The Board of the Audit Service has explained why the lock to the office of the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo was changed whilst he is currently on 167-days leave.
According to the Board Chairman of the Audit Service, Professor Edward Dua Agyeman the assertion that Mr Domelevo has been locked out from his office was not true and that even though the lock has been changed, the keys were available to Mr Domelevo.
He insisted that Mr Domelevo has not been prevented from accessing the office and that all that the board is seeking to do is that, it wants the acting Auditor-General, Mr Akuamoah Asiedu to be aware anytime Mr Domelevo enters the office.
This, he said was because a day after, he [Domelevo] started his leave, Mr Domelevo on the blind side of the acting entered the office, picked some documents and a letterhead and wrote a letter to the presidency.
Explaining the circumstances to Graphic Online at the Supreme Court premises on Wednesday when the case challenging the constitutionality of the president’s directive to Mr Domelevo to proceed on leave came up for hearing, Prof Dua Agyeman said when Mr Domelevo got to the office on Tuesday, and was unsuccessful in opening the door with the keys he already had in his possession, he was told that he could access the new key from the cashier but he angrily stormed out and chose to go to the media with the information.
Prof Dua Agyeman’s explanation came when Graphic Online approached him for a response after the court case at the Supreme Court.
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Prof Dua Agyeman said “he [Domelevo] came back and collected some documents including a letterhead to write back to the President and then the acting Auditor-General [Akuamoah Asiedu] also said he wasn’t happy about the security of that office and therefore he is suggesting that we [board] secure the place.”
“The board authorised him [acting] to buy new locks and secure the place. When he had done that, he gave the key to the secretary of Mr Domelevo. My [Dua Agyeman] information is that the secretary decided that she will not keep the keys. The keys was again given to the Deputy Auditor-General in charge of Finance and Administration.
“So he kept the keys with the cashier and as we speak now the keys are with the cashier. Yesterday [Tuesday] the acting Auditor-General informed me that Mr Domelevo came to the office, went straight to his office and couldn’t get in and so he came back to inform him that he has not been given access to the place.
“So he informed him that the board asked him to secure the place and that the keys are with the cashier so he should go for it.
“My information from the acting Auditor-General is he [Domelevo] was very furious… and then said he wasn’t going for it [key] and then he went straight to Joy FM and the other FM stations…
“His office is there, the keys are available with the cashier, if he wants to go there, he must get to the acting Auditor-General and he will direct him where he can get the keys to his office. Nobody has locked him out of the office.
“Anytime that he wants to come there, the courtesy is for him to [tell the acting that] I’m here to pick A,B,C,D but you don’t just go there and take anything that you like and go back.
He explained that the acting is operating from his own office and that Mr Domelevo still have access to his office and that all the board is seeking to do is, it wants the acting to be aware anytime Mr Domelevo goes to the office as part of the security protocol.
“He doesn’t have to go to the radio stations anytime there is a small problem, radio stations are not meant for such things. You people [media] should have been able to distinguish between what may have prevented him from not going there.”
“He can go to the office today if he wants to go there. It is a matter of courtesy, tell the acting – Akuamoah Asiedu – that look, I’m coming to my office, where are the keys. He cannot just go there at night or day [without the acting knowing].
He said when he [Dua Agyeman] was the Auditor-General he never kept the keys to his office and that the secretary always kept the key or whoever cleans the place.
“We are fed up with the fact that anytime he goes to the radio station. Any small thing he goes to the radio station. Yesterday, was it necessary for him to go to the radio station, they [media] started calling me that I [Dua Agyeman] has locked him out, nobody has locked him out.”
Mr Domelevo, who is currently on 167-days leave on Tuesday said he had learnt that the lock to his office had been changed.
Mr Domelevo said he went to the office Tuesday afternoon to pick up some documents but could not access his office because the locks had been changed.
According to him, he then enquired from the acting Auditor-General, Mr Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, who confirmed that the Audit Service Board Chairman, Professor Edward Dua Agyeman, had asked him to change the locks to protect documents.
Confirming the incident to Graphic Online, Mr Domelevo expressed reservation at the development, saying for something like that to happen, he should have been informed because he remained in active service and that was his office.
Mr Domelevo’s 167-days accumulated leave has been shrouded in a lot of controversies.
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- Domelevo’s leave directive can’t be reversed – Presidency
The Presidency in a statement dated Monday, June 29, and signed by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Mr Eugene Arhin, directed Mr Domelevo to take an accumulated annual leave of 123 days from July 1, 2020.
The letter asked Mr Domelevo to hand over all matters relating to his office to Mr Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, the Deputy Auditor-General, to act as Auditor-General, “until his return from his well-deserved leave.”
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.
However, in a three-page letter dated July 3, 2020, and addressed to the Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, Mr Domelevo asked the President Akufo-Addo 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 noted that although he had 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.
A second letter dated July 3, 2020, and signed by the Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, said the Office of the President decided to increase the accumulated annual leave of the Auditor-General from the initial 123 to 167 working days to include his period of leave for the year 2020 other than the earlier directive which only calculated the accumulated leave days from 2017 to 2019.
In the mid of the back and forth a coalition of many civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) launched a nationwide campaign against the directive by President Akufo-Addo to Mr Domelevo to proceed on his accumulated leave.
In a campaign dubbed: “Bring Back Domelevo“, the coalition, which comprises the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and over 400 members of the CSOs Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), called on the President to reverse the “proceed on leave” decision in the interest of accountability and democratic governance.
Domelevo’s leave directive can’t be reversed – Presidency
However, in a response to the petition, the Office of the President said President Nana Akufo-Addo will not change his stance on the directive for the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo to proceed on leave.
The Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo in a response to a petition it received from some Ghanaians home and abroad said Nana Akufo-Addo’s position on the matter remains the same.
While acknowledging the reasons cited by the petitioners as the basis for their calling on the president to rescind the decision, the Office of the President said all the arguments had been considered before the decision to ask Mr Domelevo to proceed on leave was taken.
“The President encourages people to be citizens and not spectators and therefore, your petition is welcome, and its contents have been duly noted. However, the position of the President as contained in the letter dated 3rd July 2020 from this Office to the Auditor-General remains the same. The arguments made in your petition were considered prior to the President taking the decision to request Mr. Daniel Domelevo to take his accumulated leave from 1st July 2020. Accordingly, the President is unable to grant the request in your petition,” the letter noted.