General News of Tue, 7 Nov 20175
CODEO questions ‘silence’ on EC endowment fund probe
The Coalition of Domestic Elections Observers (CODEO), has expressed reservations about the silence of the agencies investigating the disappearance of money from the Electoral Commission (EC)’s Endowment Fund.
According to the Coalition, it is imperative that the country’s election supervisory body is free from any issues that might raise doubts about the EC’s integrity.
EOCO commenced investigations into the activities of three officials of the EC; Georgina Opoku Amankwah, Chief Accountant, Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, and Finance Officer, Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, after over 480,000 cedis reportedly went missing, resulting in the officials being asked to proceed on leave.
However, three months since the investigations began, it appears little progress has been made in the case.
Speaking on the Point Blank segment of Eyewitness News, the Executive Director of CODEO, Albert Arhin, said that in order for the EC to retain public confidence, the agencies handling the investigations had to provide updates on the officials under investigation.
“CODEO is concerned about the silence of the investigations that are going on into the Commission. We have written to the President to find out whether anything has come from the Chief Justice concerning these allegations.
There’s a concern about the fact that we are going to have district assembly elections and other elections including a referendum for the creation of the new regions.
There are other assignments, so one expects the Commission to be in the preparatory stages of trying to put up a programme to cover some of these activities,” Albert Arhin said.
“The integrity of the Electoral Commission is very important. The public would have to accept that it is dealing with a Commission that is clean, a Commission that is reliable and inspires confidence.”
Money not in officials’ accounts
EOCO revealed in September that, the money which went missing from the EC’s Endowment Fund did not end up in the accounts of the officials being investigated.
They however insisted that it was too early to conclude that the officials are innocent, given the mandate and access they had to the funds during the period.
Speaking to Accra-based Peace FM, the Executive Director of EOCO, K. K. Amoah, at the time, stated that, investigations were far advanced into the matter, and that they would submit their findings to the Attorney General very soon.
“We are still on the case.
I met with my colleagues and we noticed that, the money did not end up in the accounts of the officials, so right now it is missing,” he said.
“It is too early to conclude anyone is innocent because [Georgina Opoku Amankwah] was in charge of the Endowment Fund and [Asamoah] was the auditor at the time. In a few days, we’ll make our determinations.”
According to him, there have been claims that the money from the Endowment Fund was used for some projects for the EC, but he said no documents have been provided to prove this claim.
“It’s been suggested that the money was used for some work for the EC. If that’s the case, they should bring receipts and documents to prove it.
We haven’t got any such documents from them. Without those documents, we’ll continue to pursue them. With time, we will pass the information on to the Attorney General to pursue the matter in court.”
Albert Arhim called on the EOCO to provide further updates as the silence from the Office had put the EC in an uneasy position in terms of public sentiment.
“The Chief Justice would have to come out to tell the President what they think about the allegations, and whether a prima facie case has been established, and this has to be quickly done. Again, EOCO would have to come out.
The Commission has to be cleared or otherwise of all these allegations before it has the confidence to do what it needs to do. We don’t want a Commission that will be looking over their shoulders. It’s not good to have that image so they have to purged of the turbulence,” he said.