The Deputy Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) in charge of Corporate Services, Georgina Opoku Amankwaa, has justified the decision to sign contracts worth GHc40m on behalf of the Commission without the authorization of her boss.
The allegation was made by the Chairperson of the EC Charlotte Osei against her deputy after Mrs. Osei responded to a petition against her by some staff of the election management body.
According to Mrs. Osei “Payments were also made on these contracts in excess of her approval limits and again, without the knowledge and authorisation of the chairperson. This is illegal, criminal and a breach of the policies of the commission and the laws of Ghana.”
But in a response, Mrs. Opoku Amankwa stated that she had the capacity to sign the contracts adding that she did nothing wrong.
“As a matter of principle and convention, the Chair of the Commission’s Entity Tender Committee (ETC) signs award of contract letters. As a result, the contracts under reference had already been approved by the Entity Tender Committee (ETC) which I was the chair. These contracts had been evaluated, reviewed and approved before the Commission gave the Chairperson of the ETC the mandate to sign. The contracts were in respect of procurement of election materials for the District Assembly elections.
“I was therefore in an official capacity to sign those contracts and so did I. It is important to underscore that the processes leading to the signing of these contracts had been concluded prior to her taking over as the Chair of the ETC.
“Election is time-bound and action-packed; therefore, failure to sign contracts timeously has the potential of putting the election calendar at peril. Given the fact that the Chairperson recluse herself from office without informing the deputies, there were few occasions I had to sign contracts in her continuing absence. This was done to ensure that the 2016 General Elections were not in jeopardy. This allegation is therefore frivolous, unmeritorious and borne out of bad faith,” she said.
Mrs. Opoku Amankwa also dismissed allegations that she unilaterally promoted regional directors in 2016 contrary to due process.
“As a Deputy Chair (C/S) it lies in my realm of responsibility to lead the EC team (the directors of Finance and Human Resource, Senior Staff and the Union) in collaboration with the Public Services Workers Union (PSWU of TUC). In all such cases, the commission was well briefed and informed. The attempt by the Chairperson to claim memory loss of events happening in the Commission, especially when minutes can be found on such letters is worrying.”