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Opinion | Jul 7, 2018

EC’s Chief Accountant Cannot Use the Taxpayer’s Money for Extortion

Mrs. Charlotte Osei, Mr. Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Georgina Opoku-Amankwaa
Mrs. Charlotte Osei, Mr. Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Georgina Opoku-Amankwaa

Maybe some more law-abiding and civically responsible Ghanaian citizen ought to inform Mr. Kwaku Agyei-Larbi and his lawyers that it is a criminal offense of the highest order for anybody to deviously attempt to use the imperative return of moneys belonging to the taxpayer as a bait to get EOCO – the Economic and Organized Crimes Office – to get Mr. Agyei-Larbi returned to his former post as Chief Accountant of the Electoral Commission (EC), in the wake of the legitimate and long overdue dismissal of the topmost three officials of the EC, namely, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, Mr. Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Georgina Opoku-Amankwaa, in their respective capacities as EC’s Chairperson, in the case of Mrs. Osei, and Deputy EC Commissioners, in the cases of Mr. Sulley and Mrs. Amankwaa (See “EC Chief Accountant: I Will Release GHȻ 432,000 If You Reinstate Me” / 7/6/18).

It may be recalled that Mr. Agyei-Larbi was among the EC’s leaders whose allegedly gross administrative incompetence and fiscal malfeasance or impropriety precipitated the indictment and the initiation of an investigation by the Chief Justice, Ms. Sophia AB Akuffo. Mr. Agyei-Larbi has neither been officially dismissed nor recalled or reinstated to his old job by the EOCO operatives, or the relevant authority with the say-so. And so what he really needs to do is to ask his lawyers, if they are worth their nominal weight in salt, as it were, to fight for the revocation of his apparently indefinite suspension with full retroactive salary arrears payments and employment benefits, assuming that he had, indeed, been mothballed or suspended without pay. He says that he is prepared to release an amount of money in excess of GHȻ 500,000, but only on condition that he is restored to his former position as the EC’s Chief Accountant.

Such conditional demand is a criminal offense that is tantamount to extortion because the money or moneys in question belong to the Ghanaian taxpayer, for which reason Mr. Agyei-Larbi had been asked by his EC bosses at the time to take custody of the same until requested to release the same. In other words, holding onto the aforesaid money or moneys, until he was requested to release the same, was part of his job description. His rather impetuous and rude conditional demand for professional reinstatement in exchange for the return of the EC’s Welfare Fund, which some EC petitioners alleged to have gone missing, and part of which reasons the topmost three officials of the Commission were relieved of their posts, is scandalously unacceptable. The plaintiff claims to have been cleared by EOCO, so why has he decided to take the primrose path of certain self-destruction? And are his lawyers real lawyers or paper lawyers?

To be certain, using the return of the EC’s Welfare Fund’s moneys as a bargaining chip to have himself restored to his former post could very well constitute legitimate grounds for his immediate dismissal. Rather, what Mr. Agyei-Larbi ought to have done, if he really cared about his professional fortunes, ought to have been to have responsibly and wisely asked the EOCO authorities or the police to accompany him to his old office in order to enable him to promptly retrieve and rightly return the people’s money to where it belongs. And then he would have been able to effectively use the professional integrity which such “good behavior” would have afforded him to fight for his reinstatement. You see, the two issues of returning the Ghanaian taxpayer’s money to its rightful owner and seeking to have himself reinstated to his old post are not mutually inclusive.

Alas, in the glaring absence of taking these very elementary and commonsensical steps as a legitimate means of redeeming himself, Mr. Agyei-Larbi has, in fact, proven himself to be either grossly professionally incompetent or, at best, a public employee or servant with an inexcusably self-serving agenda who cannot be trusted with the business of the people.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
July 6, 2018
E-mail: ok[email protected]

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2018

This author has authored 4366 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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