The Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, has been found guilty of contempt for failing to respond to a suit filed by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, which was challenging the $1m surcharge on him.
The court said on Tuesday May 12 that the reason given by Mr Domelevo for his inability to respond was “untenable and an afterthought.” He had had told the court he was busy finishing up an audit report for Parliament hence his failure to respond to the suit.
The Senior Minister and four other officials from the Ministry of Finance sued Mr. Domelevo to clear their names in relation to what was said to be breaches of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) that resulted in their payment of US$1 million to a private UK firm, Kroll and Associates.
Mr. Osafo Maafo had said he was resorting to the courts because “the evidence available shows clearly that the Auditor-General erred in law and professional procedures in the exercise of his powers regarding his audit on payments to Kroll and Associates Limited.”
“I have on Wednesday, 11th December 2019, instructed my lawyers to commence legal processes to challenge a Disallowance and Surcharge imposed on me by the Auditor-General following his notice on 24th October 2019.”
Mr. Domelevo had concluded that Kroll was paid for no work done, following what he said was the persistent failure of the Senior Minister to provide proof of actual work done.
But the judge, Justice Botwe, in her ruling, said due to the important role the Auditor-General plays, she will opt to caution and discharge him rather than sentence him.
She explained that the law requiring that the Auditor-General responds to appeals to his surcharge within 14 days is a good law.
She also said evidence before the court shows that Mr. Domelevo was properly served and should have done the right thing.