaotic situation.

Per the tone of the chairperson’s response, there seems to be a compelling case that the commission is becoming dysfunctional and might be incapable of continuing with its core mandate since its boss appears to be at loggerheads with her two deputies and by extension, the other commissioners as well.

Time Bomb
Many observers believe that the petitioner’s ‘irreversible disunity’ claim among members of the commission is the centerpiece of the whole scandal.

Mrs Osei confirmed clearly in her response that all is not well with the top hierarchy of the elections organizing body when she said that it was rather her subordinates who were showing gross insubordination.

“Mrs. Osei is on speaking terms with everyone at the Commission. The Deputy Chairpersons have chosen to be grossly insubordinate and rude and there is ample documented evidence to support this,” her lawyers said in her response to the damning allegations against her.

Snubbing Chairperson
“Deputies take managerial decisions and implement same without the knowledge of the Chairperson; threaten staff that have direct dealings with the Chairperson; take their leave without the approval of the Chairperson and implement major administrative and operational decisions without the knowledge of the Chairperson,” she exploded.

The EC boss admitted, “There is only a breakdown of the structures for maladministration and illegal financial dealings and not the administrative structures of the Commission as claimed by the fictitious petitioners.”

Total Breakdown
“The Chairperson will deal directly with directors when a deputy spends half of the working week outside of Accra, particularly in a busy election year when decisions have to be taken quickly. 

The Chairperson has attempted to put in place structures at the Commission to ensure that the Commission is managed in an efficient manner. The Commission has no disciplinary committee or effective disciplinary processes, no audit review committee or processes, no structured management meetings, and no clear financial and administrative procedures and manuals. This is unpardonable,” according to Mrs Osei.

Travel Matters
On her alleged travels without informing her deputies, she said, “The Chairperson does not report to the two deputies. These are deputies who constantly show insubordination, do not come to work or come to work when they feel like, go on leave and travel without the knowledge and approval of the Chairperson. 
They clearly do not respect their office or their role within the organisation. Corporate governance procedures are clearly disregarded in their operational behaviour.”

Tit For Tat
Mrs Osei insisted that as a ground for impeachment, it would also be proper for the Deputy Chairpersons to be impeached for all the times they have taken unauthorized leaves and travelled within and outside the jurisdiction, without her approval.

Mahama Vehicle
According to the EC Boss, she never used a vehicle with registration number WR 2291-15 as claimed by the petitioners, as coming from the presidency, but admitted she received a vehicle from the executive arm of government.

“Following her appointment as Chairperson, the Office of the Chief of Staff allocated Mrs. Osei a vehicle. This is certainly not a new practice in Ghana’s public service. Indeed, the office of the Chief of Staff provided and continues to provide vehicles for many government institutions and appointees.”

External Solicitors
On the issue of external solicitors, the Chairperson said that “Sory@ Law was retained on the basis of a decision of the Commission taken at a Commission meeting of September 2015.
If it is true that the Chairperson unilaterally retained Sory@Law, members of the Commission, including the two Deputy Chairpersons, would clearly have to explain the basis for meetings held between the entire Commission and Lawyer T. Sory, and other meetings between management and executive management staff, and staff of Sory@Law to discuss pending cases.”

Contract Bypass
She accused the Deputy Chairperson F/A of signing contracts worth over GH¢40 million without the knowledge and authorization of the Chairperson between July and September 2015.

“It is worth pointing out that while the Chairperson is persistently accused of arrogance and taking unilateral decisions, there is ample evidence of extreme arrogance, ineptitude and blatant breaches of the law by the Deputy Chairpersons.  The Deputy Chairperson F/A has signed contracts worth over GH¢40 million without knowledge and authorization of the Chairperson between July and September 2015,” she said.

“Payments were also made on these contracts in excess of her approval limits and again, without the knowledge and authorization of the Chairperson,” the EC boss claimed, adding, “This is illegal, criminal and a breach of the policies of the Commission and the laws of Ghana.”
She indicated that the “supporting documents would be submitted to the relevant investigative agencies for their further action.”

New Office
According to Mrs Osei, it could not be true that she accepted a new office complex without recourse to the Commission, but did not dispute the GH¢3.9 million to  demarcate the offices.

She said members of the Commission “have constantly complained to the Chairperson about leaking and damaged roofs, poor electrical wiring, damp walls and lack of storage facilities to store elections equipment, resulting in significant losses and inefficient use of resources at the Commission. It is untrue that the 7 members of the Commission do not see anything wrong with the current offices.”

She pointed out, “the Chairperson informed the Commission in late 2015 that the Commission had requested new office premises from the Presidency to house the new secretariat of the Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA) after Ghana had been voted as a permanent secretariat of the AAEA in July 2015 with responsibility to provide office space for the AAEA. In February 2016, at a Commission meeting, members were informed that government had allocated a new office building to the Commission through the office of the Chief of Staff.”

She also said, “Members were further informed that the new office was a new building and would only require partitioning and all commissioners were encouraged to visit the new premises. The Chairperson subsequently visited the new site with the two Deputy Chairpersons and a commission member, all of who were very excited by the new office.”

Political Transfers
She said the transfer of District Electoral Officers could not be said to have been done because the affected persons were perceived to be NPP faithful, saying they were done because “of threats made by political actors on their activities which were likely to compromise the neutrality of the Commission and the integrity of the elections.

“It is within the powers of the Chairperson to transfer district electoral officers either for purposes of protecting the lives of staff or as the exigencies of the Commission’s work requires.”