Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare, aka Kwaku Azar, has sued the Attorney-General (AG), seeking to overturn President Akufo-Addo’s “167 working days” accumulated leave directive on Daniel Yaw Domelevo, which began July 1, 2020.
Kwaku Azar, an accounting professor based in the U.S., cited Section 20(1) of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) which reads “Every worker is entitled to not less than fifteen working days leave with full pay in any calendar year of continuous service,” then added section 31 which reads: “any agreement to forgo such leave is void”.
He charged, “Even though disguised as a directive to take accumulated annual leave of 167 days, the directive is actually a suspension of the Auditor-General who is being asked to pay for the suspension by a forced debit to his accrued vacation account.”
Prof Asare also averred that the acting Auditor-General, Johnson Asiedu Akuamoah has not taken the Oath of the Auditor-General, and prayed the court to stop him from acting as Auditor-General.
Kwaku Asare argued using Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution, that the work of the Auditor-General cannot be disturbed by Presidential directives, “whether couched as accumulated leave, involuntary leave, suspension, interdiction, temporary removal, disciplinary control, or however styled, and he may remain in office until he attains the compulsory retirement age of 60”.
He wants an expedited hearing of the motion for injunction and the substantive cause, but is it feasible given the approaching legal vacation season, which runs until November, and the Coronavirus pandemic which has necessitated limited court sittings.
It is common in Ghana for judgements in such matters to be delivered long after the harm has been done.
Ask the NPP; Isaac Amoo, who was deprived of his rightfully won Ayawaso West Wuogon parliamentary seat for practically the entire effective period of 1997 to 2001; and the late Peter Ala Adjetey (may he rest in peace) lead counsel for Amoo, and they will tell you bitter tales.
By a letter signed by Nana Bediatuo Asante, Secretary to the President, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, the Auditor-General was asked to proceed on an accumulated leave of 123 days covering the years 2017, 2018 and 2019. He responded with a protest letter, when upon Nana Bediatuo Asante replied that the president had added 44 more days covering 2020, and hence Domelevo should stay away for “167 working days”
The Auditor-General’s work has clearly been “embarrassing” the NPP administration; he has surcharged Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Senior Minister with the USD1 million paid to Kroll and Associates for purported building maintenance works with no proof of actual work done. That matter is being contested in court.
Last week, the Director-General of Ghana Education Service (GES), for example, wrote a letter asking all staff who had been affected by the Auditor-General’s payroll verification to submit some forms upon which some supervisors within the GES are to “manually” re-enter the names of the affected staff back onto the Government’s payroll, and this is happening while Domelevo is away.
GES has the highest number of employers on Government payroll, covering about 230K persons and is the biggest source of the so-called ghost names on government payroll, a major source of corruption, which Daniel Yaw Domelevo is credited with addressing.
Apart from Kwaku Azar, a coalition of NGOs have also taken action in support of Domelevo by signing a petition asking President Akufo-Addo to reinstate him.
With less than five months to the December election and the Ghanaian middle class, widely in support of the work of the Auditor-General, the President risks losing any credibility left in their attempt to fight corruption.
President Akufo-Addo promised to introduce the Office of Special Prosecutor “within six months of being elected”, during the 2016 campaign. By July 2017, he had gotten a law passed to that effect under a Certificate of Urgency in Parliament.
The nation has come three full years, and public trust in the highfalutin words of the President Akufo-Addo in fighting various scandals including the sale of excavators by anti-Galamsey committee members is gone.
The work of the Auditor-General largely only indicates after the event what has gone wrong; it does not usually cover current issues.
With the other so-called integrity institutions that check corruption such as the Serious Fraud Office fast asleep, and the Police CID and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, scandalously asking for a complainant before investigating anything, Ghana is steeply mired in corruption and the people are generally despondent.
All corruption perception surveys undertaken over the past three and a half years of the Akufo-Addo presidency show worsening perception of corruption and loss of hope in the president’s ability to fight corruption.
Clearly, as the Bible says, the thief cometh but in the night…... to steal, kill and destroy.
That is exactly what has happened in the fight against corruption in Ghana. Whoever has ears, let them hear, and rise to the “cause of freedom and of right”.
The author is a journalist, communications and media analyst and a writer. The views expressed are solely his and does not represent the organisation he works for.
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