The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, has ruled that the directive issued by the Presidency to the former Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, compelling him to proceed on leave, is unconstitutional.
The court also deemed unconstitutional the appointment of an Acting Auditor-General while a substantive Auditor-General was in office.
This legal saga began in July 2020 when the Presidency initially instructed Mr. Domelevo to go on leave. When the former Auditor-General raised concerns about the lawfulness of this directive, his leave was extended from 123 days to 167, taking effect from July 1, 2020.
In a reaction to this, nine civil society groups took the matter to court, suing the Attorney General for their unlawful nature. The Centre for Democratic Development and eight other Civil Society Organizations who described the move as an affront to the independence of the office applied to the Supreme Court for a declaration that the action by the President was unconstitutional and null and void.
The suit filed in October 2020 was necessitated by the failure of the president to rescind the directive after several appeals.
After a two-year hearing, the apex court delivered its judgment, upholding the plea of the applicants.
The case was heard by Justices Nene Amegatcher, Prof Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Getrude Torkonoo, Prof Henrietta Mensah Bonsu and Emmanuel Kulendi.
The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, in June 2020, directed the Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, to proceed on his accumulated annual leave of 169 working days.
A statement from the Communications Directorate of the Jubilee House further directed Mr. Domelevo to hand over all matters relating to his office to his Deputy, Mr. Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu.
“The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has directed Mr. Yaw Domelevo, the Auditor-General, to take his accumulated leave of 123 working days, according to records available to the Presidency, with effect from 1st July 2020.”
The order for Mr Domelovo to proceed on leave came after the Senior Minister and four other officials from the Ministry of Finance sued Mr. Domelevo to clear their names in relation to what was said to be breaches of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) that resulted in their payment of US$1 million to a private UK firm, Kroll and Associates.
Mr. Osafo Maafo had said he was resorting to the courts because “the evidence available shows clearly that the Auditor-General erred in law and professional procedures in the exercise of his powers regarding his audit on payments to Kroll and Associates Limited.”
In May 2020, the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, was found guilty of contempt for failing to respond to a suit filed by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, which was challenging the $1m surcharge on him.
According to the court, the reason given by Mr. Domelevo for his inability to respond was “untenable and an afterthought.”