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Auditor-General found guilty of contempt in Osafo Maafo case

The Accra High Court has found the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, guilty of contempt in an application filed by the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo after he [Senior Minister] was surcharged by the Auditor -General. The court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, in its ruling Tuesday morning [May 12, 2020], however, cautioned the Auditor-General and discharged him.

Mr Osafo-Maafo filed the contempt application accusing the Auditor-General of refusing to file certain documents based on which he [Senior Minister] was surcharged.

Per law, the Auditor-General ought to have filed the documents in court within 14 days after the Senior Minister initiated a legal action, challenging the said surcharge against him but this did not happen. Delivering her ruling, Justice Asare-Botwe held that the reasons given by the Auditor-General for failing to file the documents were untenable.

According to the presiding judge, the defence by the Auditor-General that he was writing a report to parliament and therefore, saw the suit by the Senior Minister one month after his secretary placed it on his desk was untenable.

The court held that there was evidence that the Auditor-General was properly served with the suit. Failure to file the documents, the judge held, meant that the Auditor-General acted willfully and in contempt of court.

Background
The Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo had indicted the Ministry of Finance and the Senior Minister for paying a UK firm, Kroll and Associates Limited, US$1 million in 2017 to recover assets from identified wrongdoers, among others, without verifying outcomes. Mr Osafo-Maafo and four other applicants who are officials of the Ministry of Finance, however, challenged the surcharge and sued Mr Domelevo.

Failure by the Auditor-General to file the documents upon which he used to surcharge the Senior Minister and the four officials of the Ministry of Finance led to the contempt application.

Contempt
Mr Osafo-Maafo through his lawyer, Yaw D. Oppong, argued that the Auditor-General’s refusal to file the required documents at the court and reply to the Notice and grounds of Appeal within the mandatorily stipulated time dictated by Rule 5 (1) and (2) of Order 54 A of the High Court (Civil Procedure Rules) 2004 CI47 pursuant to amendment by C1102, constitutes a contempt of court.

This, the Senior Minister believes, exposes Mr Domelevo’s supposed contrived scheme which according to him, is “deliberately fashioned to achieve his [Domelevo’s] own invidious agenda and also with a view to preventing the court from efficiently ascertaining the full circumstances of the case.”

Source: Graphic.com.gh

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