Deputy Commissioner in-charge-of Operations at the Electoral Commission (EC), Amadu Sulley was removed from office on grounds of established incompetence and misbehaviour.
This, is because the Chief Justice's Committee found out that he embarked on illegal transfer of votes and defied all known prudent financial administration practices, leaving room for misapplication of funds, the Electoral Commission raised from organising primaries for the two main political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Illegal voter transfers
The CJ's Committee investigated the allegation that Mr Amadu Sulley 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.
At a press conference in Accra on Friday, the Minister of Information, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid indicated that the documentary evidence produced by the representative of STL, the contractor in charge of the EC’s electoral register database and Mrs Charlotte Osei’s evidence against Amadu Sulley revealed that she (Osei) heard that Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) was effecting transfer of voters from the Voter Management System illegally.
Mrs Osei indicated she received email evidence from STL of voter transfers done through the VMS by STL between January 1st, 2014 and September 3rd and 4th, 2015 to date.
With reference to the committee’s report, Dr Abdul-Hamid said when she (Mrs Charlotte Osei) confronted STL as to why it was doing so against the laid down procedures, the contractor said all the transfers were “authorised” and showed “scanned copies of Whatsapp instructions to STL” from Amadu Sulley.
“There were 17 such exhibits, with a list of the people to be transferred either through Whatsapp or handwritten notes bearing Amadu Sulley’s signature. Though he denied them, the Committee found that he wrote and signed them and that the Whatsapp messages were indeed from his telephone,” he said.
He added that the committee found him culpable of misbehaviour as his conduct was held to amount to “abuse of his office.”
Another allegation leveled against Amadu Sulley was the fact that he treated political parties’ primaries as a private commercial project with funds paid directly into the personal accounts of key staff for functions to be performed for party primaries.
“After witness statements from the Chairperson herself against Amadu Sulley, the Director of Finance at the EC, Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, the Director of Elections of the NDC party, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, among others, and the respondent, Amadu Sulley himself, the committee established that the “NDC paid over GH¢5 million in cash for its primaries to the EC and the NPP paid GH¢233,270 and GH¢276,600 for its presidential and parliamentary primaries respectively and that as the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations, Amadu Sulley had the oversight responsibility over the Electoral Services Department and directly supervised the operations of the said department,” he said.
According to Dr Abdul-Hamid, Mr Sulley was also asked to refund the amount of GH¢320,822 which was found to be lost to the EC under his watch.
“The committee also recommended that the Chief Accountant, Mr Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, be made to pay to the commission the amount of GH¢360,000 which he claimed was still in his custody for safekeeping, failing which he be charged with the offence of stealing,” he said.
Dr Abdul-Hamid said the committee established that Amadu Sulley defied all the known prudent financial administration practices and took over GH¢5 million in cash and kept same in the custody of some individuals.
He added that the committee established that he allowed more than GH¢6 million received on behalf of the EC to be handled in a manner that decried any reasonable and prudent accounting principles, leaving room for fraud and misapplication of the money.
“Though in the midst of investigations of how the money was managed, the Commission opened an account for internally generated funds in December 2015, the Deputy Head of the Electoral Services Department was holding onto GH¢360, 000 in cash until 2016 when the Director of Electoral Services claimed it was deposited with the chief accountant for ‘safekeeping,” he said.
He indicated that the Electoral Services Department, indeed, treated the political parties’ primaries as a private project, the millions of cedis on behalf of the commission were handled in a manner that threw all known sound financial management principles in any institution to the wind.
He said the committee established that there was gross financial mismanagement which opened the commission to fraud and misappropriation of money.
Again, election materials belonging to the EC could not be accounted for, since no proper records were kept as to how those items were procured from the commission’s stores.
Dr Abdul-Hamid noted that the committee held that Amadu Sulley demonstrated that he lacked the skill and ability to perform his duties as the head and supervisor of the commission’s operations.
According to him, the committee concluded that at least an amount of GH¢320,822 remained unaccounted for the consumables used for the primaries of the political parties in 2015 and that up to date, the remaining GH¢360, 000 had still not been paid into the EC’s account created in 2015 for that purpose, which they alleged was still with the chief accountant for ‘safe keeping.’