Domelevo saga: Akufo-Addo has not breached any law -Gov’t
The government says it disagrees with the stance of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that the Auditor General’s leave order would undermine the country’s fight against corruption.
The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, addressed a news conference, in which he strongly shared a contrary view to that of the CSOs.
Though he commended the CSOs for upholding the tenets of democracy, particularly on the issue of the leave directive, Mr Oppong-Nkrumah sharply opined that other people may disagree with the position of the COSs as well.
“But we respectfully disagree with them. If it is their view that the actions should not have been exercised, because, in their opinion, it will undermine Ghana’s ranking on international platforms when it comes to anti-corruption fight, I’m sure there will be others who will disagree with that,” he said.
Some 500 CSOs have come together to advocate for the Auditor General to be brought back to work, claiming the government’s decision was not proper.
According to the group, the action “gravely weakens the President’s fight against corruption, and his standing in the eyes of the international community as someone committed to public accountability. They further cited the creation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
The CSOs, as part of the advocacy, have introduced a hashtag ‘BringBackDomelevo’ to compel the government to rescind its decision on the Auditor General.
However, at the media briefing, the Information Minister observed that such groups have not come together in this manner to say the President’s directive was contrary to the Constitution.
“What is happening today, I think it’s good for our democracy. You’ll recall that this is not the first time a sitting President has exercised the powers under the Labour Act reference to somebody in the Audit Service in this manner,” he asserted.
He continued: “I do not recall civil society groups coming together to do a press conference and to launch a hashtag to say that that action was unconstitutional, and must be reversed as it is happening in this particular matter, and I think that, that is a growth of our democracy; that when civil society groups believe that they hold a position that they firmly hold onto, they should be able to come forward and take it up a notch higher beyond what they would done at lectures in times past, and I think that is a growth in our democracy,” Nkrumah said.
The proceed on accumulated leave directive by the government to the Auditor General has triggered controversies among various stakeholders.
Reports indicated the government had to step in after Mr Domelevo gave the Board a slap in the face when he was told to take his leave.
It has been said that the Auditor General told the Board it could not order him to proceed on leave, because the latter was not the appointing authority, the reason a request was sent to the President by the Board.
In his response to the directive from the Presidency, the Auditor General argued that based on the recent labour law and practice, “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.”
Mr Domelevo also alleged he was being forced to proceed on mandatory leave at a time his office was having a showdown with the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, over the Kroll deal.
The Auditor General further claimed in his protest letter to Jubilee House that the latter’s action was motivated by his performance, which, he said, was embarrassing the government.
Meanwhile, the government has refuted that assertion, saying it did not direct him to proceed on his accumulated yearly leave because it felt embarrassed by the Auditor General’s work.
Jubilee House told the Auditor General that “contrary to your false belief, the President does not think your work is embarrassing his government.”
Jubilee House had directed Mr Yaw Domelevo to take his accumulated leave, from 2017 to 2019, which summed up to 123 days. But, following the Auditor General’s response, by way of challenging the directive saying that he was rather taking his 2020 leave, the government said it had then added it to the previous days, bringing the total number to 167.