The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has no power to investigate procurement-related breaches of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, a private legal Practitioner Justice Srem Sai has said.
Justice Srem Sai, who spoke on JoyNews’ Pm Express said his position is based on the legal principle which states that when two laws are in conflict, the latest of the two laws holds sway and the more specific of the laws, takes preeminence over the general one.
These principles, he said, favours the position of the Auditor General, Daniel Domelevo, who is resisting the EOCO from investigating his office.
The Auditor-General, one of his deputies and the Audit Service Board are being probed by EOCO.
The investigation was triggered by a petition from a private citizen.
This citizen alleged that there has been a breach of Act 663 in the Procurement law in the purchasing of vehicles worth almost GH¢6.2 million.
The petitioner asked EOCO to determine whether proper procedures were followed by the Entity Tender Committee (ETC) in procuring them, and recommend appropriate sanctions in accordance with the Public Procurement Act, Act 663 where necessary.
This has been rejected by the Auditor General.
Danie Domelevor has in a letter to the ECOCO declined to cooperate with the investigative body.
“It is quite bizarre and unfathomable why your office would purport to be investigating procurement breaches when and in fact it does not have any legal authority to do so unless there is any hidden or ill motives behind your actions,” Mr Domelevo queried.
He added that “in fact, I am advised that the relevant provision in Act 959 which amended Act 804 is section 80 and therein, your office’s mandate to investigate corruption and corruption-related offences, which has been defined to include procurement breaches, has been taken away.
“Thus, this power your office purports to exercise now has been effectively taken away by the amendment contained in section 79 of Act 959,” he stated.
Justice Srem Sai told JoyNews the decision of the Auditor General must not be misconstrued to mean resisting arrest.
According to Law lecturer the Auditor General is simply saying that EOCO is not the proper forum for him to be investigated.
The Special prosecutor act which is newer to the EOCO Act, and also has a specific mandate to investigate procurement infractions must be preferred to the ECOCO provision on the same subject.
“Section 81 of the Special Prosecutor’s Act says that institutions which were already investigating procurement infractions should transfer such cases to the SP Which now falls under the jurisdiction of the special prosecutor The said.