The Supreme Court ruling that declared the action of the President to appoint an Auditor-General when one was still in place, as unconstitutional is a win for Ghana, Co-Chair of the Citizens Movement Against Corruption, Edem Senanu has said.
Speaking on the mid-day news with Martin Asiedu Darteh on TV3 Wednesday, May 31, he said that the court ruling sends a clear message to the executive arm of government that it cannot interfere with the functions of institutions of the state such as the Audit Service.
Asked whether the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that sued the Attorney General over the President’s action feel vindicated by the ruling, Mr Senanu said “I wouldn’t use the word vindication but I would say that we are satisfied that the due process has been followed and that the Supreme Court of the land has ruled that indeed this was a travesty.
“I think civil society was very united on this issue that it was not right for the Auditor-General to have been told to proceed on leave. The manner the whole thing went, it just did not fit well with our legal framework and so we are delighted.”
“More likely we are going to look at what we have to do moving forward. The beauty is that it sends a message to the executive branch of government that one needs to be cautious.
“When there are independent institutions of state set up as a counterbalance and you begin to influence the decisions of their processes, that will not augur well for our democracy, so it is a win for Ghana in terms of the separation of powers and the balance of powers in order to make sure that this country can run well.”
The apex court gave the ruling on Wednesday, May 31.
It is recalled that President Akufo-Addp appointed an Acting Auditor-General after asking Mr Daniel Domelevo to take his accumulated annual leave of 123 working days on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
A statement released by the Presidency and signed by the Director of Communication, Eugene Arhin, on Monday, 29 June 2020, explained that the decision to direct Mr Domelevo to take his accumulated annual leave was based on Sections 20(1) and Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), which apply to all workers including public officeholders such as the Auditor-General.
Per the Act, a worker is entitled to annual leave with full pay, in a calendar year of continuous service which cannot be relinquished or forgone by the worker or the employer.
Mr Domelevo is said to have taken only nine working days of his accumulated annual leave of 132 working days since his appointment as Auditor-General on December 30, 2016.
The statement made reference to a 9 April 2009 directive by the third President of the 4th Republic, Prof John Evans Atta Mills, who asked then Auditor-General, Edward Duah Agyeman, to take his accumulated annual leave of approximately 264 working days.
“President Akufo-Addo paid attention to the precedent in directing the Auditor-General to take his accumulated annual leave of 123 working days,” the statement by the Jubilee House had said.
But the government was sued over this matter. The Attorney General’s Office was named as a defendant.
Nine Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who sued wanted the Supreme Court to rule that the President’s directive was inconsistent with or was in contravention of the letter and spirit of Article 187(7)(a) of the Constitution, 1992.
The office of the Auditor-General and Johnson Akuamoah who was the acting Auditor-General were also named as defendants.