Auditor-General Being “Persecuted” For Fighting Corruption

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– CDD Boss &Vitus Azeem Cry Out

The Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh, has stated that there was the “impression” and “perception” that the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, is being “persecuted” for daring to fight corruption.

Mr Domelevo, has been accused of procurement breaches and was recently invited by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for questioning.

In Prof Prempeh’s view, even though “nobody is infallible”, “the kind of [situation where] every move he [A-G] makes, then somebody is trying to checkmate him, definitely does give the impression that, he is being persecuted, which is not right,” he condemned during an interview on Class 91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show yesterday.

Asked, if Mr Domelevo, is being targeted due to his strong stance against corruption, Prof Prempeh answered: “That is the perception that people get and we in civil society are worried about that”.

“He [Mr.Domelevo] has exhibited, in many of the things that he has done, that he means business for the Republic; he is trying to get things moving. He has given the Auditor-General’s office a different kind of profile than it had in the past. The surcharges are a good thing,” he noted.

A private citizen lodged a complaint with EOCO against the A-G, the Deputy A-G (Finance and Administration) Mrs Roberta Assiamah-Appiah and the Audit Service Board, accusing them of circumventing the procurement laws in procuring some vehicles for the Audit Service.

The petitioner holds the view that, the Audit Service flouted the Procurement Law, Act 663, in the purchase of vehicles for the office of the A-G at a cost of approximately GHS6.2 million.

The petitioner entreated EOCO to investigate the matter and determine whether due processes were followed and recommend appropriate sanctions in accordance with the Public Procurement Act, Act 663, if any procurement guideline was flouted.

However, in a letter dated November 18, 2019, Mr Domelovo, rejected the EOCO probe, stating that the investigative body, does not have the mandate to investigate procurement breaches.

Mr Domelevo wrote a strongly worded letter to EOCO, urging the institution to immediately stop what he calls the unlawful investigations into allegations that himself and the Ghana Audit Service breached the law when some vehicles were procured in 2018.

“Your office does not have the jurisdiction to investigate corruption-related offences which has been defined in Act 959 to include breaches of the Public Procurement Act,” the letter said in part.

Reacting to the letter in an interview with the state-owned Daily Graphic, the Executive Director of EOCO, COP Frank Adu-Poku (Rtd) said, Mr Domelevo cannot place his own interpretation on the authority of EOCO and its operations, explaining: “That interpretation, if any, should be done by the courts”.

EOCO hits back at the Auditor General, for saying that an ongoing investigation into alleged procurement breaches at the Audit Service, was unlawful.

Frank Adu-Poku, told Daily Graphic that he was disgusted by the views expressed by Mr Domelevo.

“Yes, I just received a copy of the letter. But if he [Auditor General] has any difficulty with our mandate, he cannot sit in the comfort of his office and proffer his own interpretation to suit his whims and caprices,” Mr.Adu-Poku was quoted by Daily Graphic on Tuesday.

The EOCO boss added: “That interpretation, if any, should be done by the courts,” he said, adding his outfit is preparing a fitting response to the contents of Auditor General’s letter.

But anti-Corruption campaigner, Vitus Azeem, also joined the fray, saying the latest standoff between the Auditor-General and the EOCO, lends credence to the perception by some persons that Mr Domelevo is being hounded.

He’s issued a five-day ultimatum to EOCO to render an apology to him and his staff.

Vitus Azeem in an interview, described the standoff between the two state agencies as unfortunate, as they both are supposed to be doing almost the same job which is fighting corruption.

“That makes people to think that there must be an ulterior motive in this whole affair. Because I’m a colleague you’re inviting me to come for you to ask questions and all of a sudden you said I have to get somebody to bail me meanwhile you’re just at the beginning of the investigation and you have not found anything that I’ve done wrong.

I think that there are two things, one, EOCO should quickly withdraw from it and render the apology and refer the matter to the Office of Special Prosecutor. Just say our attention has been drawn to the fact that we shouldn’t have started this investigation so please we are just referring it to you. But if EOCO insists then the Auditor-General will also evoke his right and the law that you have no right to do this and I’m not going to subject myself to this.”

Vitus Azeem, urged EOCO to apologise to Danielo Domelevo, for initiating investigations against him.

“I think that there are two things, one, EOCO should quickly withdraw from it and render the apology and refer the matter to the Office of Special Prosecutor. Just say our attention has been drawn to the fact that we shouldn’t have started this investigation so please we are just referring it to you. But if EOCO insists then the Auditor-General will also evoke his right and the law that you have no right to do this and I’m not going to subject myself to this,” he told Starr News Monday.

The petition filed by a private citizens against the Auditor-General filed at EOCO accused him of corruption.The petition stated that the Audit Service had allegedly breached the Procurement Law, Act 663 in the procurement of vehicles worth almost GH¢6.2 million.

But in his defence, Mr Domelovo, argued that he was not directly involved in the said procurement of cars and so cannot be held accountable.

“A careful reading of your enabling law, the Economic and Organised Crime Act, 2010 (Act 804) as amended by the Office of Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act959) and from discussions with my lawyers, I am of the firm belief that your office does not have the mandate to investigate any breaches under the public procurement Act.

“In fact, I am advised that the relevant provision in Act 959 which amended Act 804 in section 80 and therein, your office’s mandate to investigate corruption and corruption-related offences, which has been defined to include procurement breaches has been taken away.

“Thus, this power your office purports to exercise now has been effectively taken away by the amendment contained in section 79 of Act 959. This clearly means that your office does not have the jurisdiction to investigate corruption-related offences which has been defined in Act 959 to include breaches of the Public Procurement Act.

“It is quite bizarre and unfathomable why your office would purport to be investigating procurement breaches.  Mr Domelovo, added that his office will not cooperate with the EOCO if it continues with its unlawful investigations into procurement breaches.

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