The Accra High Court is expected to resume the hearing of an appeal filed by Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo and four other officials from the Ministry of Finance against the Auditor-General’s $1 million disallowance and surcharge in respect of the contract to Kroll and Associates.
The parties in the case will report back to the Supreme Court on their decision to return to the High Court to continue the case.
A document filed by Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo’s lawyer at the Supreme Court dated July 3, 2020 urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the case so that the parties can go back to the High Court to commence the hearing of the appeal.
This confirms a letter Mr Osafo-Maafo’s office received on July 3, 2020 from the office of the Auditor-General stating, among other things, that they were satisfied with the inspection carried out on documents covering the work done by Kroll and Associates.
The appellants are seeking to set the Surcharge by the Auditor-General aside and clear their names in relation to what is said to be breaches of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) that resulted in their payment of $1 million to a private firm, Kroll and Associates.
The Auditor-General, Mr Domelevo concluded that Kroll and Associates were paid for no work done following what he said was the persistent failure of the Senior Minister to provide proof of actual work done.
The Auditor-General, consequently, disallowed the payment of the $1 million to Kroll and Associates, which the government, through the Ministry of Finance, paid.
Mr Domelevo then surcharged the Senior Minister, Mr Osafo-Maafo, and the four other officials from the Ministry of Finance.
Mr Osafo-Maafo’s appeal before the High Court to set aside the decision of the Auditor-General which surcharged him and four other public servants was called by the High Court recently.
The appeal was consolidated with that of Kroll and Associates, who did the work for which the government paid them about $1m.
The High Court ordered that the parties appear before the Supreme Court to determine an application filed by Kroll & Associates on whether the disclosure of the documents evidencing work done by Kroll would be injurious to the security of the country.
On June 24, 2020, the parties appeared before the Supreme Court.
Lawyer for Mr Osafo-Maafo and the four others informed the Supreme Court that per a letter dated October 8, 2019, which the Auditor-General had placed before the High Court, Mr Osafo-Maafo had offered opportunity to the Auditor-General to avail themselves for purposes of inspection and study of the documents as the law entitles him to do.
However, the Auditor-General refused to accede to the request of Mr Osafo-Maafo.
A few days later, the Auditor-General took the decision to surcharge Mr Osafo-Maafo and the four others.
The Supreme Court, therefore, urged lawyers for the parties to endeavour to sort out the matter amicably, failing which the parties were to file their submissions 10 days from June 24, 2020.
On the evening of June 29, 2020, Mr Osafo-Maafo’s office received a letter dated June 25, 2020 and signed by Daniel Yaw Domelevo, the Auditor-General, informing Mr Osafo-Maafo that he would be available to meet Mr Osafo-Maafo’s team of at least three persons with the documents evidencing work done by Kroll and Associates at 9am on Monday, June 29 or Tuesday, June 30.
On July 2, 2020, a team of auditors from the Office of the Auditor-General, led by one of the deputy auditors, availed themselves at the office of Mr Osafo-Maafo.
The Deputy Auditor General who came to the office of the Senior Minister to inspect the documents was Mr George Swanzy Winful, together with Mr Nii Lamptey, the same two people who were sent by Mr Domelevo to conduct the audit in the first instance.
All relevant documents evidencing work done by Kroll and Associates and for which $1m was paid to them were inspected by the team.
The team, therefore, informed Mr Osafo-Maafo’s, among other things, that they were satisfied with the process of inspection, so their lawyers may inform the Supreme Court to enable the parties to return to the High Court to continue with the case.