The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is demanding the arrest and prosecution of Yaw Osafo Maafo, the Senior Minister, over an alleged $1 million deal with UK firm, Kroll Associates.
At a press conference addressed by the General Secretary of the NDC, John Asiedu Nketiah, the party insists that the current controversy surrounding the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, are attempts by the government “to have him removed” to prevent scrutiny of the deal.
The party feels the investigation of the Auditor-General is also “because of his uncompromising stance in the fight against corruption.”
The NDC stressed that “President Akufo-Addo must demonstrate that no one is above the laws of Ghana including Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo.”
“This EOCO investigation is designed as retribution against Mr. Domelevo because he has been on the tail of Yaw Osafo Maafo over the latter's involvement in the massive corruption scandal under which $1 million was paid to Kroll Associates, a UK company for no work done.”
“Rather than hounding Mr. Domelevo, we are by this press conference calling on President Akufo Addo to immediately order the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo for the breaches of the Public Procurement Act. We demand an immediate cessation of the hostile victimization of Mr. Domelevo by the Akufo-Addo government.
The Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) is trying to investigate alleged procurement breaches in the Ghana Audit Service during the purchase of buses by the service in 2018.
But Mr. Domelevo has argued that EOCO no longer had jurisdiction to investigate corruption-related offices following the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
This stance was backed by some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who have come out in support for the Auditor General.
The NDC, in addition, said EOCO was targetting the wrong man.
“We find the conduct of the EOCO unacceptable in the sense that the anti-graft agency is comfortably inviting Mr. Yaw Domelevo for questioning and granting him bail but has refused or neglected to invite Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo for the same breaches of the Public Procurement Act.”
“The Akufo-Addo government is using EOCO to tie the hands of the Audit Service Board and leave them with no option than to ask the Auditor-General to step aside pending investigations.”
But the government had refuted claims there is an agenda to remove the Auditor General from office.
A Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide urged the public to back any claims to the contrary with evidence.
“With all the due respect, it is a scandalous suggestion. In worst term, it is a silly suggestion. We cannot encourage this reckless commentary on an otherwise serious suggestion. If there is any evidence, action or inaction that somebody wants to point to even suggest that, somebody's work is even undermined -that can be put forward rather than just making an unsubstantiated, blanket and fundamental statement that there may be an agenda to remove somebody. These are serious matters and I can assure that the government has no agenda. We have no interest at all.”Auditor General indicts Finance Ministry
The Auditor General indicted the Ministry of Finance and the Senior Minister accusing them of contracting Kroll Associates in 2017 to recover assets from identified wrongdoers; investigate allegations of wrongdoing among others, paid the company an amount of US$1 million (equivalent of GH¢4,890,000), yet there was no evidence of work done.
In September, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in the meeting with the press stated that the findings that identified the irregularities are false.
The government claimed that the Auditor General did not go through the constitutional practice before going public and announcing the finding to the mass media.
In relation to the above, in October, the Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo in a letter addressed to the Auditor General explained that the company actually worked and there was ample evidence of the work done by the firm to merit government's payment.
Also, he 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.
Stop attacking Auditor General – Economic Fighters League to politicians
Pressure group, Economic Fighters League has cautioned persons trying to discredit the work of the Auditor General through attacks to desist from such practices.
“This statement is to show unreserved support to the Auditor-General, Mr. Daniel Domelevo and the audit service, which has come under intense attack from partisan political hawks recently, including through a frivolous petition to EOCO against the Auditor-General.”
The group further said that if the government was serious about fighting public sector corruption, “it would not allow a hardworking Auditor-General like Daniel Domelevo to be attacked and discredited.”
“We encourage the Auditor-General to stand firm and not be intimidated and to do his work without fear or favour. The nation is solidly behind him,” the statement added.