The Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, has written a letter to the Presidency urging President Akufo-Addo to reconsider the directive to proceed on his accumulated leave.
According to him, the directive breaches the labour law and is unconstitutional.
In the letter, he argued that based on 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.”
“I consider it an honour to be of service to the State and urge that you reconsider the directive in order to protect the sanctity of the labour law, the constitution and the independence of the Auditor-General which is of utmost importance in so far as ensuring that the constitutional principles of probity, transparency and accountability are concerned,” he added.
The President directed Mr. Domelevo to proceed on his accumulated annual leave of 123 working days.
Mr. Domelevo has made use of nine out of his 132 annual leave days since assuming office in December 2016.
It was to take effect from Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
The Presidency said the directive was based on sections 20(1) and 31 of the Labour Act, 2003 (651).
The first part of section 20 indicates that: “In any undertaking, every worker is entitled to not less than fifteen working days leave with full pay in any calendar year of continuous service.”
Section 31 says: “Any agreement to relinquish the entitlement to annual leave or to forgo such leave is void.”
It also cited as precedent President John Atta Mills asking the then Auditor-General, Edward Dua Agyeman, to also proceed on his 264 days accumulated annual leave back in 2009.
Suspicions of bad faith
As part of the directive, Mr. Domelevo was to hand over his responsibilities to the Deputy Auditor-General, Johnson Akuamoah.
But he feels such a move would have “serious implications for the constitutional independence of the office of the Auditor-General.”
Mr. Domelevo said he had observed that his work was “embarrassing the government” based on the posturing of some ministers and correspondence he had had with the Chairman of the Audit Service Board who he noted works at the Office of the Senior Minister.
He also noted that the Presidency “must have been aware also that several appointees of the President, have not, since the year 2017 taken their annual leave to date.”
“The direction therefore that I proceed on leave, oblivious of the other workers similarly circumstanced, gives the impression that the decision is not taken in good faith,” he added.
Criticism of directive
The directive to Mr. Domelevo was met with criticism from some observers.
An Anti-corruption campaigner, Vitus Azeem, said the directive threatened the independence of the Auditor General’s office.
He felt such a directive should have come from the Public Service Commission.
“One would have expected that if anything at all, it should come from Parliament or the Public Services Commission and not come from the President because it means that it is a way to push the person out especially if he is nearing retirement.”
The Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana (DYMOG), a pressure group, also said the development was “a well-calculated derailment to the much-needed agenda to exterminate corruption.”
Domelevo vs Osafo Maafo in $1m Kroll case
Mr. Domelevo is currently facing a lawsuit from the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, and four others, who are challenging a $1 million surcharge.
In May 2020, he was found guilty of contempt for failing to respond to the suit.
Thee Senior Minister and four other officials from the Ministry of Finance sued Mr. Domelevo to clear their names in relation to what was said to be breaches of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) that resulted in their payment of US$1 million to a private UK firm, Kroll and Associates.
They maintain that the Auditor-General erred in law and professional procedures.
The government also held that Mr. Domelevo did not go through proper constitutional practice before going public and announcing the findings.