President Akufo-Addo has disclosed what went into the appointment of Daniel Yao Domelevo as Auditor-General in 2016.
According to him, events leading to the selection of Mr Domelevo for the role leaves much to be desired as far as the motive of former President Mahama is concerned.
“…having lost his mandate to govern, former President Mahama appointed Mr Domelevo to the office, knowing very well that President Akufo-Addo would be sworn into office in a few days, to pursue a particular agenda.”
A lot of Ghanaians as well as the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Against Corruption have severely criticised the presidency and the Audit Service Board for unfairly targeting the retired Auditor-General.
President Akufo-Addo on March 3, 2021, directed Daniel Domelevo to proceed on retirement over his age, a move many CSOs have deemed an attempt to stifle the fight against corruption.
Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) at a press conference on March 10, said the sudden retirement of Mr Domelovo is not in accordance with the Constitution as it breaches Article 23 of the Constitution.
“The questions regarding Mr Domelevo’s date of birth which formed the recent basis for the President’s letter were not handled in accordance with the Constitutional directive in Article 23. The actions of the office of the President and the Audit Service affirm our belief that Mr Domelevo has been unfairly targeted,” the Coalition Spokesperson said.
However, the President disagrees.
In a letter to the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations Against Corruption, Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante stated among other things that the series of activities that characterized the appointment of Domelevo was questionable, to begin with.
According to the 21-page document on Friday, the decision to present Mr Domelevo for the office, days after Nana Akufo-Addo’s 2016 election victory shows that Mr Mahama wanted his finger on the pulse in the incoming administration to help him “pursue a particular agenda.”
He was appointed by former President on December 30, 2016.
But the statement further suggests the hurried nature of the switch from an earlier agreed nominee in the person of Dr Felix Kwame Aveh by the Council of State smacks of an ulterior motive.
“Dr Felix Kwame Aveh was the Auditor-General that former President Mahama intended to appoint if he won the election of December 7, 2016. But he lost.”
In a letter quoted by Mr Bediatuo purported to have been written by Julius Debrah to the Council of State on December 13, 2016, over the change in nominees, the then-Chief of Staff wrote that “the change was as a result of some unforeseen circumstances.”
On the back of this, the Presidency believes that it was a deliberate orchestration occassioned by the “painful loss” of the 2016 elections.
“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 statement said.
On March 3, 2021, President Akufo-Addo directed the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo to proceed on retirement.
This came less than 16 hours after he returned from a 167-day accumulated leave.
The directive, according to a statement signed by Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, stems from an indication by the Audit Service Board that Mr Domelevo has exceeded the eligible age to remain in the workforce.
“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 indicate 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.”
The statement explained that “based on this information, the President is of the view that you have formally left office.”
Essentially, Johnson Akuamoa-Asiedu will continue to act in Mr Domelevo’s stead until a substantive appointment is made.
“The President thanks you for your service to the nation and wishes you the very best in your future endeavours,” the March 3 statement concluded.