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Take action against Audit Service Board; Presidency - CSOs urge Domelevo

BY: Edward Acquah
Daniel Yaw Domelevo
Daniel Yaw Domelevo

The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Against Corruption has urged the immediate past Auditor General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, to take action against the Audit Service Board and the Presidency over what they described as “administrative injustice.”

Describing the events leading to the retirement of Mr Domelevo as disappointing, the CSOs argued that the Audit Service Board had no authority under the country’s laws to determine the accuracy of Mr Domelevo’s date of birth.

In a statement issued after a press conference in Accra Wednesday [March 10, 2021], the coalition further noted that the decision by the President to “forcibly retire” Mr Domelevo on the same day he returned to post after his ‘involuntary’ leave confirmed its belief that the Auditor General “has been unfairly targeted.”

“Given the series of confrontations with the Audit Service Board, particularly its Chairman, Prof. Dua Agyamang has had with Mr Domelevo, it was only fair and consistent with the rules of natural justice for the matter to have been referred to the appropriate state agency or authority for its determination,” the coalition argued.

It added that “the hurriedly orchestrated queries and decision taken by the Audit Service Board, acting in concert with the Office of the President, and the President’s unilateral decision to forcibly retire the Auditor General on the same day he returned to post from an equally forced ‘accumulated leave’ confirms our belief that Mr Domelevo has been unfairly targeted.”

President’s directive

In a letter dated March 3, 2021 and addressed to Mr Domelevo, President Nana Akufo-Addo, through his secretary, Nana Bediatuo Asante said, “The attention of the President of the Republic has been drawn to records and documents made available to this office by the Audit Service that indicate that your date of birth is 1st June 1960 and that in accordance with
article 199 (1) of the Constitution, your date of retirement as Auditor-General was 1st June 2020.”

The letter further stated that “Based on this information, the President is of the view that you have formally left office,”

The President’s directive has since sent tongues wagging with some civil society organisations and anti-corruption crusaders describing the move as “unfair and unjust.”

Constructive dismissal

The CSOs in the statement described the President’s directive as a “constructive dismissal,” adding that it lacked legal justification.

The coalition noted with regret that the directive was issued at a time when the Supreme Court was yet to determine two suits relating to the constitutionality of the Auditor General’s ‘accumulated leave’ filed in ??? July and October 2020 respectively.???

“It is important for the Supreme Court to deal with these suits expeditiously to prevent any such actions by a future President. In the interest of promoting good governance, constitutionalism and public accountability, we call on the Supreme Court to deal with these two suits as soon as practicable,” it appealed.

Achievements

The coalition, however, commended Mr Domelevo for his “distinguished service” to the country as Auditor-General, citing a number of interventions he initiated during his tenure to protect the public purse.

“Through his diligence and commitment to protecting the public purse, the Auditor-General successfully recovered for the state tens of millions of cedis in unauthorised spending or misappropriated funds. For instance, in 2018, the Office of the Auditor General, leveraging its surcharge and disallowance powers, successfully recovered a total of GH¢67.32milion (about US $11.7million) into government coffers,” it added.