September 24, 2020

Supreme Court strikes out injunction application against acting as Auditor-General

The Supreme Court has struck out an injunction application seeking to stop Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu from acting as Auditor-General.

The seven-member panel on the case struck out the application after lawyers for the plaintiffs withdrew the case.

The withdrawal of the injunction application followed a ruling that the acting Auditor-General and the substantive Auditor-General whose names were listed as defendants to the suit were not proper parties.

A US-based lawyer Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare, is in court challenging President Akufo-Addo’s directive for Dominic Domelevo, the substantive Auditor-General, to proceed on his accumulated leave.

The question of legal representation for Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo became contentious when a case filed against his official capacity by legal practitioner Isaac Wilberforce Mensah, was called at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

Mr. Mensah is questioning the independence of the Auditor-General in relation to the limitation on his administrative actions.

The suit was filed against the Auditor-General, the Audit Service Board and the Attorney-General.

Though Mr. Domelevo announced Kizito Beyou and Kofi Bentil as his lawyers on record, a Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame, also announced himself as representing the Auditor-General and the Audit Service Board.

Also, both the substantive Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo, and the Acting Auditor-General, Johnson Akuamoa Asiedu were both present in court for the case.

Though Mr. Beyuo said he had the instruction of the Office of the Auditor-General to represent the Office in the matter, Mr. Dame maintained it laid within the mandate of the Attorney General’s Department to represent all public officials in legal matters.

In what looked like a frustration for the court, Justice Dotse remarked that “the office of the Auditor-General is a very important office under the scheme of our dispensation and nobody should toy with it”.

Justice Nene Amegatcher, on the other hand, insisted that “the Auditor-General, though an office, has a human being in it”.

The court thus said it refused to be drawn into the conflict and directed the parties to go and resolve the issue by themselves.

The Office of the President on July 4 extended the leave period of the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo from 123 days to 167 effective July 1, 2020.

This came in the wake of concerns raised by Mr. Domelovo over the directive to take his accumulated leave because his work, according to him, is embarrassing the government.

A letter by Mr. Domelevo dated July 3, 2020, outlined a series of reasons why he believes the directive leaves much to be desired including what he described as “bad faith on the part of the Presidency.”

Prof. Asare is one of key legal analysts who called out the move by the Presidency describing it as unconstitutional. He argues that, the office of the Auditor-General is a very important position that should not be toyed with.

He maintains annual leave is by nature voluntary. He also explains that, it is a right earned by an employee that should not be available to the appointing authority to be deployed as a sanction to exercise disciplinary control.

Source: Business