Akufo-Addo’s proceed-on-leave directive to Domelevo threatens democracy – Coalition of CSOs

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Tue, 7 Jul 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The Ghana Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, an alliance of over 400 organisations, has urged the President to rescind an order to the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, to proceed on leave.

The CSOs say President Nana Akufo-Addo’s action is a threat to the independence of the office Auditor-General and other independent governance institutions.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Dr Kojo Asante, who addressed the media on behalf of the over 400 CSOs, said legal justifications for the controversial move is most regrettable.

“First, some aspects of the decision of the President on the face of it may be grounded in law, however, when examined overall in the context of the 1992 Constitution, particularly in relation to the independence of the Auditor General, it operates to interfere with the mandate of the Auditor General.

“The framers of the 1992 Constitution could not have intended to create a simple employer-employee relationship between the appointing authority (in this case the President) and the Auditor-General thereby making the President a Human Resource Manager, administering the leave schedule of heads of independent governance institutions,” he stated.

He added: “We find the entire episode and the justification for the President’s action regrettable and inconsistent with both the letter and spirit of the 1992 Constitution. In our estimation, such actions only weaken our quest for good democratic governance grounded in the principle of checks and balances, rule of law and the pursuit of public accountability.”

Mr Domelevo has been compelled by a letter from the Presidency to take his accumulated 167 days leave, spanning some three years of continuous service.

Although the action has been justified by the Presidency as appropriate and grounded in the law governing Public Service Commission, the decision has been criticised by some legal experts.

Critics say the proceed-on-leave directive is inappropriate because the nature of the law that creates the Auditor General's office is similar to those that created the office of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Commissioner and the Chief Justice, and hence must not be under the control of the Executive.

Speaking at the press conference, Dr Asante said it would be an absurdity for the Constitution to grant the Executive such sweeping powers and will operate to interfere with the independence of those offices.

“If this logic was to be extended, then it means the President can presumably direct the Auditor General as to which international conference he can and cannot attend; a matter which ordinarily would be managed as an HR function.

Just imagine a situation where a President asks the Chair of the Electoral Commission to go on leave in the middle of her preparations for the voter registration exercise. In a context like that, a fair-minded person is likely to believe that the President is not acting in good faith,” he said.

Meanwhile, the man who has been asked to act in the capacity of Mr Domelevo while he is on leave, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, recently cleared the details of a transaction that Mr Domelevo had raised issues with.

Mr Asiedu stated in a letter to the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, that he was satisfied with the documents relating to the $1 million Kroll and Associates Limited deal.

Mr Domelevo had stated after an audit that there was no evidence of work done in that deal.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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