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20.03.2007 General News

Parliament questions A-G’s official status

By myjoyonline

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament is challenging the constitutionality of the Auditor-General's continued stay in office and the reports he submits to Parliament.

The Committee said the Auditor-General, Mr. Edward Duah Agyeman, born in November 1939 would have attained the statutory retirement age of 60 years in November 1999.

The country's laws allow public servants who have attained retirement age to be recruited on contract.

In a memorandum to the Speaker of Parliament for guidance and advice, the Public Accounts Committee said as per provisions of Article 199 (4), the maximum cumulative period of Mr. Agyeman's current five-year contract which took effect from April expired in April last year.

Meanwhile, the Auditor-General has declined comments on the matter. He told Joy News that once he has not been informed officially of the purported memorandum, he prefers waiting before making any comments.

In its memorandum to the Speaker, the Committee quotes extensively from the constitution, in questioning the continued stay of Mr. Agyeman in office.

The constitutional provision on retiring age of 60 was amended in 1996 through Act 527, to allow the State to engage public servants over the age of 60 for a period of two years, renewable for another two-year, but not exceeding five years.

The Committee said having been appointed in 2001, Mr. Agyeman has surpassed the five-year tenure allowed public servants hired after 60 years.

Joy News sources at the Committee said the issue came up at the committee level as members questioned whether the Auditor General could append his signature to the 2006 Audit Accounts to Parliament.

The Committee is also seeking guidance from the Speaker as to whether Parliament can proceed to deliberate on the country's audited reports, authored by Mr. Agyeman whose continued stay in office the committee believes breeches the country's laws.

Joy News has learnt that the Committee would not rule out going to court for a determination of the case in order not to condone what is thought to be an illegality.