Valerie Sawyerr drags EOCO to court

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh
 Ms Valerie Sawyerr
Ms Valerie Sawyerr

A former Deputy Chief of Staff, Ms Valerie Sawyerr has dragged the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to court over findings on alleged procurement breaches committed at Ghana Gas, where she served on the board.

Ms Sawyerr wants the High Court to quash the said audit report implicating her on the grounds that there were statutory breaches, as well as, breaches of the rule of natural justice.

She is consequently, praying the court to right the wrongs committed against her, by “making the order of certiorari, quashing the said audit report and observations against the applicant and the other reliefs as prayed.”

Also joined to the suit as respondents are the Attorney General and the acting Executive Director of the EOCO, Mr K.K. Amoah.

Audit

The applicant, between August 2011 and January 2016, was a member of the board of directors of Ghana National Gas Company, incorporated by the Government of Ghana holding 100% shares.

According to the applicant, the EOCO boss engaged a private firm, Morrison and Associates to conduct forensic audit into some state organsiations, including the Ghana Gas Company Limited and as a result she was invited by the EOCO for questioning.

A statement of case accompanying the applicant’s motion for judicial review filed on her behalf by her lawyer, Mr Godwin Edudzi Tameklo, indicated that the report alleged that there were procurement breaches at Ghana Gas to wit, inflation of contracts sums and non-performance of contracts.

Other allegations included non-enforcement and breach of contract.

Invitation

The applicant said she was on September 25, 2018, invited via text message by the EOCO on the grounds that she was a subject of interest and as a result, her solicitors wrote to the Auditor-General, who was required by law to conduct audits into public companies and further requested for a certified true copy of the said Audit Report, which made serious adverse findings against the board members of Ghana National Gas Company Limited, including herself.

The applicant further stated that the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Demelevo on October 1, 2018, responded to her official enquiry indicating that he had not commissioned Morrison and Associates to audit Ghana National Gas Company and did not have the report she was requesting.

The applicant argues that a cursory examination of the Procurement laws will show that Parliament had vested the powers of investigation or audit into allegations of breaches of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), as amended, to the Board of the Public Procurement Authority.

She is also arguing that the respondents had breached the rules of natural justice by not giving her a fair hearing and for that reason the court should quash the findings.

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