A Binduri Youth Activist, Assibid Dauda, has disclosed the gods of his village will ensure that President John Dramani Mahama lives up to a century. According to him, this is to ensure that the former President lives long enough to see the end of detractors.
Mr. As ibid, who stated this in a long epistle celebrating John Mahama’s 62nd birthday which occurred yesterday, November 29 praised the NDC flagbearer for his goodness to humanity in general.
Read below the full article:
Dear H.E. John Mahama,
Greetings from Binduri. It’s been long since I wrote to you, today being your 62nd birthday, the gods have instructed me to wish you and communicate their decisions to you. Your 62 years on earth have been of goodness to mankind so far and it is the wish of the gods that you live above 100 years on this earth. On this day, may your enemies suffer like English in the mouth of Wontumi, as prophesied in the book of Psalm 91:13: You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the ‘mother’ serpent.
Micah 7:17: They will lick dust like a snake, like creatures that crawl on the ground. They will come trembling out of their dens; they will turn in fear to the LORD our God and will be afraid of you. Isaiah 27:1 In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword— his fierce, great and powerful sword— Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.
On the upcoming December 7 elections, the gods have instructed me to tell you that you will win the elections, with a slight majority in parliament but of course there are sinister forces working against it which I will make it known in this piece.
Mr. President, fighting corruption was one of the main campaign platforms of the current NPP government in 2016. In fact, Akufo-Addo claimed the “war of graft” was his top priority, urging citizens to step up to help expose corruption and misuse of public funds. The NPP government created the Office of the Special Prosecutor, an independent agency in charge of investigating and prosecuting allegations of corruption.
But the Papa Alamisi’s agency lacked teeth, and has had very limited success, due to “wanton disregard of statutory requests made by the office for information and production of documents to assist in the investigation of corruption and corruption-related offences.” Corruption remains pervasive, and Ghanaians are hesitant to report it: only one-third (34%) of Ghanaians believe they can report incidents of corruption without fear of retaliation or other negative consequences. Trust in the current President has declined by 75% since 2017, and this is a determinant of the election results this December.
Time they say sweeps everything along and can bring good as well as evil; evil as well as good. At no point in time would this adage ever be appropriately used than now. Mr. Martin Burns Kaiser Alamisi Amidu, Akufo-Addo’s much praised anti-corruption crusader has lost hope in Akufo-Addo’s audio fight against corruption.
He, Mr. Amidu, the weapon Akufo-Addo formed against you have resigned, of course, when the gateman realizes that the thief is his landlord he flees. Akufo-Addo is soaked in massive corruption, he is the chief priest of corruption, he is incorrigibly rotten to the core, a man whose words mean nothing to him and often times he doesn’t even remember the last lie he told. This is what his own Special Prosecutor had to say about him on corruption:
“This is why the President’s directives and instructions to you which he knows have the tendency to push me under the bus, by his doing wrong to my person as a citizen of Ghana for performing my professional duties in the United Kingdom, Jersey, incorporated Agyapa Royalties Transactions anti-corruption assessment report reinforces the divine revelation that he took the Presidential oath while looking like the innocent flower of anticorruption but being the mother serpent of corruption under it.”
Again, Voters are also faced with widening cracks in the Ghanaian economy, resulting in negative impacts on their own lives. Thus, they will punish incumbent President Akufo-Addo by voting against him. The most important issues for Ghanaians include unemployment, infrastructure and roads, education, and health. Yet GDP is projected to grow only 0.9% this year, the lowest growth rate since 1992, And Ghanaians citizens are increasingly expressing dissatisfaction with government’s economic performance, and their own personal living conditions. In fact, the most recent Afrobarometer survey reveals troubling data. Approval ratings on indicators of government economic performance have declined sharply since 2017.
Every Ghanaian can attest to the glaring fact that fuel prices are too high; food prices are killing us; there is no money in our pockets; there are higher duties at the ports; businesses are reeling under confusing single windows (one Chinese business man once remarked: ‘I missed Mahama a lot’); we are still in IMF pockets; there is a freeze on public sector employment albeit some more Ghanaians like Osafo Marfo’s children get through.
Today we have all been shown really what nepotism is. We know really what family and friends’ government is now. The Jubilee House is now AKYEM HOUSE. The government has become Akyem Abusua. There is massive corruption right from the head to the toe. The President who said he is a corruption fighter has rather displayed his gross expertise in clearing corruption. Ghanaians really miss you and can’t wait for December 7, to come so they can vote for you. Because I speak with the gods I hear a lot about the feelings of the masses, one of them, had this to say about you to me today: “Please if you can convey this my message to him. I admire him so much. And one of my greatest desire this year is that he wins this election. I will be one of the happiest persons in life.”
Kwame A-Plus one of the hardcore NPP activists that lied wickedly against you in 2016 had this to share with his fans today on the occasion of your birthday: “Happy Birthday JM, I feel ashamed that we campaigned to remove you from power because akɔnfɛm flew to Burkina Faso and corruption, only to bring the “the mother serpent of corruption” under whose watch 500 excavators vanished, over 400 aboboyaa vamoosed into thin air, 600,000 liters of fuel evaporated, a Minister turned his office into a visa connection office, PPA boss accumulated over 45,000,000.00 million Ghana Cedis in two and half years. Sometimes I sit down and wonder how we removed you because you had many ministers and accused you of running a family and friends’ government only to bring this sakawa man and his family government and many appointees like Keta School Boys.
Anyway, let me end it here.
Mr. President, one sad thing is that Politicians can never be faulted for Ghana’s problems! The shameless Politico-NEUTRALS, so called wise men are the Problems! I shudder to think if the avarice, acquisitiveness and rapaciousness of the Nana Akufo-Addo-Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia government doesn’t give them nightmares? These two gentlemen are weak overlords who are just seeking the aggrandizement of themselves, their families, friends, associates and concubines who are quicker to despoil their subjects than govern well.
They have done more than 10,000% of ills these evil men in church garments accused you of. So I ask where are our once upon a time wise men? Prof. Martey, Palmer Buckle, Otabil et al. A friend told me that Prof. Martey, Rev. Otabil, Owusu Bempah and their group are currently in Arusha, Tanzania attending a 2-day conference on Responsible commentary, Fair Judgement and Unbiased Opinions and that Prof Adei is also in Aleppo, Syria studying common sense and wisdom. It is believed that when those guys return to Ghana, from January 7th, 2021, we shall have the best democracy in the world; could it be true?
Akufo-Addo showed he grossly lacks credibility; he has borrowed over GHc150 billon with nothing to show. No roads constructed, no schools built, no hospitals built, no university built, no airport constructed, only public toilets are their achievements. They are afraid of losing this election, they are afraid of one man one vote, the only way out for them is to gerrymander the 2020 elections.
It is said that when the handshake exceeds the elbow, then it is no longer a handshake. Mrs. Jean Mensah’s ego has grown bigger than President Nana Addo’s stomach and she seems to have overgrown advice and wise counsel, she is the first tool the mother serpent of corruption and his collaborators are trying to use to distort our peaceful polls. He that invites the evil wind must make sure that his tent is solidly made. The sound of the bitter cola is never commensurate with its taste.
Jean Mensah’s evil agenda to gerrymander election 2020 deserves special attention. The NDC as a party of which you’re the flag bearer must be equal to every antic the NPP through the EC will always come with.
Jean Mensah is leading us to a funeral parlour for selfish considerations. She is being manipulated by Nana Addo and his henchmen, we need to make them understand your readiness of meeting their war drums with war drums. They are trying the mighty NDC, the revolutionaries of our time and we must make history repeat itself.
Mind you, the top echelons of the judiciary are handpicked by them and would always favour them, the only way to get justice is on the streets. Waste no time in the court in case of any electoral dispute. In fact, the Chief Justice’s unsolicited offer to settle electoral disputes within 45 days should prick your mind on something.
These are people who shamelessly ruled that birth certificate is not proof of Ghanaian citizenship, our courts are packed with very weird elements.
The recent deployment of armed military officers to the Volta, Oti and the Bui area of the Bono Region is a declaration of war against Voltarians.
The immigration officers, have often controlled our borders, with the NPP hoodlums of military men they have deployed to these regions, their current presence has sinister motives. They failed with their Western Togoland agenda and the current deployment is their last hope of intimidating Voltarians.
The recent payment of strange monies to the accounts of Ghana Police officers is a cheap move of a desperate despotic senile who is afraid of losing power. Their plan to disrupt the election process in the strongholds of the NDC must be met with brute resistance. The EC’s intention to misuse manual verification is unacceptable and needs your special attention, sir.
Jean Mensah’s latest announcement to declare the Presidential results within 24hours deserves the special attention of the election observer groups and diplomats.
Mr. President, we have gotten to a stage where electoral violence will be inevitable, diplomacy, compromise and our courts won’t help you. We need to deal with the EC with brute force, violence and Machiavellian tactics! The will of the people must prevail, the votes of Ghanaians must count and the voice of the citizens of Ghana must be heard. Thank you for listening!
The Binduri Youth Activist.
Dark clouds on Ghana’s 4th Republic; Recent events in Parliament our worst test?
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
Who judges the judges…as democracy rots slowly?
“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
Full drama of how Akufo-Addo hounded Domelevo out of office – Manasseh Azure’s latest report
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
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