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Office Of Special Prosecutor Rice Case: The Inside Story

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The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has distanced himself from a letter written in his name by James Keck Osei, a Director of Administration in his office over a request for clearance of some 15 containers loaded with bags of rice from the Tema Port.

Per a letter from the Vice President’s Secretariat signed by Augustine Blay, Secretary to the Vice President, sighted by DGN Online highlighted how Keck Osei attempted to secretly clear the rice by using the name of Dr. Bawumia.

According to the letter, on April 27, 2022, Mr. Osei addressed an unauthorized letter to the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) seeking assistance for the clearance of the 15 containers of rice among others.

The letter stated that the Vice President needed the rice for Ramadan festivities which the Vice President Office has described as false.

However, the GRA did not comply with the request of Keck Osei as GRA informed him that there is another claimant to the rice.

Interestingly, upon receiving such letter from the GRA, Keck Osei acting on pressure wrote another letter to withdraw his initial letter, asking the Commissioner to cancel any action taken based on his previous letter.

The Vice President’s attention was then drawn to an invitation extended to Mr. Keck Osei by the Office of Special Prosecutor somewhere in September 2022 in relation to the rice importation for the first time.

The Office of the Vice President expressed satisfaction with the investigations being conducted by the OSP into the matter followed by arraignment of Keck Osei before court on February 13, 2023 after announcement on February 10.

The Chief Director at the Presidency has also begun its internal investigations into the matter in accordance with Civil Service procedures, rules and regulations to identify whether breach is established in respect to civil service rules and regulations so the service shall apply the necessary sanctions.

“It is only the Secretary to the Vice President who is only mandated to write letters on behalf of the Office of the Vice President and Keck Osei did not have any such authority.” the statement said.

This explaination comes after the Office of the Special Prosecutor in a statement on Friday said it has arrested four persons – three public servants and one civil servant – and charged them for failing to declare their sources of income.

The four, Issah Seidu, James Keck Osei, John Abban and Peter Archibald Hyde who were arriagned before the High Court (Criminal Division) in Accra on Monday, 13 February 2023.

According to the Office of the Special Prosecutor, Mr Siedu works with the National Insurance Commission while James works with the Office of the Vice President as an administrator.

A statement from the Office of the Vice President confirmed that Mr. Keck Osei is a Civil Servant with many years of working experience at the Jubilee House “dating back to periods before this government came into force.”

It however stressed that “the facts as disclosed by the charge sheets suggest it is a personal matter, unconnected to the Office or his role in the Office.”

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