Connect with us

Features

Donation or bribe? Video of Akufo-Addo receiving brown envelope surfaces

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Typical of election years in Ghana, the last few days in the run-up to the 2020 elections is throwing up alleged secret recordings of persons in office, purportedly using their positions to perpetrate fraud and corrupt acts.

The latest to suffer from such an allegation is President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Two video clips with the same setting and scenery but with different narrations are currently in circulation, stoking a conversation about whether or not President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has gone against his pledge to not condone any act of corruption.

One of the files which sought to suggest Akufo-Addo’s incorruptible tag was a mere gimmick, forms part of a forty-minute supposed investigative piece by the Salis Newspaper that uncovers how the President was influenced with an amount of $40,000 concealed in a brown envelope to ignore corruption and NDC affiliation claims against Director of the Department of Urban Roads, Alhaji Abass Awolu.

In the said video, Alhaji Abass, according to the narrator, sent a delegation to the President in his private residence in Nima. “They were led to the president by Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Adjei Bawuah. In his company were a woman and a man who were introduced as wife and brother of the Director of Urban Roads.”

A voice purported to be the man introduced as the brother of Alhaji Abass, is heard pleading with the President to pay deaf ears to some allegations against Alhaji Abass, stressing it is a plot by detractors who are bent on tarnishing his image and eventually seeing him kicked out of office.

Akufo-Addo after the supposed plea for clemency is seen receiving a hefty brown envelope from Ambassador Bawuah which according to the narrator contained $40,000 being presented on behalf of Alhaji Abass. While at it, the voice of the man purported to be the brother of Alhaji Abass is heard stating that the package is from Alhaji Abass who has been advised by some people to take that action or risk removal from office.

“He has been advised by some people to come and see you with money. He says he doesn’t have much except this $40,000. He is pleading with you not to remove him from office. He also assures never to disappoint you if he is maintained.”

A second video, however, suggests otherwise. Although the scene and personalities are same as Salis Newspaper’s, the conversation is entirely different; it’s a donation and not a bribe. The unseen man, who the newspaper in its report claims is the brother of Alhaji Abass, is rather heard discussing how they could assist in the electioneering campaign.

The footage suggests that the three personalities [Ambassador Bawuah, a lady and a man whose face is not captured] had been to Akufo-Addo’s home to offer resources in order to grease the wheels of his campaign.

“Please accept this 40,000 in addition to the t-shirts for now. Later, we will communicate to you how else we can contribute to this,” he said.

It is worth mentioning that in both videos, Akufo-Addo after receiving the envelope requested for a name. He said, “I need to have a name” to which the lady replied, “Hajia Fawzia”. It is unclear what Akufo-Addo needed the name for.

Government’s reaction

Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has asked the general public to disregard the bribery allegation levelled against the President, stressing it is false information being propagated by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). While noting that the government has braced itself for more fabricated and concocted information with a few days to the elections, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the encounter captured on tape was at a time Akufo-Addo was not president.

“We are expecting a number of fake news items this week. One of them is a 2016 campaign donation someone made to then-candidate Akufo-Addo. They’ve created a fake newspaper to spread false information. It’s a clear desperate attempt in this last week of a failed campaign to put out concocted stories as they did in 2008.

“This week, there will be loads of these stories but I will urge everyone to be vigilant particularly our colleague journalists. When you see something circulating, you don’t just publish it, you subject it to review,” he said on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo program.

The government appointee also named some bigwigs in the NDC whom he considers to be behind the ‘fake stories’ that characterized the 2008 elections.

He said: “We believe it is the NDC who are behind it. I have mentioned Fiifi Kwetey’s name and everyone knows him to be an NDC MP. Everyone knows Victor Smith. The Honourable Inusah Fuseini. The one which came out this week is being circulated on the NDC platforms.”

Akufo-Addo’s bribe video malicious propaganda – Manasseh Azure

Investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni has also cast doubt on the video. In a social media post, he expounded that the allegations are frivolous.

“His [Akufo-Addo] rights were violated by whoever filmed him without his consent. He was not engaged in any criminal or illegal act so you cannot justify this in any court of law. The video being shared shows that someone contributed money and T-shirts to support his campaign, but you’re telling us that he took a bribe as a president. (If you want to raise issues with political party funding, we can discuss that. And it’s not limited to only one party),” Manasseh opined.

Below are the two videos. Watch the Akufo-Addo encounter in the first video from the 32nd minute

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Elections

Dark clouds on Ghana’s 4th Republic; Recent events in Parliament our worst test?

Parliament of Ghana - Posts | Facebook
Parliament of Ghana in session

The good people of Ghana have once again subjected the tenets of our democratic credentials to a test when they voted for the President and Members of Parliament and ensured a successful investiture of the both the executive and the legislature.

 Although, democracy is a very expensive system of government, it is globally uses consensus building as means of governing a group of people. Subscription to the tenets of democracy has come far even though democracy is not a destination but rather a process.

Happenings in the Chamber of the August House leading to the swearing-in of Members of Parliament, the Speaker, the President and the Vice President were appalling to say the least. It could be said that by nature, once the sun rises, it will surely settle at the west by the close of the day. Then how come that in the midst of the deliberations in relation to constitutional provisions and standing orders of Parliament, Military men stormed the Chamber? The presence of the military and whoever issued the command must be condemned by all well-meaning democrats.

Parliament as an arm of government is responsible for making, amending and repealing of obnoxious laws. In discharging their responsibilities, the Members of Parliament rely solely on the Constitution of Ghana and Standing Orders for all deliberations. Further, both the Minority and Majority over the years do agree or disagree and sometimes compromise on issues in the interest of Republic of Ghana. But what has happened between the 6-7 January cannot be attributed to being in the interest of people of Ghana who queued to vote for their representatives.

What Ghanaians witnessed on television stations across the length and breadth of the country did not position us as the beacon of democracy we pride ourselves with.  Can the position taken by the then |Minority Caucus to occupy the Seats of then Majority Caucus be justified?

Generally, some of the happenings in relation to voting for the President and Members of Parliament on December 7th can be considered as something regrettable.  About 7 souls were lost through no fault of theirs.

Again, the general behavior of Honorable Members of Parliament in raining verbal and physical attacks on one another must be condemned by all sundry. Hon Carlos Ahenkora, Member of Parliament for Tema West Constituency must be punished for his misconduct. Why must an Honourable Member snatch ballot papers?

What would have happened when the military men came into the Chamber of the Parliament House and one of them had picked the mic and announced the dissolution of the Parliament? Couldn’t that have led to unnecessary bloodshed?

In as much as there is no perfect human society, what happened in parliament will guide Ghanaians into subsequent general elections. Notwithstanding that, Parliament must make a retrospective analysis of all that happened and come out with resolutions in an event of situations of that nature repeating. Those who instructed the presence of the military into the Chamber must be brought to book for the military has no business in the Chamber.

Ghanaians by and large will be interested to witness how proceedings in the Parliament House and government business for the 8th Republic will be carried out.

Notwithstanding what happened in the Parliament House, it is important that the media is commended for being there for the people and in that same direction, the media must also help the general public when it comes to the Presidential petition before the Supreme Court.

Congratulation to AS Kingsford Babgin as the Speaker, Hon Joe Owusu as the first Deputy Speaker and Hon Asiamah as Second Deputy Speaker. Congratulation to H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the President and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as the Vice President of Ghana.

Long live Our democracy

Long live Ghana.

Mohammed Rabiu Adam

Social Studies Teacher

Tiwnikli International Senior High School

Kanda-Accra

Continue Reading

Features

Who judges the judges…as democracy rots slowly?

I wish African judges wear local print in courtroom, not black suit and wig- Ghana senior Judge | Alternative Africa
Some Ghanaian judges

“Democracy rots slowly. Sometimes its decay is perfectly legal, helped along by legislatures and embraced by the courts. It happens when elected officials deliberately tilt the game to their own advantage.”

The human being is one heck of a judging machine. The eyes, the nose, the skin, the tongue and their master organ, the brain, are in constant judging, 24/7, from birth to death. We judge to stay alive, but that is nature’s or evolution’s package to help our survival.

And when we have survived, we come up with our own rules to judge us along. Democracy, over the millennia, has come to be accepted by many as the most acceptable yardstick, with its in-built control mechanisms of the executive, legislature and judiciary. Whereas the executive and legislature subject themselves to time-limited tenures through elections, members of the judiciary, to be precise, judges, enjoy protected tenures till retirement of the individual judge as established by law.

Society lavishes judges with all manner of goodies, privileges, security and more, which the those not so privileged can only drool at. It is not because they are any more intelligent than the rest of us, but it is so that they will not stray from the straight and narrow in the discharge of their duties. “My lord”, “your honour”, “your lordship” are exalted titles reserved only for judges. And why not? After all, they are expected to dispense justice – one of the most sacred attributes of the human race…

The second part of my heading and first paragraph of this commentary, are borrowed from an article in the Guardian, and captures the kind of angst I have been going through since January 7 2017. Another writer, obviously having had Donald Trump, the outgoing US president up to his neck, without mincing words, describes the US president as a buffoon. Quite a strong one there! I share in the writer’s frustration, because it reminds me of my own Ghanaian context: The 4 years of Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

I wonder: What artistic license can I also employ to best describe my attitude to Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his role in my country’s democracy? A buffoon, he definitely is not! What comes to mind immediately is a three-letter word: A Con? It kind of, catches the idea of a decaying entity, democracy in this case. You know, the proverb that talks about the decay of a fish starting from the head.

The tenure of Mr. Akufo-Addo in the executive office has seen a collusion between the executive and judiciary that makes nonsense of the principle of the separation of powers, with the legislature (majority) thrown in for good measure. This is the kind of collusion the writer has flagged as helping the rot and decay of democracy to advance.

With the con that our democracy has become, the judiciary seems to have allowed itself to be taken along down the road of infamy. I have had my own personal run in with this particular institution and so I know what I am talking about. By the way, I went in for contempt not criminal libel as often perceived.

I was not pardoned by any president and definitely not by President Kufuor as some mischief makers have been bandying about. It was one case, in my judgement that did not end in justice – or because I am not a judge, I am not entitled to pass judgement? I have since moved on, and actually now able to laugh at the two elderly judges who pressed for my “pornishment”. As I was to discover later, they had been promised seats on the supreme court. They have since died and the man under whose tenure they felt I should be “pornished” also died late last year, and still waiting to be interred…

As you can imagine therefore, judges are of much interest to me. Recently, a judge gave a relation of mine what I and many others thought was a very excessive sentence exercising his political power and not judicial discretion. You see, judges can do that, because we have given them the authourity to judge and sentence. Not only that, we have also given them wide privileges and rights to insulate and protect themselves in the discharge of their duties. All of that because, we want them to rise above the rest of us and resist the temptation of personal greed, political pressure and business conflicts of interests – in other words eschew corruption.

And so it came to pass that today judges are among the most derided, the most distrusted and most untrustworthy arbiters, because some of them have stumbled from the straight and narrow. They will not recuse themselves from cases that are clearly conflicts of interest, they allow partisan politics to colour and sway their decisions, etc.

The words “These judges” I keep hearing a lot of the time as the heartbreaking laments by people to express regret about a noble institution that finds pandering to partisan politics more noble than fairness and (natural) justice. They will inspire fear, but respect, I am not sure.

We all need judging as and when necessary but who judges the judges? A class of people that are more in need of judgement than the rest of us lesser mortals especially when it comes to sustaining our democracy. “Democracy rots slowly. Sometimes its decay is perfectly legal, helped along by legislatures and embraced by the courts.” Ghana has not been immune from this rot and decay as events have been unfolding in this our 4th Republic! It’s now so glaring that people are able to predict accurately the outcomes of certain particular cases that are placed before our courts.

I must confess, I was one of the people who had argued against sending a petition on Election 2020 to the SC, but after a while, I said, what the hell, it’s our democracy after all, let us rally to its defence, and where else but in court?! Very depressing for my pessimism and the same time very enervating for rallying to the side of our democracy.

All is not lost, though. Looking down south out of the ECOWAS sub-region to Malawi, judges of the constitutional court of this very poor country, did the needful and are now the toast of the civilised world. To those five judges of Malawi’s constitutional court, it is with pride and respect that I join Chatham House in saying Bravo, Me Lords!

By Amb. Abdul-Rahman Harruna Attah, MOV – | Opinions do not represent the views of Nationalistgh.com

Continue Reading

Features

Full drama of how Akufo-Addo hounded Domelevo out of office – Manasseh Azure’s latest report

Manasseh Azure Awuni is an investigative journalist
Manasseh Azure Awuni is an investigative journalist

Investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni, has published an article to detail events leading to the woes of the Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo, and a directive from the Presidency forcing him to proceed on leave.

The award-winning journalist explains that the public manifestation of the acrimonious tussle between Domelevo and the government that resulted in the Auditor-General’s woes can be traced to work done by the Audit Service on the Ministry of Finance.

“It started when the Auditor-General issued an audit observation dated January 21, 2019, to the Ministry of Finance after an audit revealed that the Ministry of Finance had paid a UK-based investigation firm, Kroll Associates, an amount of $1,031,460.50 but there was no evidence of work done.

“What caught the attention of the auditors was that the contract between the government and Kroll Associates was signed in September 2017, but ‘invoices include February, May, June and August 2017, an indication that Kroll Associates Ltd commenced work 7 months before the actual contract,’” Manasseh Azure Awuni writes in his latest article.

Read the full article below.

The Full Drama of How Ghana’s President hounded the Auditor-General out of Office

By Manasseh Azure Awuni

An “Anti-Corruption President” Stands Accused

In 2016, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) won Ghana’s election convincingly mainly because of his avowed pledge to fight corruption. He promised to set up the Office of the Special Prosecutor to prevent, investigate and prosecute those engaged in corruption.

Less than two weeks to another election in which he is seeking to be re-elected, the man President Akufo-Addo appointed as the first Special Prosecutor of Ghana has resigned from the office and alleged that the president was interfering in his duties.

In his resignation letter to the president, Martin Amidu, a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General in Ghana and one of Ghana’s most respected anti-corruption crusaders, said the President “had laboured under the mistaken belief that I could hold the Office of the Special Prosecutor as your poodle.”


Martin Amidu, in a follow-up release, said President was “really the mother corruption serpent.”

Long before Martin Amidu’s resignation and accusations, which the president has denied, some person and civil society groups had raised concerns about not only the growing levels of corruption in the Akufo-Addo government but also the attempts to undermine institutions and individuals fighting corruption.

On December 9, 2019, Denmark’s Ambassador to Ghana, Tove Degnbol said, “It is particularly sad to see that certain public institutions are doing their utmost to put hindrances in the way for integrity institutions such as the Auditor-General’s Office and the Office of the Special Prosecutor on anti-corruption”.

She added: “As we are approaching an election year, the attacks against integrity institutions and individuals contributing to fight corruption seem to be on the increase. This is noted with a lot of concern by many in the international community.”

The Woes of the Auditor- General Begin

The woes of the Auditor-General of Ghana, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, became public when he petitioned President Akufo-Addo in a letter dated July 27, 2018. It was a complaint against the board chairman of the Audit Service, Professor Edward Dua Agyeman, and the board of the Audit Service. The Auditor-General said the board chairman and the board were interfering in and undermining his functions.

Article 187 (7) (a) of Ghana’s Constitution states: “In the performance of his functions under this Constitution or any other law the Auditor-General- shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”
The Auditor-General among others said the board chairman of the Audit Service was manipulating a procurement process, had attempted to commission an audit, and interfered with an audit process.

The President said a committee would be set up to investigate the complaint made by the Auditor-General, but that did not happen.

The Senior Minister and Kroll Associates

The public manifestation of the acrimonious tussle between the Auditor-General and the government that resulted in the hounding of the Auditor-General out of office can be traced to work done by the Audit Service on the Ministry of Finance.

It started when the Auditor-General issued an audit observation dated January 21, 2019 to the Ministry of Finance after an audit revealed that the Ministry of Finance had paid a UK-based investigation firm, Kroll Associates, an amount of $1,031,460.50 but there was no evidence of work done.

What caught the attention of the auditors was that the contract between the government and Kroll Associates was signed in September 2017, but “invoices include February, May, June and August 2017, an indication that Kroll Associates Ltd commenced work 7 months prior to the actual contract.”

It later emerged that the payments were made before the contract was signed based on a letter of intent dated February 7, 2017. That letter listed the four “objectives” for engaging Kroll Associates as:

1. Recovering assets from identified wrongdoers both domestically and internationally;

2. Investigating allegations of wrongdoing, and providing evidence assets recoveries and possible prosecution;

3. Building capacity for the transfer of skills, and supporting Ghana in efforts to reduce corruption;

4. Advising on preventive techniques structures to prevent corruption and asset dissipation.

That letter of intent said, “Kroll’s fees will be paid against the value of assets Kroll has identified and secured. A first phase will prove the validity of the concept by the early securing of assets and that will contribute to the cost of further phases of Kroll’s work.”

The contract was later signed on September 29, 2019, and set the fees for Kroll’s service at an hourly rate of $140 for the lowest official and $750 per hour for the topmost official.

The contract was signed by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, but payment was being made by the Ministry of Finance, the ministry whose audit brought about the transaction.

The contract said, “Invoicing will take place on a monthly basis. Kroll will provide fortnightly updates on progress and fees and only invoice for work which has been done.”

The Auditor-General found a number of issues with the contract. One of them was that the contract had no approval from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) even though it was single-sourced and the law required approval by the PPA.

The Auditor-General also said the contract was an international one and had to be approved by parliament as mandated by the Constitution of Ghana. That had not been done.

The main problem, however, was that there was no evidence of work done.

The Auditor-General’s contention is that if the work was to be done and invoiced based on the number of hours and actual work done, it was strange that the estimated contract sum was exactly what was paid.

The audit team, therefore, needed the fortnightly updates of work done and invoices for which the calculations came to the exact amount agreed as the estimated contract sum.

Audit Queries and Responses

The Auditor-General’s “Audit Observation Memoranda” dated January 21, 2019, got a response from the Ministry of Finance, which said, “Observation well noted. Management will make available the report as requested.”

The Ministry of Finance, however, did not make available the response and evidence of work done so the Auditor-General wrote back to the Ministry in an audit management letter dated March 1, 2019. A person or entity served with an audit management is expected to respond within 30 days.

The Finance Ministry responded in a letter dated June 11, 2019, saying, “The relevant documents are available for audit review. A team outside the Ministry of Finance is carrying out the assignment. We have spoken to the team leader and they are ready to share relevant information.”

Again, the Finance Ministry did not provide any information on the documents or evidence of work done so the Auditor-General then went ahead to issue the audit report in June 2019. This meant the audit had ended.

In August, the Finance Ministry wrote to the Auditor-General and attached a letter from the Senior Minister. The letter signed by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo and dated August 23, 2019, said it was in response to the Finance Minister’s letter dated “22nd August 2019 requesting me to provide any available evidence to support the status of contract performance by Kroll Associates UK Limited.”

The letter proceeded to give the background of the contract but without any evidence or document of work done by Kroll Associates. That letter was attached to a letter sent by the Finance Ministry to the Auditor-General dated August 28, 2019.

In another letter dated September 24, 2019, the Auditor-General served a notice of “intention” to disallow and surcharge the persons and organisations involved in the Kroll contract. The Auditor-General gave them the opportunity to explain why they should not be made to refund the $ 1,031,460.50, being the amount paid in respect of the contract.

According to the Auditor-General, the responses provided were not satisfactory. Kroll Associates did not respond.

The Auditor-General then served a “notice of specification and certification of disallowance and/or surcharge” on the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo; Kroll and Associates and four officials of the Ministry of Finance. They were to pay GHc 4,869,421.87, being the cedi equivalent of the $ 1,031,460.50 and a surcharge of GHc640,931.73 making a total of GHc 5,510,353.73.

The Auditor-General reminded them that they had an option to appeal the surcharge and disallowance at the High Court within sixty (60) days if they disagreed with it, which they did.

In the appeal, they argued that the Auditor-General did not give them a fair hearing and that the issue about the parliamentary approval as well as the approval from the PPA were not raised by the Auditor-General in Audit queries and in the final audit.

Lawyers for the Auditor-General argued that these issues formed the basis of the initial queries and since the parties were not contesting the illegality, it should not be entertained by the court.

The main issue, however, was whether there was evidence of work done or not.

Drama at the High Court

At the high court, the Senior Minister argued that after he received the notice of the intention to disallow and surcharge, he invited the Auditor-General to inspect the documents and evidence of work done, but the Auditor-General failed to do so.

The Auditor-General argued that if that evidence was available, it would have been made available to the audit team while the audit was still ongoing and not after the audit had been completed.

The Senior Minister’s argument was that the evidence had not been made available to the Auditor-General because it was confidential and prejudicial to national security.

The Auditor-General argued that the issue about confidentiality and national security nature of the information was an afterthought when the Senior Minister realised that he was going to be surcharged and he had no reasonable excuse to give. According to the Auditor-General, when the Audit Observation was made in January 2019, the issue of the confidential nature of the information did not come up.

Again, when the management letter was issued in March 2019 and evidence of work done was sought, the issue of National Security did not come up. Even in the August 2019 responses from the Senior Minister and Finance Ministry after the Audit was completed, the issue of National Security did not come up.

Another reason the Auditor-General said he could not go to inspect the documents after the audit was completed was that it breached the procedures of auditing and would set a bad precedent.

“What that means is if a public officer is given money to buy ten cars and the auditors go and could not find the cars and he cannot explain and the audit is completed, he can ignore them and when they are about to surcharge and disallow, he can go and buy the cars and say come and look at it,” he explained in an interview.

The Auditor-General also disputed the claim that the documents were prejudicial to national security because the Senior Minister had said he shared that information with the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), the Ghana Cocobod, and had copies himself. If all these institutions had copies, then the Auditor-General, who is supposed to audit all these institutions could not be exempt from it, he argued.

Besides, Article 187(3) of Ghana’s Constitution states that “the Auditor-General or any person authorised or appointed for the purpose by the Auditor-General shall have access to all books, records, returns and other documents relating or relevant to those accounts.”
More Drama at the Supreme Court

The High Court referred the matter to the Supreme Court to determine whether or not the evidence of work done was confidential and prejudicial to national security.

But the Supreme Court did not determine the matter that was referred to it by the lower court.

When the case was called, the lawyer for the Senior Minister told the Supreme Court that the Senior Minister was prepared to show the evidence of work done to the Auditor-General. The lawyer for the Auditor-General argued that that was not the reason they were in the Supreme Court, and that the only reason they were there was to get a ruling as to whether the said evidence or information was confidential and prejudicial to national security for which reason it was kept away from the Auditor-General when the audit was being conducted.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Auditor-General should go and inspect the documents and evidence the Senior Minister was making available and report back within ten days from June 24, 2020.

The failure of the Supreme Court to rule on whether the reports on evidence of work done meant that the senior minister did not have to prove how asset recoveries and detailed fortnightly reports from Kroll Associates was deemed as privileged information and prejudicial to national security.

It also meant that at the High Court, the Senior Minister would not have to explain why he kept the evidence of work done from the Auditor-General in the period of the audit. That information would have been necessary if the Supreme Court had ruled that the information was not highly confidential and prejudicial to national security.

At this stage, the Senior Minister still had to convince the Auditor-General that the documents to be inspected were satisfactory, that it contained all the billing hours and the amount of work done to merit the payment of the full amount.

But the Auditor-General would not be in office to oversee the inspection.

The Presidency Intervenes

On June 29, 2020, President Akufo-Addo ordered the Auditor-General to proceed on 123 days accumulated leave with effect from July 1, 2020. The Auditor-General wrote to the President arguing that there was nothing like “accumulated leave” and if there was any outstanding leave, then it was the leave for 2020, which he was undertaking as a sign of respect to the presidency.

The presidency responded by adding 44 days to the 123 days, making a total of 167 working days of compulsory leave, with effect from July 1, 2020.

The Auditor-General in a letter to the president said he believed he was being asked to step aside because of the case against the senior minister. The Senior Minister is an influential member of the government. The Minister of Finance, whose ministry paid the money to Kroll Associates, is also the cousin of the president.

Lawyers and civil society organisations condemned the decision by the president, saying it undermined the authority and independence of the Auditor-General. Some public interest individuals and civil society organisations have taken the matter up at the Supreme Court.

Some labour experts said if a public officer does not go on leave in a particular year, he or she forfeits it and there’s nothing like accumulated leave. Others also questioned why the president’s political appointees who had never gone on leave were not touched.

A cabinet minister told this reporter that the government’s problem with the Auditor-General was that he would not subject himself to the control of the board. Another questioned why he was interested in investigating the current government and not the many scandals of the previous government.

Interestingly, the board chairman of the Audit Service, whom the Auditor-General was expected to take orders from, works in the office of the Senior Minister, who the Auditor-General is auditing. In fact, the board Chairman of the Audit Service represented the senior minister in court in the case against the Auditor-General.

Back to the Supreme Court and High Court

On July 2, 2020, a day after the Auditor-General was forced to proceed on leave, the man appointed by the President to act as the interim Auditor-General inspected the documents and said he was satisfied with what he saw.

The Supreme Court then wrote back to the High Court:

“Having informed the Court that the special confidential documents, which necessitated the Learned Trial Judge to make a reference to this court have been inspected by a team from the Audit Service, representing the Acting Auditor-General and found same to be satisfactory, this court is of the view that the reference to the Court is moot and the reference is accordingly struck out.”

In the High Court Judgement, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe said the Auditor-General did not give those involved the right to be heard. On the substantive matter of whether work was done for which the payment was made, the Judge wrote:

“Eventually, however, when the matter was referred to the Supreme Court, not only did the Respondent’s office now agree to inspect the documents, they also expressed satisfaction with the work done.”

All the appeals from the five government officials and Kroll Associates were “upheld on all grounds” and no one has been held responsible for the Kroll Associates deal.

Source : Ghanaweb

Continue Reading

COVID-19

Post Categories

Trending