CSOs urge Supreme Court to deal with two suits

…Encourage Domelevo to go to CHRAJ

The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations Against Corruption has requested the Supreme Court of Ghana to determine two cases pending before it on the constitutionality of the Auditor General’s forced ‘accumulated leave’ by President Akufo-Addo.

The group contends that the crux of the issues raised in the two suits are relevant regardless of the current state of affairs; that is the forced retirement of Auditor General Daniel Yaw Domelevo. 

“The suits border on the broader issues of whether or not a President could exercise administrative authority over Independent Constitutional Bodies (ICBs). Therefore, it is important for the Supreme Court to deal with these suits expeditiously to prevent any such actions by a future President,” said Dr. Kojo Pumpuni Asante, Director, Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).

Pending suits

In July 2020, President Akufo-Addo directed Mr Domelevo to take his ‘accumulated leave’ of 167 days. 

Soon after the directive, Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare, popularly known as Kwaku Azar, sued the Attorney-General (AG), seeking to set aside the Auditor-General’s 167 days ‘accumulated leave’, which Mr Domelevo was forced to commence on 1st July 2020.

He was praying the Supreme Court to rule that the directive by the president was inconsistent with the letter and spirit of Article 187(7)(a) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

Subsequently, in October 2020, nine civil society groups also jointly sued the Attorney General over the same directive to Mr Domelevo to proceed on the 167-day ‘accumulated leave.’

“In the interest of promoting good governance, constitutionalism and public accountability, we call on the Supreme Court to deal with these two suits as soon as practicable,” Dr Pumpuni Asante stated on behalf of the group when he addressed a media briefing in Accra on Wednesday. 

Administrative injustice

On 3rd March 2021 when Mr Domelevo returned to work after serving his ‘accumulated leave’ President Akufo-Addo directed him to retire because of a discovery that his date of birth was 1st June 1960 and not 1st June 1961.

Dr Pumpuni Asante told journalists “The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations is extremely disappointed and saddened with this development, and especially with the manner in which the matter has been handled by the Presidency acting in concert with the Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Prof. Edward Dua-Agyemang.” 

He indicated that the facts and circumstances surrounding Mr Domelevo’s forced retirement “give credence to our belief that Mr. Domelevo was unfairly targeted merely for pursuing his constitutional mandate.”

Consequently, the group has urged Mr Domelevo “to take action against the Audit Service Board and the Presidency for administrative injustice” by petitioning the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

The group believes that Mr Domelevo would be safeguarding his exemplary work if he seeks redress against his unfair treatment. 

“Auditor-General Domelevo’s exemplary work has not gone unnoticed. The World Bank, in its 2020 Global Report titled ‘Enhancing Government Effectiveness and Transparency: The Fight Against Corruption’…singled out Ghana’s Auditor-General for praise for the positive impact of his work on public accountability efforts in Ghana. It is no surprise, therefore, that in 2019, Auditor-General Domelevo received an award for ‘Integrity Personality of the Year’ at the maiden Ghana Integrity Awards organized by Ghana Integrity Initiative, the local chapter of Transparency International,” the group emphasised. 

Report by Frederick Asiamah, Journalist, Corruption Watch

E-mail: f.asiamah@cw-ghana.org

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