The Akufo-Addo government, has hounded Auditor-General Daniel Yaw Domelevo out of office for just doing his job, the co-founder and Executive Director of the Afrobarometer Network, Prof Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, has said.
The onetime Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), in his view said, by this singular act, President Akufo-Addo, has nailed the coffin on his tattered anti-corruption credentials.
On Tuesday, the Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, publicly questioned why the President, in his State Of the Nation Address (SONA) failed to mention corruption and what his government had done about the canker. He suggested it was an open admission of failure and guilt.
Prof Gyimah-Boadi insisted that “as for the President’s credibility in terms of anti-corruption, I am afraid to say it is in tatters”, Prof Gyimah-Boadi said in an interview, adding: “It has been in tatters for a while but this puts a nail in the coffin”.
“I see Domelevo as a victim of well-orchestrated actions by individuals who are officials and by state institutions,” he said.
As far as he was concerned, “Mr Domelevo was exercising proper constitutional and legal oversight and officials and institutions that Mr. Domelevo has sought to hold to account.
“The man was doing his best to protect the public purse to claim surcharges for improperly spent public funds.
“One who is trying to fight corruption is one who is being persecuted and hounded out of office,” he told Citi TV.
Last week, the President asked Mr Domelevo to go home, since he has passed the compulsory retirement age of 60.
In a letter dated March 3, 2021, the President, through his secretary, Nana Bediatuo Asante, said, “The attention of the President of the Republic has been drawn to records and documents made available to this Office by the Audit Service, that indicates that your date of birth is 1st June 1960, and that in accordance with article 199 (1) of the Constitution, your date of retirement as Auditor-General was 1st June 2020.”
“Based on this information, the President is of the view that you have formally left office,” the President said.
Mr Domelevo, reported to work at the Audit Service Headquarters in Accra on Wednesday, 3 March 2021, at 8:20 despite the Audit Service Board declaring him retired.
He resumed work after his forced 167-day leave ended on Tuesday, March 2, despite a raging controversy surrounding his age and nationality.
The Board wrote to him on Tuesday, challenging his Ghanaian nationality and age.
The Board, said his own Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) records show he is a Togolese and not a Ghanaian and also due for retirement.
The Board, in a series of correspondence with Mr Domelevo, said he was born in 1960 per his own records and, thus, should have gone on retirement mid-2020.
In a letter dated, February 26, 2021, the Audit Service Board said: “Records at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) completed and signed by you indicate your date of birth as 1st June 1960 when you joined the scheme on 1st October 1978. The records show that you stated your tribe as Togolese and a non-Ghanaian. That your home town is Agbatofe.”
“On 25th October 1992, you completed and signed a SSNIT Change of Beneficiary Nomination form, stating your nationality as a Ghanaian and your home town as Ada in the Greater Accra Region. The date of birth on your Ghanaian passport number A45800, issued on 28th February 1996 is 1st June 1961. That place of birth is stated as Kumasi, Ashanti Region,” the letter said.
In his reply, Mr Domelevo, explained that his grandfather, Augustine Domelevo, was a native of Ada in the Greater Accra Region, but migrated to Togo and stayed at Agbatofe.
“Either my father wrongly mentioned Agbatofe in Togo as his home town to me, or I misconstrued it at the time”, Mr Domelevo explained, adding: “My mother is also a Ghanaian”.
Concerning his date of birth, Mr Domelevo, said he noticed that the 1960 date of birth was a mistake when “I checked my information in the baptismal register of the Catholic Church in Adeemmra.”
“The register has Yaw as part of my name and also provides my date of birth as 1st June 1961 – this corresponds with Thursday or Yaw – the day of the week on which I was born.”
The Audit Service Board, however, said: “Observation of your responses and explanations contained in your above reference letter make your date of birth and Ghanaian nationality even more doubtful and clearly establishes that you have made false statements contrary to law.”
“Records made available to the Board indicate that your date of retirement was 1st June 2020 and as far as the Audit Service is concerned you are deemed to have retired,” it noted.
“By a copy of this letter, the Board is informing the President, who is your appointing authority, to take necessary action. Additionally, the Board is making available to the President all the relevant documents at our disposal.”
President Akufo-Addo, directed Mr Domelevo to take his accumulated annual leave of 123 working days effective Wednesday, 1 July 2020, but later increased it to 167, following a protest letter from the A-G.
A statement released by the office of the President and signed by the Director of Communications, Mr Eugene Arhin, on Monday, 29 June 2020, said: “The President’s decision to direct Mr Domelevo to take his accumulated annual leave is based on Sections 20(1) and Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), which apply to all workers including public office holders such as the Auditor-General.”
Mr Domelevo was said to have taken only nine days of his annual leave.
But reacting to the directive from the president in a letter addressed to Nana Asante Bediatuo, the Secretary to the President, Mr Domelevo said: “My knowledge of recent labour and practice in the country is that no worker is deemed to have accumulated any leave on account of their having failed, omitted, neglected or even refused to enjoy their rights to annual leave, which the law guarantees for their benefit, not the employer.”
He stated that to the best of his knowledge, therefore, “wherein any given year a worker fails, omits, neglects or even refuses to take their annual leave such leave is deemed forfeited with no corresponding obligation on the part of the employer to enforce the workers right to take their leave by assuming, deeming or declaring the forfeited leave accumulated.”
“I am also informed that by law, every person is entitled in some in very limited circumstances, to wave what the law has ordained for their benefit, in this case, a worker’s leave. Be that as it may, the directive that I proceed on leave and hand ‘over all matters relating to the office to Mr Johnson Akuamoah’ with all due respect has serious implications for the institutional independence of the office of the auditor general,” the letter said.
A petition presented to the office of the President, signed by some 1,000 Ghanaians living abroad and led by Lolan Sagoe-Moses and Korieh Duodu, with regard to Mr Domelevo’s leave directive, asked that the directive be reversed, noting that it would make him incapable of acting as Auditor-General.
The petition stated: “We question how the public is expected to consider such a decision as made in good faith, in circumstances where the Auditor-General is essentially being asked to make himself well-rested and refreshed for the commencement of his retirement. Mr Domelevo’s absence, during this 167-day period would mean he will not be able to actively execute his Constitutionally-prescribed role as protector of the public purse during the crucial 6 month period before the general election, a period.”
However, responding to the petition from the Ghanaians abroad, Nana Asante Bediatuo indicated that President Akufo-Addo’s stance on the leave directive, had not changed.
Meanwhile at a Thanksgiving Mass on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, he once again denied every claim saying “My heart is heavy but my spirit is free”, adding “very soon, the rains will stop and we will know which building was on a waterway by the scoop of water from the rooms”.
According to him, “It may seem like evil of triumphing but don’t despair yet; darkness can never comprehend light”.
Mr Domelevo a staunch Catholic told the gathering “I have called you here this evening to assure you that it is not the end of the fight. Our voices will still pierce the conscience of those who have gone into alliance to destroy this great nation for their parochial gains. As children of God called to be light and salt, we will not relent in our shining”.
Below is the speech;
Mr. Chairman, distinguished invited guests, friends of the media, fellow Togolese, ladies and gentlemen. I welcome you all to this brief, unexpected but special ceremony to draw the curtains down on my assignment as AG.
My heart is heavy but my spirit is free.
It is for the good of our motherland that I turned my back on the gold of the private sector to come help preserve the gold of the public sector. That was my joy, my hope, and dream of using my knowledge and conviction to serve this great country that has been turned into a pauper’s debtor by some few wicked souls.
Mr. Chairman, I don’t want to go into the technicalities relating to my forced leave, date of birth or nationality, because if there’s any truth in these claim, then the oath of integrity and allegiance to the cross I took when I assumed this position are both blasphemous. I am neither a Togolese nor a ’60 born and anybody who attempts to painstakingly prove the authenticity of these allegations is not just unscrupulous, but a demon who has sworn not sleep until the fight against corruption has been frustrated.
In the last fear days, I have concluded that anybody who calls him or herself an anti-corruption crusader must first be made to be in a position of influence where corruption can be outrightly expunged from our political culture. This single act I believe will be the acid test of the resolution to end corruption.
I have called you here this evening to assure you that it is not the end of the fight. Our voices will still pierce the conscience of those who have gone into an alliance to destroy this great nation for their parochial gains. As children of God called to be light and salt, we will not relent in our shining.
Very soon, the rains will stop and we will know which building was on a waterway by the scoop of water from the rooms.
It may seem like evil of triumphing but don’t despair yet; darkness can never comprehend the light.
I wish you all, especially my fellow crusaders against corruption. May God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.