Former Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, says he is saddened that the Office of the President is at the forefront of breaching Ghana’s constitution.
His comments follow the Supreme Court’s ruling that described as unconstitutional the directive for him to proceed on leave in June 2020.
Speaking on Top Story on Joy FM, Mr Domelevo noted that as the highest office of the nation, the presidency ought to know and act better, adding that it was unfortunate that the Office of the President dismissed his position on the matter on the basis that he was not a lawyer to appreciate the issues.
Mr Domelovo in response to the ruling said, “the verdict has finally come and it confirms my position that the office was not doing the right thing. If you remember what the secretary to the President wrote to me; he said because I am not a lawyer I may not appreciate the issues in there. I am very happy that the highest law enforcement body has taken the same position as the view that I held.”
He added that “I am sad that the office of the Presidency which is the highest office of the state, is the one who is at the forefront of doing unconstitutional things. I will advise that going forward that office should respect the constitution and the laws of the country.
Meanwhile, Mr Domelevo believes the Supreme Court ruling will ensure that subsequent presidents do not abuse or breach the constitution.
“It gives the Auditor-General the free mind to do his or her work as required by the constitution, without the fear that if his work does not sit well with the presidency or executive, they are going to find a way to push him away; that to me is a very good development.”
In June 2020, President Akufo-Addo directed the then Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo to go on an accumulated 123-day leave.
This was met with some resistance from Mr Domelevo who saw the president’s actions as unconstitutional.
But in July of the same year, the President extended the leave period from 123 days to 167 effective July 1, 2020.
This came in the wake of concerns raised by Mr Domelevo over the directive to take his accumulated leave because his work, according to him, is causing an embarrassment to the government.
Amid protests from the public and civil society organisations, the then Auditor General went on a forced leave.
Following this, nine Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) dragged the Attorney-General to the Supreme Court in a move seeking to challenge President Akufo-Addo’s decision directing the Auditor General, Daniel Domelevo to proceed on leave.
They included the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Ghana Integrity Initiative, (GII), Citizen Movement Ghana, Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), and Parliamentary Network Africa.
They contended that the directives were unlawful since the President does not have the power to exercise such disciplinary control over independent bodies.
Eventually, Mr. Domelevo, whose retirement age was near, retired. Even that one was not without controversy, as he was accused of attempting to alter his age to stay in office for a much longer period.
There were even allegations that he was not Ghanaian per his personal data, but rather a Togolese. Mr. Domelevo denied all these allegations before going on his forced retirement, just when he had returned from the forced leave.
On Wednesday, May 31, 2023, the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision described as unconstitutional the directive from the presidency.
The court also described the President’s appointment of an Acting Auditor General while there was a substantive Auditor-General as equally unconstitutional.