In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Ghana has declared President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s directive to former Auditor General Daniel Domelovo to proceed on 169 working days of accumulated leave as unconstitutional.
The apex court upheld the plea of the Centre for Democratic Development and eight other Civil Society Organizations, who had challenged the move as an affront to the independence of the office.
The suit, filed in October 2020, was necessitated by the president’s failure to rescind the directive despite several appeals. The hearing, which lasted for two years, drew widespread attention and debate in Ghana.
The court’s ruling is expected to be welcomed by those who believe in safeguarding the independence of key institutions in a functioning democracy, such as the Auditor General’s office.
The Supreme Court’s decision may also set a critical precedent for future actions by the executive branch that could be viewed as infringing upon the autonomy of other vital offices within the country.
The ruling marks a significant victory for the Centre for Democratic Development and other Civil Society Organizations that have been at the forefront of calling for good governance, transparency, and accountability. It also sends a clear message to the government and all stakeholders that the rule of law and the independence of institutions must be respected at all times.
President 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, 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.”
By Vincent Kubi