The High Court has set the April 1 to rule on a contempt application brought against the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo. The judge, Justice Efia Serwaa Botwe set the date after directing the two parties to file the written addresses and any other thing by the 21st of March. The Senior Minister has cited the Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo for contempt over the US$1m Kroll payment surcharge.
Mr. Maafo and four other applicants who are officials of the Ministry of Finance had sued Mr. Domelevo. In the suit, Mr. Maafo asked the court to among other things commit the Auditor-General to prison, or otherwise, punish him for his alleged contemptuous conduct in accordance with the law.
According to him, the refusal of Mr. Domelevo to file the relevant documents and a reply contrary to the relevant provisions of the law is a “confirmation of our conviction that the respondent is taking the decision against us and the subsequent resort to media propaganda to damnify us and disparage our hard-earned reputation. He was actuated by malice and lack of good faith and without legal basis whatsoever.”
Mr. Maafo and four other officials from the Ministry of Finance initiated a court action against Mr. Domelevo to clear their names in relation to what was said to be breaches of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) that resulted in their payment of US$1 million to a private firm, Kroll and Associates.
The Auditor-General had concluded that Kroll was paid for no work done, following what he said was the persistent failure of the Senior Minister to provide proof of actual work done. Domelevo consequently recommended disallowance of the payment of the US$1million to Kroll and Associates, which the government, through the Ministry of Finance paid.
Mr. Domelevo also surcharged Mr. Maafo and four other officials from the Ministry of Finance. The Auditor-General had indicted the Ministry of Finance and the Senior Minister for paying the UK firm, Kroll and Associates Limited, in 2017 to recover assets from identified wrongdoers, among others, without verifying outcomes.
Mr. Maafo in a statement said he was resorting to the courts because “the evidence available shows clearly that the Auditor-General erred in law and professional procedures in the exercise of his powers regarding his audit on payments to Kroll and Associates Limited.” “I have on Wednesday, 11th December 2019, instructed my lawyers to commence legal processes to challenge a Disallowance and Surcharge imposed on me by the Auditor-General following his notice on 24th October 2019.”
In September 2019, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, during a meeting with the press stated that the findings that identified the irregularities were false. The government claimed that Mr. Domelevo did not go through the constitutional practice before going public and announcing the findings.
In October, the Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo in a letter addressed to the Auditor-General also explained that the company actually carried out its obligations and that there was ample evidence of the work done by the firm to merit government’s payment.
He also insisted that approval for the request for single-source procurement of professional services was obtained contrary to claims by the Auditor-General that they failed to seek approval from the Public Procurement Authority.