2 Customs officers join political fray
Two police officers, Superintendent Peter Toobu, Executive Secretary to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and Detective Corporal John Evans Ayerakwa-Kumordzi, are of late capturing the headlines for their respective resignations from the service to enable them to go into party politics on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Their actions conform to the norms of the Constitution of Ghana, which debars civil and public officials from dabbling in political activities whilst in office.
However, the same cannot be said of two senior officers of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The Sector Commander of the Elubo Collection Point, Assistant Commissioner (A/C) Mr Edward K. Osei, and a Principal Collector at the Kotoka International Airport, Mr Robert Coffie-Amoako, have stormed the Aowin Constituency in the Western North Region to contest for political seats.
The Civil Service Code of Conduct of December 2014, under Principle (5), states: ‘A staff of the Public Services Commission shall (a) Maintain political neutrality in the performance of his or her duty, (b) Not in the performance of his or her official duty act as an agent of or further the interest of a political party, (c) Not engage in political activity that may or be seen to compromise the political neutrality of his or her office.’
But this regulation notwithstanding, posters of the two officers are awash in the constituency, seeking parliamentary candidature on the ticket of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The Chronicle investigations in the constituency reveal that as A/C Osei is said to be attempting his luck for the third time, the Principal Collector at the KIA is a debutant.
The Aowin Constituency Secretary of the NPP, Mr Isaac Brew, who confirmed the political ambitions of these officers when reached by The Chronicle, said nominations for the party’s orphan constituencies had opened from July 20 to August 3, 2019.
He did not deny the presence of posters of the Customs officers and a third prospective candidate, Mr Abanga Yakubu, adorning every available space in the constituency, seeking parliamentary candidature on the ticket of his party.
When asked if the party was aware that individuals like the Customs officers cannot hold any political position so long as they remained in the service, Mr Brew opined that A/C Osei contested the primary in 2008 and 2012, and that he cannot tell how Mr Osei had been managing to do that.
When Mr Osei was reached by the paper, he wanted to know the reporter’s interest and what he wanted to achieve. To him, this is not an isolated case in the constituency.
Mr Osei went ahead to cite an example of when Mr Kofi Poturphy was Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and still held a position as the boss for National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).
According to him, it is only when the Electoral Commission (EC) is printing the ballot papers that one can be certain about contesting, saying, “for all you know, the person may resign.”
On the posters in the constituency, Mr Osei, who says that he is also a journalist, stated that people who like him can go and paste the posters without his knowledge.
He declined further comments when asked if the posters with his pictures were done without his consent.
The Chronicle could not get the side of the story of the officer at the KIA, because his phone was off.