Domelevo “unfairly targeted” in ‘forced retirement’- CSOs

Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo

The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations Against Corruption has said that President Akufo-Addo erred in his retirement directive to Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo.

The group described the action as unlawful, quoting parts of the constitution.

President Akufo-Addo showed Mr Domelevo the exit the same day the latter reported for work on March 3 after a 167-day accumulated leave.

Mr Domelevo had been on leave since July 1, 2020.

The Audit Service Board raised issues over Mr Domelevo’s age and nationality, which the Presidency upheld.

However, the CSO’s disagree with the development.

“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 Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development CDD-Ghana, Dr Kojo Asante, said.

The CSOs addressed a press conference on Thursday, March 10, calling on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to deal with the matter.

Why was Mr Domelevo asked to go on leave?

Article 199 (1) of the Constitution mandates a compulsory retirement age of 60 for public officers.

President Akufo-Addo acted based on a letter from the Audit Service Board, which pointed to  Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) records capturing Mr Domelevo’s date of birth June 1, 1960.

Mr Domelevo had updated his records in 1992 to reflect June 1, 1961, as his date of birth, but the Board disregarded the changes stating legally inadmissible explanations from Mr Domelevo.

Besides his age, the Board also challenged Mr Domelevo’s nationality with was stated as Togolese in his first SSNIT application.

Date of birth claims

Mr Domelevo further explained that he got to know his true birth date “when I checked my information in the baptismal register of the Catholic Church in Adeemmra.”

According to Mr Domelevo, the Catholic register captured his native name ‘Yaw’, which included his birth date as June 1, 1961.

This, he said, conforms to the Thursday day name (Yaw). He further provided details of a Parish Priest named Rev Fr Dion for any verification.

This prompted the change at SNNIT on October 25, 1992, to reflect his date of birth as June 1, 1961, and the hometown to Ada in the Greater Accra Region.

He added that he was sure he provided legal backing otherwise SSNIT would not have affected the change.

Board’s response

However, the Audit Service Board insisted that his statement further casts doubt on his nationality.

The Board stated that he should provide the legal documents to back his claims on the changes because “information in the Catholic Church’s baptismal register in Adeemmra is not a valid document to authenticate your date of birth”.

The Board subsequently referred the matter to the President, who is the appointing authority for the Auditor-General, to take action.

Background

President Akufo-Addo, in 2020, asked Mr Domelevo to take an accumulated leave, but the directive was highly criticised by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), who further called for the reinstatement of Mr Domelevo.

According to the CSOs, President Akufo-Addo cannot ask the Auditor-General to proceed on leave when he had been assigned a special duty to investigate the payment of $1million to Kroll and Associates Limited by Senior Minister Yaw Osafo for some consultancy services.

The move was also criticised by some members of the NDC who said it was a strategy employed by the government to shield the Senior Minister from being investigated on the matter.

Despite these accusations, President Akufo-Addo refused to heed the calls of these groups on the basis that the Constitution makes provision for any public office holder to take leave.

The bad blood between the Board chair and Daniel Domelevo

Mr Domelevo and his Board Chair, Prof. Dua Agyeman, have been at loggerheads since 2017.

Mr Domelevo, appointed by former President John Mahama, had accused Prof. Dua Agyeman, appointed by President Akufo-Addo, of interfering in his work and violating his mandate.

The Auditor-General, in a May 2018 letter to President Akufo-Addo, asked for intervention in the matter.

Professor Dua Agyeman, a former Auditor-General, denied the allegations and accused Domelevo of disrespecting the Board.

“[Domelevo] is insisting that he is not answerable to the Board and that whatever instructions we give he will not take.”

 

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