EC Chief Accountant returns Ghc76,402

Suspended chief accountant of the Electoral Commission (EC) has refunded the Commission’s internally generated funds which have been in his possession since 2016.

Kwaku Agyei Larbi who testified before the Chief Justices’ committee investigating the removal of the former EC commissioners, said the money was handed to him by the Assistant Director of Electoral Services Daniel Amenyor for safe-keeping.

The committee asked him to refund ¢360,000 which is supposed to be part of the endowment fund of the EC, failure which he will be charged with stealing.The money was part of the issues that sparked the petition for the removal of the EC Chair Charlotte Osei and her two Deputies.

In 2016, Mrs Osei filed a complaint with the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) asking them to launch investigations into the misappropriation of the endowment fund of the staff.

As part of the investigations, the Office ordered that some officers cited including Deputy Commissioner, Georgina Opoku Amankwa, the Finance Director and Mr Larbi should proceed on leave.

Ms Amankwah after staying home for some time actually challenged the authority of EOCO and came back to work after six months arguing she was employed by the president and not EOCO.On July 3, counsel for Mr Larbi wrote to the AG saying he will refund the money once he is reinstated after the committee recommended that he must return to work.

Interestingly, Mr Larbi paid ¢436,402 which is ¢76,402 more than he was expected to pay.

Explaining what happened, his lawyer John Asiedu said the money in the custody of his client was more than the ¢360,000 he was directed to refund.

“We told them we were holding an amount of over ¢72,000 which will be given back to the Commission once we were recalled from the leave. He was holding that in addition to the other amount awaiting disbursement when he was told to go on leave,” he said.

Defending why the amount was kept in the safe and not the Commission’s account, he said his client did not even know what the monies were for.

“As an accountant, one of his duties is to keep the fund for the officers of the Commission, “so he was only keeping it awaiting instructions,” he told Evans Mensah on Newsnight Thursday.

According to him, Mr Larbi has handed over every amount in his custody insisting “we have a complete tabulation of the monies given him.”