Civil servant James Keck Osei in Veep’s office wrote ‘unauthorised Ramadan rice’ letter
The letter James Keck Osei, a civil servant at the Office of the Vice President wrote to the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) seeking assistance in clearing 15 containers of rice was “unauthorised.”
Among others, the letter “falsely” conveyed that the Office of the Vice President needed the containers of rice for the Ramadan festivities, the Secretary to the Vice President, Augustine Blay has stated.
In a response to media reports on James Keck Osei, who is a civil servant [Administrator] at the Office of the Vice President and the subsequent investigations being undertaken by the Special Prosecutor in relation to the said letter, the Vice President's Office has explained that when the GRA did not comply with James Keck Osei's letter and rather informed him that there was another claimant to the rice, Osei withdrew the letter.
"On receipt of this information, Mr. James Keck Osei wrote another letter on 5th July 2022, to withdraw his letter of 27th April 2022. In this second letter, Mr. Osei stated that the Commissioner should cancel any prior action taken based on his previous letter," the Vice President's office statement issued Tuesday, Feb 14, 2023 stated.
Lifestyle audit by OSP
Four people, made up of three public servants and one civil servant (James Keck Osei) have been arrested and charged by the Special Prosecutor on corruption related offences.
It followed a Lifestyle Audit by the Special Prosecutor on them and a request for them to declare the source of their various incomes and their refusal to do so.
The Special Prosecutor has charged them for failing to comply and declare sources of income in contravention of regulation 20 of L.I. 2374.
The four are Issah Seidu, James Keck Osei, John Abban and Peter Archibald Hyde.
The Special Prosecutor arraigned them at the High Court (Criminal Division) in Accra on Monday, February 13, 2023.
Issah Siedu works with the National Insurance Commission (NIC) while James Keck Osei works with the Office of the Vice President as an administrator.
John Abban and Peter Archibald Hyde are senior Officers with Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
In court on Monday, Nana Asare, lawyer for the first accused person - Issah Seidu - charged for failing to declare his assets, and the prosecutor, Emmanuel Basintale from the OSP traded various allegations at the Accra High Court.
The lawyer - Nana Asare - accused the Special Prosecutor of allegedly coming into a purely civil matter due to his ties to a party in the case.
According to counsel, his client - Issah Seidu (the first accused person) had sued the petitioner over the ownership of some imported rice.
It was during the exchanges between the lawyers in court on Monday that the petitioner said he has come across documents from the Office of the Vice President addressed to the Commissioner of Customs to release the goods imported by the petitioner to A1 (Seidu) because the Office of the Vice President wanted to use the rice for Ramadan,” he said.
Related article: OSP Case on lifestyle audit: Veep's office wanted seized rice for Ramadan - Prosecutor
Below is a full copy of the response signed by the Secretary to the Vice President, Augustine Blay.
On 27th April 2022, Mr. James Keck Osei addressed an unauthorized letter to the Commissioner General of GRA seeking assistance in clearing fifteen containers of rice.
Among others, the letter falsely conveyed that the Office needed the containers of rice for the Ramadan festivities.
The Ghana Revenue Authority did not comply with Mr. Keck Osei's letter but rather informed him that there was another claimant to the rice. On receipt of this information, Mr. James Keck Osei wrote another letter on 5th July 2022, to withdraw his letter of 27th April 2022. In this second letter, Mr. Osei stated that the Commissioner should cancel any prior action taken based on his previous letter.
In September 2022, it came to the attention of the Office of the Vice President that Mr. James Keck Osei has been invited to the Office of the Special Prosecutor to assist in an investigation related to rice importation.
The Office of the Vice President was satisfied with the decision by the Special Prosecutor to continue with its investigation into the matter, resulting in a decision announced on Friday, 10th February 2023, that Mr. Osei has been arraigned to appear before court on Monday, 13th February 2023.
Pursuant to the announcement by the Special Prosecutor, the Chief Director at the Office of the President has begun investigating the matter in accordance with the civil service procedures, rules and regulations and where a breach is established in respect of Civil Service rules and regulations, the service shall apply the necessary sanctions.
It is ONLY the Secretary to the Vice President who is mandated to write letters on behalf of the Office of the Vice President and Mr. Osei did not have any such authority.