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Lawyer questions legality of Auditor-General’s request for prosecutorial powers

The legality of the request by the Auditor General to be given the power to prosecute individuals and institutions indicted in the annual audit reports is being questioned by a legal practitioner, Justice Srem-Sai.

The Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, announced Monday that it has applied to the Attorney General to be given prosecutorial powers to deal with state institutions and persons at the various ministries, departments and agencies who engage in financial malfeasance.

“…if a fiat is given by the Attorney General to Audit Service just like it has been given to the police and others to prosecute…which I have actually applied for, you will see me in action,” he said at a press conference Monday.

His comments have since attracted divergent views with some arguing he does not need prosecutorial powers, while others have questioned the constitutional basis for such application by the Auditor General.

Justice Srem-Sai

Law lecturer at GIMPA, Mr. Srem-Sai argued in a facebook post Tuesday that Daniel Yaw Domelevo while the grant of such powers could make the work of the Auditor-General meaningful, it could also result in a breach of law.

The1992 constitution, he said, guarantees the independence of the Auditor-General of which the power to prosecute is not stated.

“The Auditor-General’s independence is guaranteed under the Constitution. His powers and functions are also limited there. It does not include prosecution. Public law principles tell us that a public officer has no power beyond that which is given by law; and that one cannot amend the Constitution with a lower-ranking law,” he stated.

According to Justice Srem-Sai, the power to prosecute and the control of such power is inherent to the Attorney-General.

“On the other hand, the power to prosecute and the control of such power is inherent to the Attorney-General. Even though she may delegate that power, students of constitutional law seem to agree that she controls the exercise of that power wherever she delegates it,” he averred.

On the basis of that, he said granting such powers to the Auditor General could compromise his independence and also amount to an extra-constitutional extension of his powers.

By Irene Amesimeku||Ghana

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