New Auditor General White Washes Kroll Associates Deal

on-leave Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo. on-leave Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo.

The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, is likely to walk out from the Supreme Court without blame, despite being cited for wrongdoing in the UK based audit firm Kroll and Associates contract with the Akufo-Addo government by the on-leave Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo.

This is because, the controversial contract, which has become subject of litigation between the two gentlemen at the apex court, appears rubbished by the newly promoted acting A-G Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, two days after his boss was shown state power and houndedout to start his accumulated leave by President Akufo-Addo.

The acting AG, whose first action has surprised and angered many Ghanaians, looks all set and battle ready to play ball with the powers that be just to have the Senior Minister and confidante of President Akufo-Addo, exonerated in a court of law suspected to be controlled by the government.

It follows claim by Mr Akuamoah Asiedu that he has inspected documents furnished byMr Osafo-Marfo, and that he was satisfied with the process, and so asked that the Supreme Court be informed appropriately about the latest development.

Interestingly, his on-leave tough boss, had disagreed with the same documents, hence forced to proceed on leave.

In a letter dated July 2, 2020 and addressed to the Senior Minister, Mr Akuamoah Asiedu, noted that he was satisfied with the inspection of the documents on the evidence of work done by Kroll Associates and that lawyers of the Senior Minister, could inform the Supreme Court appropriately. This means has cleared the Minister of any wrongdoing.

"Reference to our letter dated 25/6/2020 and yours dated 30/62020, and the inspection of the documents in your office on 2/72020.

The letter written by Mr Akuamoah Asiedu, less than 24-hours after his boss was sent home said "We wish to state that we are satisfied with the process and therefore propose that the lawyers inform the Supreme Court to enable the parties go back to the High Court to continue with the proceedings in that court".

The latest action by the acting-AG whose letter was leaked to the media last Saturday, has landed him attacks from a section of the Ghanaian public who say his behavior smacks of a man who was brought in to execute a certain agenda, describing him as a stooge not ready to protect the public purse, but rather the private interest of the members of the Akufo-Addo government.

 His critics say, his attempt to rush things to absolve the Senior Minister, is condemnable.

 The Supreme Court, had given lawyers for the Senior Minister 10 days from June 24, 2020, to submit their written submission, while the Auditor-General was tasked to inspect documents or evidence of work done for the Senior Minister, before going back to the Supreme Court.

 But before these actions were taken, Mr Domelevo was sent packing home, ensuring he was out of office before the inspection is carried out.

Yaw Domelovo, now on leave, had surcharged the Senior Minister over his failure to show evidence of work done by Kroll Associates for which they received $1million.

Using a single-source procurement process, the UK Company was contracted in 2017 to "review electronic evidence, identify assets abroad and manage a joint Civil and Criminal Assets recovery process".

By September 2018, $1 million, equivalent to ¢4.86 million was made to the company as full payment for its services.

But Mr Domelevo, whose work, has been applauded by many Ghanaians, including civil society groups,Catholic Bishop Conference and members of the diplomatic corps, accused the Senior Minister of paying the private firm, Kroll and Associates, $1 million for no work done. The AG's action was, however, challenged by the minister in a response tohis query.

Mr Osafo-Maafo, then instructed his lawyers to commence legal processes to challenge a "disallowance and surcharge imposed on me by the Auditor-General following his notice of the 24th October, 2019".

 The issue has since been in court until last week, President directed Mr Domelevo to begin his accumulated leave of 132 days.

Director of Communications at the Jubilee House, Eugene Arhin in the statement said, Mr Domelevo was expected to begin the leave on Wednesday July 1, 2020.

"The President's decision to direct Mr Domelevo to take his accumulated leave is based on sections 20 (1) and 31 of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), which apply to workers, including public office holders such as the Auditor-General.

"According to the Act, a worker is entitled to annual leave with full pay, in a calendar year of continuous service which cannot be relinquished or forgone by the worker or the employer," the statement said, adding since his appointment, Mr. Domelevo has only taken nine working days of his accumulated annual leave of 132 days.

Mr Domelevo was directed to hand over all matters relating to his office to the Deputy Auditor-General, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, until his return from his "well-deserved leave."

But in a response, Mr Domelevo, who has become a pain in the neck of government, asked the President to reconsider his directive for him to proceed on his accumulated leave.

According to him, although he was aware that his work was "embarrassing the government", the directive had "serious implications for the constitutional independence of the office of the Auditor-General."

Mr Domelevo's statement to government last Friday, said the President's directive was done in bad faith.

"Previous correspondence from the Chairman of the Audit Service Board (who works at the Office of the Senior Minister) together with public pronouncement by Ministers, make it clear that the Auditor-General's work is embarrassing the government," part of the A-G's statement read.

President Akufo-Addo in a statement dated Monday, June 29, and signed by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, directed Mr Domelevo to take his accumulated annual leave of 123 days from Wednesday 1, 2020 and hand over all matters relating to his office to Mr Akuamoah Asiedu, to act as Auditor-General.

The statement explained that the President's decision was based on sections 20 (1) and 31 of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) which apply to all workers, including public office holders such as the Auditor-General.

But in a three-page letter dated July 3, 2020, and addressed to the Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, Mr Domelevo, noted that although he has since taken his accumulated leave days as directed, the action by the President was unconstitutional and not in the best interest of the office of the Auditor-General and for that matter the country.

"I think it necessary, however, to bring to the attention of the high office of the President a few matters relevant to our constitutional governance, due process and the rule of law... My knowledge of recent labour law and practice in the country is that no worker is deemed to have accumulated any leave on account of their having failed, omitted, neglected or even refused to enjoy their right to annual leave, which the law guarantees for their benefit, not the employer.

"To the best of my knowledge therefore, where in any given year a worker fails, omits, neglects or even refuses to take their annual leave, such leave is deemed forfeited with no corresponding obligation on the part of the employer to enforce the worker's right to take their leave by assuming, deeming or declaring the forfeited leave, accumulated," the statement said.

It added that the action by the President was in bad faith as "the office must have been aware also that several appointees of the President, have not, since the year 2017 taken their annual leave to date."

"The direction therefore that I proceed on leave, oblivious of the other workers similarly circumstanced, gives the impression that the decision is not taken in good faith," the statement said.

In the Kroll and Associates Vrs. The Auditor-General case, the Supreme Court, offered the lawyers 10 days from June 24, 2020, to bring their written submission and the Auditor-General is to inspect documents or evidence of work done for the Senior Minister before going back to the Supreme Court".

However, on Saturday July 4, 2020, President Akufo-Addo, replied the AG's response letter describing as false, suggestions by him that he was directed to take his accumulated annual leave, because his work is embarrassing government.

Reacting to that, however, a rejoinder from the presidency indicated that Mr Domelevo, had been, prior to the directive, given all the resources he needed to do his work efficiently.

"Contrary to your false belief, the President does not think that your work is embarrassing his government.In fact, the President has ensured that you have been provided with all the necessary resources needed for the efficient running of the office of the Auditor-General and considers your work a critical part of good governance in the Republic," the statement said.

The statement also maintained that the President has, at all times acted based on the principles, rule of law and good governance practices.In view of that, it said, "the directive of the President stands" with an amendment to 167 instead of the initial 123 days since he added 2020 as part of the leave, in his response to the President.

Source: www.theheraldghana.com