Sunday, 21 July

'I was very disappointed with Dame for asking A-G to delete Covid audit report' – Domelevo

Daniel Yaw Domelevo

Ousted Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo has said he felt very disappointed with Attorney General Godfred Dame when the government lawyer wrote to his (Domelevo's) successor demanding he pull down the Covid-19 audit report until parliament had considered it.

In a letter addressed to A-G Johnson Akuamoah-Asiedu, Mr Dame said: "I observe that the report of the special audit on the government’s Covid-19 transactions has been published on the website of the Audit Service. In light of the constitutional provisions pertaining to the duty of the Auditor-General after the preparation of audit reports, I consider a publication of the Covid-19 audit report or indeed any audit report particularly when same has not been either considered by Parliament or referred to a committee of Parliament, premature".

"I am mindful of the provision in section 23 of Act 584 which seems to mandate a publication of the reports as soon as they have been presented to the Speaker to be laid before parliament. However, Mr Dame pointed out, "the laws governing the functions of the Auditor-General ought to be construed as a whole". 

The constitutional duty of the Auditor-General to submit his reports to parliament and parliament’s consequential obligation to debate and scrutinise same, he argued, "will be grossly prejudiced by a prior publication of the report".

He explained that the proceedings of PAC provide an opportunity for irregularities raised by the Auditor-General to be interrogated and queried. In his legal opinion, the people and institutions affected by the report receive a further hearing on the findings of the Auditor-General’s reports at the proceedings of the PAC in Parliament. 

Therefore, he underscored, "a prior publication of the Auditor-General’s report completely undermines the purport and meaning of article 187(5) and (6) and should not be encouraged". Consequently, Mr Dame "advised" a "withdrawal of the report on the Government Covid-19 transactions from your website before same has been debated by parliament and considered by the appropriate committee of parliament".

Commenting on Mr Dame's letter, however, Mr Domelevo, whose 167-day forced leave on the orders of President Nana Akufo-Addo has been determined as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, told Kwabena Bobie Ansah on Accra100.5FM's Citizen Show on Wednesday, 31 May 2023, that he felt "very disappointed by Godfred Dame's letter to the Auditor-General to unpublished the report from its website because there's nothing in the Constitution that demands that the Auditor-General's report should only be published after it's been tabled before parliament or the public accounts committee of the legislature has considered it".

Mr Domelevo buttressed his point by making reference to the Audit Service Act, Act 485, section 23, which, he notrd makes it "very clear that the Auditor-General has to publish the report for all Ghanaians to know its content apart from handing it over to the Speaker of Parliament to be laid before the legislature". 

"So, the law is very clear on that", he emphasised, insisting, "the Auditor-General did nothing wrong by publishing the report, so, I was amazed that a whole lawyer for the government would write to the Auditor-General asking him to unpublish the report, even though it is the right that he did".

Asked to hazard a guess about what could have motivated Mr Dame to write such a letter to tye Auditor-General,Mr Domelevo said: "I don't know why the attorney general would have done that but I know the attorney general would be the one to really assist and defend the Auditor-General when things get to the crunch".