The Chief Accountant of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi says the amount of GH¢432,000 which was given to him for safekeeping is in a safe in his office.
According to him, the only way he can hand over the monies to the EC is when he gets access to his office.
Mr Agyei-Larbi, together with the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Finance and Administration, Georgina Amakwah as well as the Finance Officer, Joseph Asamoah, were asked to proceed on leave in 2017 after investigations by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) into the Commission’s staff welfare fund.
The Chief Justice Committee which was further set up to look into several petitions calling for the removal of the Chairperson of the EC and her two deputies recommended that Mr 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.
But a statement issued by his lawyers to the EOCO said his client would only make the money available if he is recalled to his position.
According to the statement, the purpose of asking Mr Ageyi-Larbi to proceed on leave was to allow EOCO conduct investigations into the missing endowment fund; and that the EOCO investigations exonerated Mr Agyei-Larbi.
“After EOCO concluded its investigations and submitted its interim report to the Attorney General, which exonerates our client of any wrongdoing, EOCO failed to revise its directive to the Electoral Commission or ask the Commission to recall our client from leave,” the statement continued.
According to them, several petitions to EOCO to recall their client from leave have been ignored and had it not been for that, the money would have been released.
According to the statement, the GH¢360,000 was not the only money in Mr Agyei-Larbi’s custody.
“If not for the fact that our client has been on a protracted leave, he would have made all these funds available to the Commission because his only instructions were to keep the said funds safe until further instructions on disbursement.”
Mr Agyei-Larbi’s lawyers are therefore asking for the directive asking him to proceed on leave revoked and also that he is recalled to resume normal duties at the EC.
They also want “protection provided for our client while he resumes work at his office and to retrieve the cash of GH¢360,000 and sum of GH¢73, 430 for onward deposit into a designated account of the Electoral Commission.”
They are also requesting that their client’s office is protected and kept under surveillance since the location of the funds has been revealed.