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Supreme Court dismisses injuction to restrain Akuamoah Asiedu as Acting Auditor General

A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court has dismissed an injunction seeking to restrain Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, from acting as the Auditor General.

This was after the court forced Eric Delanyo Aliyibor, counsel for the plaintiff, Prof Kwaku Asare, to withdraw the application before the court as it fell short of legal procedure.

The court’s decision followed a Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame’s, request to strike out Auditor General Daniel Domelovo and his Deputy, Mr Asiedu as defendants, in a case in which a U.S-based Ghanaian law lecturer is challenging the legality of the government’s decision to ask Mr Domelevo to proceed on mandatory leave.

The court, presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, pointed out that the parties listed in the case were not in the proper order.

It was the argument of the court that the acting AG [Johnson Akuamoh Asiedu] and the substantive AG [Daniel Domelevo] could not be listed parties.

“What has the Auditor General got to do with this. You are challenging the constitutionality of the President’s action for the AG to go on leave. So why add the two [acting AG and substantive AG] as parties.

“Mr Domelevo is a public officer, if something has happened you should not add all of them. Leave Domelevo and his deputy out of it. There is absolutely no legal basis to add them,” the court argued.

It was the court’s view that the suit is challenging the constitutionality of the president’s action, and therefore, the only defendant must be the Attorney-General.

Having listened to the judges, lawyer for Prof. Asare withdrew his request for the two parties to be added.

The injunction filed by CDD-fellow, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare, seeks to stop Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu from acting as Auditor General.

With both names struck out, the apex court will now proceed to hear the case challenging the president’s action.

Other members of the panel are Justice Paul Baffoe -Bonnie, Justice Yaw Appau, Justice Samuel K Marful Sau, Justice Lovelace Avril Johnson and Justice Nene Amegatcher.

Background

President Nana Akufo-Addo directed Mr Domelevo to proceed on his accumulated mandatory leave as required by the labour law beginning from July 1.

He was directed to go on leave after accumulating more than six months worth of rest.

Mr. Domelevo had been engaged in a war of words over a directive from the Presidency for him to proceed on a four-month leave.

The Auditor-General had responded to the letter insisting that his previous leave entitlement had been forfeited and that he was only entitled to the 2020 leave.

But the Presidency in a response to Mr. Domelevo said he should add the 2020 leave to the accumulated one, bringing the total to 167.

The erstwhile Mahama administration appointed Mr Domelevo in December 2016.

Opinion on the government’s decision to compel the state’s chief auditor to proceed on leave has been divided.

Some 500 Civil Society Organization (CSOs) registered their displeasure over the president’s order.

They described the president’s action as inconsistent with the 1992 constitution and ‘gravely weakens the President’s fight against corruption and his standing in the eyes of the international community as someone committed to public accountability.’

The group launched a social media campaign with hashtag #BringBackDomelevo to mount pressure on the government to rescind its decision.

But the government in response to their petition said it would not budge as the move was a legal one.

“The president encourages people to be citizens and not spectators, and therefore, your petition is welcome, and its contents have been duly noted.

“However, the position of the president as contained in the letter dated July 3, 2020, from this office to the Auditor General remains the same,” the Presidency said in a statement.

Prof Asare went to court to challenge the decision.

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