The signs are clear that the Akufo-Addo who projected himself as incorruptible, a believer of rule of law, as well as the champion of good governance is glowing increasingly intolerant of candid views on its performance.
The latest indication of this is that the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, through his Executive Secretary, Nana Asante Bediatuo, has shot back at the Executive Director of Afrobarometer, describing his recent statement on the president’s anti-corruption credentials as “loose and thoughtless”.
Prof Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, onetime head of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), in a recent interview whilst commenting on the order to former Auditor General, Daniel Yao Domelevo, to proceed on mandatory retirement, said the order by the president was a huge dent on the president’s anti-corruption credibility which he described as being in tatters.
“As for the President’s credibility in terms of anti-corruption, I am afraid to say it is in tatters. 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 government officials and by state institutions,” Prof. Gyimah-Boadi said in an interview on Citi News.
Prof Boadi, is a highly respected academic who led the CDD non-government and non-profit research and advocacy institute that promotes democracy, good governance and economic openness in Ghana and Africa. The onetime lecturer of the Police Science Department of University of Ghana, had been at this advocacy since the Rawlings era.
In the interview, Prof Boadi added “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.”
However, taking exception to the statement in a release addressing accusations by the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Against Corruption in which the Presidency was accused of targeting and unconstitutionally causing Mr Domelevo’s retirement, the President’s Office stated that the Executive headed by President Akufo-Addo, did not target the former Auditor-General.
According to the Presidency, Mr Domelevo during his thanksgiving service after his retirement had himself confirmed that the President had actually supported him during his time, hence describing Prof. Boadi’s statement as loose and thoughtless.
“It is, thus, very disappointing to hear a very senior and otherwise distinguished member of civil society make such loose and thoughtless statement like the President’s credibility on anti-corruption is in ‘tatters’ and ‘has been in tatters for a while,’ and that the compulsory retirement of Mr Domelevo puts nail in the coffin of the President’s credibility.
According to the Presidency “such statements are not based on facts and driven likely by emotions. The fact is that the President’s credibility on anticorruption is unmatched and no amount of misconceived opinions can change that.”
The Presidency rejected claims that former Auditor General was haunted out of office because of his work which targeted highly placed public officials.
Mr Domelevo was asked to go on retirement by President Akufo-Addo on March 3, 2020, after he returned from a forced leave of 167 days.
Nana Asante-Bediatuo’s letter, said Mr Domelevo was appointed by the former NDC administration because of his loyalty to the outgoing President at the time, claiming further that Mr Domelevo was not an auditor as at the time Mr Mahama was appointing him into office.
“After losing the election, it became necessary for former President Mahama to change his nomination for Auditor-General, with the sole aim of saddling the then-President-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo, with an Auditor General whose allegiance was to former President Mahama, instead of the nation”.
“… It must be noted that Mr Domelevo, hitherto, was not an auditor and had not to be engaged in auditing. Before his early retirement in public service in 2010, he was director of payroll at the controller and Accountant General’s department”, adding Mr Domelevo earned his appointment as Auditor-General in 2016 “to pursue a particular agenda”.
Outlining the events that led to Mr Domelevo’s appointment and retirement, the president, in the 21-page letter to the anti-corruption Coalition on Friday, 19 March 2021, noted that “…The former President had consulted the Council of State on appointing Dr Felix Kwame Aveh as Auditor-General. It is also clear that the consultation process was done before the December 7, 2016, elections”.
“Mr Domelevo was not the intended Auditor-General prior to the election of December 7, 2016. Dr Felix Kwame Aveh was the Auditor-General that former President Mahama intended to appoint if he had won the election of December 7, 2016. But he lost the election. Indeed, in notifying the Council of State of the reason why former President Mahama was seeking to replace Dr Aveh, the then-Chief of Staff stated that ‘the change is as a result of some unforeseen developments.”
“It is fair to conclude that the unforeseen developments” was no other development, but the painful loss of the election on December 7, 2016.
“After losing the election, it became necessary for former President Mahama to change his nomination for Auditor-General, with the sole aim of saddling the then-President-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo, with an Auditor-General whose allegiance was to former President Mahama, instead of the nation,” the letter said.
On March 3, 2021, President Akufo-Addo directed the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo to proceed on retirement after he returned from a 167-day accumulated leave.
The directive, according to a statement signed by Nana Asante Bediatuo, Mr Domelevo has exceeded the eligible age to remain in the workforce.
President Akufo-Addo, says documents available to him, suggest that Domelevo has reached his retirement age.
The development comes in the wake of the standoff between the Auditor-General and the Audit Service board over his nationality and date of birth as he prepared to resume work after his compulsory leave.
“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,” a statement from the presidency said Wednesday night.
Mr Domelevo resumed office on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, after 167 days of forced leave, but the board wrote to Mr Domelevo, raising concerns over his date of birth, claiming he has reached retirement age.
In a recent correspondence, the 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”.
Mr Domelevo in response said: “Either my father wrongly mentioned Agbatofe in Togo as his home town to me, or I misconstrued it at the time… My mother is also a Ghanaian.
“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.”
Daniel Domelevo says President Akufo-Addo urged to him to accept the job after former President John Mahama appointed him, after losing the 2016 polls.
Mr Domelevo who was forced into retirement by the President on March 3, 2021, has been accused of mischief by some government supporters for accepting the job from a president who had lost an election. “I also will like to thank the President, Nana Akufo-Addo for working with me.
In fact, in 2016 when I was appointed, and I was confused, as to whether I should accept or reject [it], a call came through from Dr. Matthew Opoku Premeph and after greeting him, he said hold on for the [then] President-elect, so Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo encouraged me, he said ‘go and take the job.’ That is why I am very grateful to him,” he told the gathering at his thanksgiving ceremony at the Christ the King Church in Accra.
He also noted even though his heart is heavy, following the forced retirement, his spirit is free. “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”.
He added: “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 are not just unscrupulous, but a demon who has sworn not to sleep until the fight against corruption has been frustrated.