Auditor General Vs The Presidency: Why both should be shown the exit

Daniel Yaw Domelovo

You can have a good intention, but when your methodology is questionable, it mars your reputation. The circumstances under which the incumbent Auditor General was appointed is very questionable and suspicious.

He was appointed a week before John Dramani Mahama left office in 2016. Conventionally, he should have left those appointments for his successor to make since he was leaving office. But he made several appointments because he was acting by law. Not all that are legal are right.

Daniel Yaw Domelovo’s time of appointment made the new government had a prejudice against him even before he started doing his work. Audit service is a very critical service in governance and democratic building. It is the biggest watcher of accountability and transparency of public sector workers. So the new government had the impression that Daniel Yaw Domelovo was a mole John Dramani Mahama was planting in them before leaving. Some members of the New Patriotic Party openly said they were going to show him the exit immediately they take over from the government.

This became a national debate, and the finality was that those appointments were made legally and are bounded by law although in bad faith. This held the Akufo Addo’s government hands tight to some extent. John Mahama further increased the National Service Allowance within his last week in office. All these are things that should not be encouraged going forward. It is not a justifiable act to stay in office for four good years without increasing anyone’s salary and only realize they need increment when you have one week to go home. The timing is wrong, and even if you do it in good faith, it would be taken otherwise.

President Akufo-Addo

Within the three and half years of the Auditor General, Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelovo, in office, he has gone about his work quite well. He is by far the most supported Auditor General in Ghana’s history. He collaborated with a leading civil society organization, Occupy Ghana, to the courts to get the Surcharge ruling to ensure the efficiency of his work.

The purpose of this article is not to discuss the legal issues surrounding his job but the attitudes of the Auditor General and the presidency, so I won’t delve much into this.

Domelovo has had some of his works challenged by the public. One attitude of him that doesn’t speak well of him is his method of engagement. It is true that he is to ensure transparency and accountability, but he ought to do so through the right process or the correct channel. After every Audit, he is supposed to submit his report (Auditor General’s Report) to parliament. Parliament would then refer it to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for further Investigations and questioning of all the people cited in the report. Mind you, the Public Accounts Committee or any Committee of parliament has the powers of a High court and charge someone of contempt or pass judgments when necessary.

After the work of Parliament, the report is referred to the Attorney General’s department for legal actions. It is in Parliament that the report would be made public. But Daniel Yaw Domelovo, immediately he finishes the work, he leaks it to the media and the civil society organizations. The press will run the story and put the people involved in a trial before the court of public opinion and media trial even before parliament looks into the report proper.

This earned him so much respect in the media and the whole country was hoodwinked to believe he is the best “anti-corruptionist” that ever happened to Ghana. We must understand that in as much as we should all be involved in fighting corruption, we should try as hard as we can to do so through the right channel. If we rush through the process, we end up demonizing saints and leaving devils off the hook.
For instance, the current director of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND) contracted him to conduct an audit into his firm. He gave him a timeline of between 2009-2017. After the Auditor General conducted his report, he dishonestly leaked some portions to the media that had some big men names involved.

And the press ran the stories with all the sensationalism they could without even cross-checking the facts as presented by the Auditor General Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelovo. Some even called for the head of the man who hired the Auditor General to conduct the audit. Before we could hear his side of the story, the public had already passed judgment on the story. This is just an example of how dishonestly he’s been running the audit service.

Last year, without any provocation or whatsoever, he said when the government wants to sack him, they should sack him, and he would go into farming. Such statements are not healthy for a person who mans such a critical agency of the state. He was seen to be working by the public simply because of his media engagements and how was seen speaking. But an important fact is that the Audit service is an institution run by hundreds of people he (Domelovo) cannot have direct supervision over.

Now the drama …

Last week, the Executive Secretary to the president of Ghana, Nana Asante Bediatuo, wrote a letter to the auditor general and followed it with a press release instructing Daniel Yaw Domelovo to proceed on his accumulated leave. The action though questionable and suspicious, but what made the matter worse was the president referring to precedence by former president Mills about 12 years ago other than law. Why must he proceed on leave just because Atta Mills did the same?

The Auditor-General too needlessly responded to the letter in public either than sending it to the right office. In his letter, he engaged in propaganda and some misinformation that could have been avoided. But we can pardon him because he has the nation’s interest at heart and wants to be a citizen and not a spectator.

The Presidency is a serious business, and we expect that those who are put there at the expense of our taxes conduct themselves with some civility. The response from the Executive Secretary to the president to the Auditor General was so petty and brought the high image of the presidency into disrepute. In the response letter, he indicated that the letter is yet to be served to them. How then do you respond to a letter you’ve not even received yet? What if it was a fake letter making rounds on social media and not emanating from the Auditor General? Then you respond as a presidency. Is that what the presidency has been reduced to?

The presidency is the most revered office of our land, and we expect much from them because we’ve given them much. They are handling the matter with a lot of pettiness and vindictiveness that overshadows the good motives even, if there is any.

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