President Akufo-Addo says he never targeted nor hounded the immediate former Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo out of office.
Rather, he extended the necessary support, encouragement and resources to Mr Domelevo during his tenure as the Auditor-General and demonstrated his commitment at all material times to work with him (Domelevo) even though he was not the authority that initially appointed him (Domelevo).
These are contained in a 21-paged open letter issued on Friday, March 19, 2021 to respond to claims by the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations Against Corruption that the Government unduly targeted Mr Domelevo for his diligence and commitment to protect the public purse.
The Coalition, said Mr Domelevo’s retirement was not in tandem with fairness, reason and compliance with the rule of law, and that the President, by that action, compromised his vow to curb corruption in governance.
But the President, in the letter, said, that narrative had been based on “untruths, deliberate misconstruction of facts and complete disregard for the rule of law,” and that Mr Domelevo “was not targeted or chased out of office as has been wrongfully suggested in the public domain.”
The statement said despite Mr Domelevo being appointed on the eve of the exit from office of former President John Mahama with the sole aim of saddling President Akufo-Addo with an Auditor-General “whose allegiance was to former President Mahama, instead of the nation,” President Akufo-Addo demonstrated his willingness to work with and did work with Mr Domelevo during his tenure as the Auditor-General of the country.
The letter disclosed that shortly after assuming office as President on January 7, 2017, President Akufo-Addo was apprised with the facts and circumstances surrounding the appointment of Mr. Domelevo, but called a meeting at which he (President Akufo-Addo) encouraged Mr. Domelevo to continue his work as Auditor-General and pledged his support for the work of the Audit Service.
“Mr. Domelevo has, indeed, publicly acknowledged the truth of this assertion…The President has never held the view that the work of Mr. Domelevo was embarrassing his government.
“On the contrary, the President has always been a strong advocate for the Office of the Auditor-General because he believes the work of the Auditor-General is necessary for ensuring that the country’s financial resources are used prudently, and the public purse is protected,” the letter stated.
“As a matter of fact, and of public knowledge, the President ensured that Mr. Domelevo was provided the necessary resources required for the efficient running of the Audit Service, because the President considered the work of the Audit Service a critical part of good governance.”
The President in the letter said it could not be the case that Mr Domelevo was targeted or chased out of office as has been wrongfully suggested in the public domain, when he (Domelevo) had at an Occupy Ghana Anniversary lecture held on June 14, 2019 made emphatically clear that he had received substantial and unprecedented support from the Executive, President, a situation Domelevo held has lent steam to the fight against corruption.
“Mr. Domelevo considered the support from the President as the practical way of fighting corruption, and not by mere slogans, as some the civil society organizations in your coalition have been engaged in. This cannot be the position of a government that had targeted Mr. Domelevo and wanted him out at all cost. That assertion is completely baseless and must be totally disregarded,” the letter said.
On Mr Domelevo’s retirement, the letter said the former Auditor-General had given conflicting information about his birth date, and was asked to by the Board of the Audit Service to provide an explanation on the disparities and anomalies in his employment records.
Mr Domelevo, in 1978 provided to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) June 1, 1960 as his date of birth and indicated his hometown as Agbotafe in Togo when he joined SSNIT as an employee of the Ghana Education Service at the age of 18.
In 1993, Mr Domelevo sought to change the beneficiary to his pension fund and indicated again that he was born on June 1, 1961 and changed his hometown to Ada.
It was also discovered that Mr Domelevo’s Ghanaian passport issued on February 28, 1996, gave his date of birth as June 1, 1961 and his hometown as Kumasi
The letter said the Audit Service Board asked Mr Domelevo to clarify the inconsistencies in his record but he declined to attend a meeting with the Board. He did not challenge his birth date of June 1, 1960, and was put on notice to provide true and accurate information, and the matter, after careful consideration was reffered to the Office of the President.
The Office of the President in turn reviewed all the documents made available to it and the relevant law, and concluded that Mr. Domelevo’s date of retirement was June 1, 2020.
The letter said President Akufo-Addo also took note of the fact that no credible information had been put forth to show that Mr. Domelevo was born on any other day other than June 1, 1960, and the fact that he had also not taken steps to contest his date of birth, if indeed it was erroneous in the records of SSNIT.
Thus the President, based on those facts, notified Mr Domelevo on March 3, 2021 that, that in accordance with the dictates of the Constitution, it was his deemed view that he (Domelevo) had officially retired on June 1, 2020.
“For the sake of clarity and emphasis, Mr Domelevo was neither sacked nor was his appointment terminated; he retired by operation of the law because he had attained his compulsory retirement age of 60 years,” the letter said
The letter said it was unfortunate that the President’s anti-corruption credibility was being questioned in the court of public opinion because of the utterances of those at the helm of the Coalition’s affairs because of Mr Domelevo’s retirement.
It said the President’s anti-corruption credentials were unmatched, and “no amount of misconceived opinions can change that.”
“The President established the Office of the Special Prosecutor and ensured that enough resources were at the disposal of the Special Prosecutor for his work. The Right to Information Act, which had remained on the books for many years without being enacted, was passed under the President’s leadership. Anti-corruption agencies of State have been well resourced in an unprecedented manner,” the letter said.
The statement said judging by the many anti-corruption initiatives undertaken by the President, “it is preposterous for anyone or organization to conclude that the President has failed in the fight against corruption.”
“It is simply not true. It is not surprising that, contrary to the erroneous propositions of some opinionated domestic critics, Ghana’s anti-corruption credentials have been enhanced and so acknowledged by reputable global anti-corruption agencies during the President’s tenure of office.
“It is, therefore, completely disingenuous on anyone’s part to suggest, even remotely, that the President has been removing constitutional office holders that he met in office or that he has difficulty working with them.
“The President has, throughout his entire professional and public life, been a fighter for constitutionalism and strong institutions of state, and will continue to ensure that, under his watch, these institutions are further strengthened for the development of our beloved country,” the statement said.