The immediate Past deputy Chairperson-in-charge of Corporate Affairs at the Electoral Commission (EC), Georgina Opoku Amankwa, was removed from her position because of negligence and procurement breaches.
The report of the committee set up by the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo to probe the three EC officials said Mrs. Opoku Amankwa had misconducted herself and showed gross incompetence.
The crux of her infractions had to do with the signing of two multi-million cedi contracts with were deemed questionable and the disappearance of endowment fund contributions.
The Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, outlined these breaches at a Press Conference on Friday morning.
The breakdown of the allegations and indictments are captured below.
1. Shady STL contract
Petitioners alleged that Mrs. Opoku Amankwa signed two contracts with Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) on 6th May, 2015 for $24,397,000 and $16,509,500 respectively, without adhering to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
On the STL contracts, the Committee held that Mrs. Opoku Amankwa “demonstrated gross incompetence and misconduct in executing the two contracts, (1) by her failure to seek prior authorisation from the PPA and (2) by concealing the fact that she had already signed the contracts when she instructed the Director of Finance to write to the PPA for authorisation, and (3) having discovered the illegal act, she did not withdraw the contract and persisted with it, damning the consequences it would have on the EC, not even when the Electoral Commissioner started probing it.”
The Committee also established that she violated The Public Procurement Act, Section 40, and constituted a criminal offence under Section 92 of the same Act.
2.Missing endowment fund contributions
Under her watch, EC staff endowment fund contributions for eight months, between 2013 and 2014, were not paid into the Staff Provident Fund at a time when she was Deputy Chairperson in charge of Finance and Administration, and had direct supervision over the Fund.
On the allegation of the missing contributions to the Staff Endowment Fund, it was found that the contributions were wrongfully applied as an “operational expense” of the EC, and that the EC now has to refund the money.
Mrs. Charlotte Osei gave evidence against Mrs. Opoku Amankwa, referring to heightened staff agitation over their missing funds.
The Chairperson also gave evidence that she had undertaken internal audit and also invited EOCO to look into the matter.
She failed to disclose the misapplication of the contributions when she was confronted by the then EC chairperson, Dr Afari-Djan, and took no concrete steps to replace the funds, even years after they were misapplied.
The Committee found that her actions and inactions had led to financial loss to the staff and, probably, the EC.
On the allegations, the Committee stated that she had misconducted herself and showed gross incompetence within the meaning of Article 146 of the Constitution and recommended her removal from office as a Deputy Chairperson of the EC.