President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has dismissed claims that his government axed the former Auditor General, Daniel Yao Domelevo.
The President said Mr. Domelevo left office by “the operation of the law,” and nobody can accuse him of forcing the then Auditor General out of office.
He stated that Mr. Domelevo attained the mandatory retirement age of 60, which every public officer is enjoined to follow, and that the presidency acted within the confines of law.
The President gave the rebuttal on Monday when one of the global television networks, CNN, based in the United State, interviewed him on the happenings in the country.
“The Auditor General, like me, should be some of the first to recognise the laws in our country,” the President said, adding “there is a time for retiring, which is described by statutes.”
The President said “it is not my making. He was 60 years old and he was no longer supposed to be able to work in the public service. The Auditor General came to 60 years old and had to retire and I say so in respect to the claim he was forced out by the government.”
He indicated that he was satisfied that his government had been effective in fighting against corruption so far, and added that “a lot has been done, and it is reflected in Ghana’s growing position and rankings of corruption in the world.”
“We’ve gone up several notches since I came into office because we are dealing with these matters at the basic level,” he posited and continued that the country’s anti-corruption institutions were poorly resourced at the time he took office in 2017, but his government has since provided them the needed tools to work with.
“You can talk all you like about corruption and make all the wonderful statements, but if the instruments at your disposal for dealing with it are weak and blunt, you get no results,” he said.
The posture of Mr. Domelevo prior to leaving office divided the country.
In Early March, the Audit Service Board revealed that Mr. Domelevo passed the age (60) needed to remain in office but some civil society organisations (CSOs) jumped to his defence, creating the impression that the controversial Auditor General was being hounded out of office.
Mr. Domelevo had just returned to post after serving his 167 days mandatory leave on the orders of the presidency in 2020, when the board chaired by Prof. Edward Dua Agyeman raised the alarm that Mr. Domelevo had passed the retirement age and needed to bow out of the service.
According to Prof. Agyeman, initially when they wrote to Mr. Domelevo to come clean on his age, he (Domelevo) rubbished the board but when the board wrote a second letter attaching incontrovertible evidence that he had crossed the retirement age, he started telling “stories.”
The Audit Service Board in a letter to Mr. Domelevo dated February 26, 2021 indicated that “records at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) completed and signed by you indicate your date of birth as June 1, 1960 when you joined the scheme on October 1, 1978. The records show that you stated your tribe as Togolese and a non-Ghanaian. That your hometown is Agbatofe.”
“On October 25, 1992, you completed and signed a SSNIT Change of Beneficiary Nomination form, stating your nationality as a Ghanaian and your hometown as Ada in the Greater Accra Region. The date of birth on your Ghanaian passport number A45800, issued on February 28, 1996 is June 1, 1961. That place of birth is stated as Kumasi, Ashanti Region,” the correspondence stated.
Mr. Domelevo then rejected the claims and said “Either my father wrongly mentioned Agbatofe in Togo as his hometown to me, or I misconstrued it at the time…My mother is also Ghanaian.”
He then said he noticed that the 1960 date of birth was a mistake “when I checked my information in the baptismal register of the Catholic Church in Adeemmra.”
Per the records bandied about, it meant that Mr. Domelevo might have been 17 years when he entered official government employment in 1978, that is if he was born in 1961 and 18 years, if he was born in 1960.
He was subsequently retired by the presidency but the CSOs cried foul and impugned at a press conference that the retirement of the former Auditor General was indicative of the President’s loss of interest in the fight against corruption.
Leading the charge against the retirement of the former Auditor General, the Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development, during the press engagement, noted that the President’s action against Mr. Domelevo was a breach of Article 23 of the Constitution.
In the ensuing heat, however, the President fired back at the CSOs and described as erroneous the suggestion that Mr. Domelevo was hounded out of office.
In a 21-page rebuttal signed by Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, in late March, the President said that it was erroneous for the CSOs to hold the view that because Mr. Domelevo was asked to proceed on his retirement, he was not committed to the fight against corruption.
The statement had said, “He was not targeted or chased out of office as has been wrongfully suggested in the public domain.
“Those leading the charge against the President should know better,” and added that “civil discourse of this nature, has been based on untruths, deliberate misconstruction of the facts and in complete disregard for the rule of law that we, as Ghanaians, have subscribed to.”
The President also talked about the bizarre manner in which Mr. Domelevo was appointed by his predecessor and the commitment of the NPP government in resourcing the Audit Service to function effectively.
The presidency then encouraged Ghanaians to hinge their public discourses on accurate facts rather than “misleading the good people of Ghana with wrong facts, conjectures and politicised speculation.”