Court finds Ghana’s Auditor-General guilty of contempt

Auditor General Daniel Domelevo

Ghana’s Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, has been found guilty of contempt in an application filed by the country’s Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo after the latter was surcharged by the Auditor -General.

The Auditor-General was supposed to respond to a petition against a surcharge asking Osafo Maafo to pay back to the state some 1 million dollars paid to Kroll and Associates for its audit services rendered to the state.

The court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, in its ruling Tuesday, however, cautioned the Auditor-General and discharged him.

Mr Osafo-Maafo filed the contempt application accusing the Auditor-General of refusing to file certain documents based on which he [Senior Minister] was surcharged.

Per law, the Auditor-General ought to have filed the documents in court within 14 days after the Senior Minister initiated a legal action, challenging the said surcharge against him but this did not happen.

Justice Asare-Botwe said the A-G’s failure to file the documents meant that the Auditor-General acted willfully and in contempt of court. 

The Court proceeded to caution the Auditor General and subsequently discharged him.

The Court explained that it recognizes the importance of his work and would, therefore, will not like to frustrate same.

Case Background

There are two cases essentially before Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe, with regard to the Auditor General and the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, and they are; an appeal by the Senior Minister over a surcharge placed on him by the Auditor General and a contempt suit against the Auditor General by Mr. Osafo Marfo.

The Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo and four other officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, initiated a court action against the Auditor General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, to clear their names in relation to what is said to be breaches of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) that resulted in their payment of US$1 million to an international private audit firm, Kroll and Associates.

The Auditor-General has concluded that Kroll was paid for no work done, following what he said was the persistent failure of the Senior Minister to provide proof of actual work done.

It is the recommendation of the Auditor General that the payment of the US$1million to Kroll and Associates, which the government, through the Ministry of Finance paid be disallowed. Mr. Domlevo to this end surcharged the Senior Minister, Mr Osafo Marfo and the four other officials from the Ministry of Finance.

On the substantive case of the appeal by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo and four others against the surcharge of the Auditor General, the court indicated at the last sitting that it will rather wait to determine the contempt application before it turns its attention to the main case.

Lawyer for the Auditor General, Thaddeus Sory, after an initial reservation on the decision of the court to hold on with the hearing of the substantive case got unto the same page with the court.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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