The presidency has insisted its directive to the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, to proceed on his “accumulated leave” was based on “sound legal principles, the rule of law and good governance”.
A letter signed by the president’s Executive Secretary, Asante Bediatuo, explained that the directive was based on the 1992 constitution, the Labour Act, Audit Service Act and the A-G’s Conditions of Service.
The letter, the second to Auditor-General, was in reply to him after Mr. Domelevo contested the directive, suggesting it was unlawful.
The Auditor-General and the presidency are now engaged in a public war of words unseen before.
The A-G, Daniel Domelevo, wondered why the president would be directing him to go on leave while other public officers have not received similar directives.
The presidency’s replied that it did not know the A-G’s work also included “keeping records of appointees of the president who have not taken their annual leave since 2017.”
Domelevo also accused the presidency of acting in bad faith in not directing other appointees but the presidency’s reply said that this accusation was “without legal or factual basis.”
The presidency it was left with no choice than to direct Domelevo to proceed on leave because he had refused to heed to a similar directive from his Board.
While Daniel Domelevo maintained that the law does not allow him to take accumulated leave but only annual leave, the presidency argued the law does.
Mr. Domelevo indicated, the law allows him to waive his leave days. But the presidency insisted this was not possible and cited a case Samuel M.K Adrah v. Electricity Company of Ghana.
Mr. Domelevo has said he was taking his annual leave for only 2020 which would be 44 days effective July 1. But the presidency has now said he should take 167 days, up from the initially 123.
The letter said the 123 days accumulated leave was based on 2017, 2018 and 2019 annual leave days but since the A-G has indicated he was taking 2020, that year has also been added to make it 167 days.
Again, Domelevo suggested the government was going after him because the A-G was going after the president’s senior minister Yaw Osafo Maafo who has been directed to refund $1m.
But the presidency also replied that “contrary to your false belief, the president does not think your work is embarrassing his government.”
The letter to Domelevo expressed concern about the “political undertones” and called it “most unfortunate and ought not be encouraged.”
Senior government officials have always viewed Domelevo’s appointment with suspicion after he was appointed by President Mahama when he had lost the presidential elections in December 2016.
The Executive Secretary said Domelevo’s arguments contesting the president’s directive could be forgiven because he was not a lawyer.
The letter ended with the president’s Executive Secretary explaining, the letter has been made publicly available because that was Domelevo’s preferred channel of communicating his disagreement with his appointing authority.
The letter also said that the president has the power to discipline his appointees who engaged in illegal conduct. It said this should not be misconstrued as attacking the Auditor-General’s independence guaranteed by the constitution.