The Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelovo, has reportedly written to Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo and four other officials of the Ministry of Finance, asking them for time in the much-talked-about $1 million Kroll and Associates Limited surcharge case.
The Auditor-General is now asking for the consent of the minister and the other appellants to enable him to find documents to prove his basis of surcharging the government officials in court.
After surcharging the Senior Minister and co following the Auditor-General's accusation that they authorized payment to Kroll and Associates for no work done, Mr. Osafo-Maafo and co filed an appeal in court challenging the surcharge decision.
Although served with the process, the Auditor-General refused to file a response and that compelled Mr. Osafo-Maafo and co to cite him for contempt of the court.
A letter purportedly written by the legal team of the Auditor-General to the appellant's lawyers admitted that Mr. Domelovo had been served with the appeal titled “In the matter of an appeal against disallowance and surcharge by the Attorney-General, Yaw Osafo-Maafo & 4 others Vs the Auditor-General.”
“Our client has been served with the above instituted appeal the effect of which, as stipulated by the provisions of Order 54 A rule 5(1) as inserted by the High Court (Civil Procedure) (Amendment) (No2) Rules, 2016 (CI 102), is required to file, with the Registrar of the High Court, five copies of all documents used by our client in the disallowance and surcharge in respect of which your client's appeal has been lodged.”
It said, “An appeal being by way of a re-hearing as the authorities have stated, we have started engagements with our client with a view not only with ensuring compliance with the provisions of Order 54A rule 5(1) as stated above but also to advise our client with regard to the appeal against the disallowance and surcharge in respect of your client's appeal.”
“The engagements between our client and us have been rather involving and have quite overwhelmed us, especially that the overriding interest of both parties (your client and ours) being justice, we have been constrained to be a little more painstaking for which reason our client is unable to comply with the time limits stipulated by Order 54A rule 5(1) compliance with which is quintessential for bringing the appeal to the stage of hearing,” it added.
“In the light of the foregoing, we have our client's instructions to engage you in terms of the provisions of Order 80 rule 4(3) with allows the parties by consent (given in writing) without any order of the court being made for that purpose to extend any period within which a person is required by the rules of court to serve, file or amend a pleading or other document, without any order of the court being made for that purpose,” the letter said.
“We accordingly require that you indulge us for a further period of 14 days from the date when we receive written notice of your consent to enable us to fully comply with the provisions of Order 54A of C.I 102,” the letter demanded from Mr. Osafo-Maafo and co.
It, however, added that “if we do not receive your written consent within seven days from the date of this letter, we will be constrained, as instructed by our client to apply to the court for extension of time in the terms above indicated.”
Apart from the Senior Minister, the four officials from the Ministry of Finance include Michael Ayesu, Abraham Kofi Tawiah, Eva Asselba Mends, and Patrick Nomo.
According to an appeal filed before an Accra High Court, the Senior Minister and the other appellants are insisting that the Auditor-General acted “unreasonably, capriciously and maliciously” towards them in blatant violation of his duty as a public officer when he refused to inspect and study the evidence of work done by Kroll Associates UK Limited as requested by him (Osafo-Maafo).
The appeal is also challenging the investigations carried out by Mr. Domelevo as the Senior Minister suggested that the Auditor-General does not have the powers to investigate and make findings of breaches of the procurement law.
Contempt of Court
In the contempt application, the appellants stated that the Auditor-General's refusal to file the required documents and reply to their notice and grounds of appeal within the mandatory stipulated time dictated by the rules of the High Court constitutes contempt of the court where the appeal was filed.
They are, therefore, seeking an order committing Mr. Domelevo to prison or in the alternative impose any other punishment that the court may deem just and proper.
It also wants consequential orders including the setting aside of Mr. Domelevo's “impugned” decision against them as well as any other orders the court may deem fit.