Case Against Auditor General’s Powers Take Off
The Supreme Court has ordered parties in the case seeking an interpretation of the extent of the powers of the Auditor General vis-à-vis the Audit Service Board to file their memorandum of issues within two weeks.
This was after the court granted an application for leave by civil society organisation, OccupyGhana to file an Amicus Curia brief.
Their lawyer, Thaddeus Sory had prayed the court for leave to file the brief on behalf of the group which is not a party in the matter.
The five-member panel presided over by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah gave them one week to file the Amicus brief.
The issue of legal representation for the Audit Service Board which the Supreme Court directed the parties in the matter to resolve appears to still exist.
While Nacynette Twumasi Asiamah, a senior State Attorney introduced herself as representing all the defendants in the matter, private legal practitioner, Opoku Agyei also announced himself as representing the Audit Service Board.
He said the matter of representation was brought to the attention of the Audit Service Board but has not been resolved.
He said he had filed a response to the suit on behalf of the Board but had noticed that the AG' office had also filed one on its behalf.
When Board Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Prof. Edward Dua Agyeman, who was in court was asked who their lawyer was, he mentioned Mr. Agyei.
But Deputy Attorney General who was in court over a different matter chipped in that the Audit Service Board is a public institution and the AG's office is the appropriate body to represent it.
He added that the board was not a legal body which can be sued and indicated that he would be filing a motion for it to be struck out as a defendant in the matter.
There is a seeming bad blood between the Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo and the Audit Service Board and both sides had written separate petitions to the President calling for intervention.
Both petitions made counter allegations against each other, a clear indication that all is not well at the Audit Service.
Mr. Domelevo has been accused of usurping the powers of the Audit Service Board by appointing and transferring staff of the Audit Service without consulting the Board, and this contravenes Articles 189 and 297 of the Constitution and the Audit Service Act 2000 (Act 584).
The suit filed by Isaac Wilberforce Mensah, a journalist and a private legal practitioner highlighted the need for constitutional interpretation to make clear the lines of authority and the degree of independence of the Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo who has promised not to abide by any decision taken by the Audit Service Board.
He wants a declaration by the Apex Court that the independence of the Auditor-General as guaranteed by the Constitution as well as his duties, do not include the appointment and transfer of staff at the Audit Service.
The suit which was filed in October 2018 was the latest turning point in the brouhaha at the Audit Service where the Auditor-General has been accused of sidelining the input of the Audit Service Board based on his parochial interpretation of Article 187 of the 1992 Constitution.
The plaintiff in his writ avers that the Auditor General has vowed to continue the appointment and transfer of staff at the Audit Service as against the Constitution and the Audit Service Act 2000.
This the plaintiff avers is contained in an email Mr. Domelevo sent to the Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Prof. Edward Dua Agyeman in which he states that “I am unable to obey the decision [of the Board] that posting of staff within the Audit Service is the Board's mandate. In consultation with the Deputy Auditors-General, I will continue posting staff without reference to the Board.”