The Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, who is currently on a 167-day leave, had the shock of his life on Tuesday when he learnt that the lock to his office has 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-day accumulated leave has been shrouded in a lot of controversies.
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.