Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo is scheming with Prof Edward Dua Agyeman, Chairman of the Audit Service Board, with the tacit support of the Akufo-Addo government, to oust Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo from office because he poses a threat to the government, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has alleged.
EOCO recently launched a full-scale investigation into alleged procurement breaches by Mr Domelevo in the purchase of some vehicles for the Audit Service.
A private citizen lodged a complaint with the state investigative body against the Auditor-General, the Deputy Auditor-General (Finance and Administration), Mrs Roberta Assiamah-Appiah, and the Audit Service Board, accusing them of circumventing the procurement laws in procuring some vehicles for the Audit Service.
The petition and investigation both happened around the same period that Mr Demelevo surcharged Mr Osafo Marfo for supervising the payment of $1 million to private firm Kroll & Associates for “no work done”, as captured in the Auditor-General’s 2018 report.
Mr Domelevo, however, denied all the allegations and described the petition as a “storm in a teacup.”
In a letter to EOCO dated 18 November 2019, Mr Domelevo said: “You would recall that for close to four weeks now, your office has been inviting officers from the Ghana Audit Service including myself on the premise of investigating alleged procurement breaches in respect of some vehicles procured by GAS in 2008 for effective conduct and delivery of audit activities.
“I was personally invited by a letter dated 7 November 2019, which invitation I honoured out of respect for your office on 14 November 2019 only to be cautioned by your officers and asked for a caution statement which I gave. I had had to be granted bail – thanks to my driver – before I was allowed to leave your premises.
“A careful reading of your enabling law, the Economic and Organised Crime Act, 2010 (Act 804) as amended by the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) and from discussions with my lawyers, I am of the firm belief that your office does not have the mandate to investigate any breaches under the Public Procurement Act.
“In fact, I am advised that the relevant provision in Act 959, which amended Act 804, is section 80, and therein, your office’s mandate to investigate corruption and corruption created offices, which has been defined to include procurement breaches, has been taken away.
“Thus, this power your offices purport to exercise now has been effectively taken away by the amendment contained in section 79 of Act 959.”
Speaking on the matter at a press conference, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Asiedu Nketiah, told journalists that EOCO, “acting almost certainly at the behest of Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, has extended a clandestine invitation to the Auditor-General, ostensibly as part of investigations into a petition filed by an NPP hatchet man acting in concert with agents of the Akufo-Addo government”.
“What is being presented as a routine investigation into allegations of wrongdoing is in fact an attempt to gag the Auditor-General and subsequently remove him from office because of his uncompromising stance in the fight against corruption. Put more accurately, this EOCO investigation is designed as retribution against Mr Dumelevo because he has been on the tail of Yaw Osafo Marfo over the latter’s involvement in the massive corruption scandal under which $ 1 million was paid to Kroll Associates, a UK company for no work done”, Mr Nketiah said.
The information available to the NDC, Mr Asiedu Nketia noted, “Shows that the Audit Service, in the absence of the Auditor-General, procured some vehicles, which process went through the Entity Tender Committee, which was not superintended by Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo. We are aware that the office of the Auditor-General provided adequate responses to queries about the circumstances that informed the procurement of the said vehicles and the authority that authorised the transactions”.
The Auditor-General, he continued, “is known for his principled stance and pragmatism in his approach to work. Having entered the seat of government to expose corruption, it is being met with stiff resistance and machinations”.
“The Akufo-Addo government is using EOCO to tie the hands of the Auditor, Service Board and leave them with no option than to ask the Auditor-General to step aside pending investigations”, the party further claimed, adding: “Information available to us shows that as part of the larger plot to remove the Auditor General from office, the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), an NPP offshoot, which has been used to carry out this vendetta, would petition the President in the coming days for the removal of the Auditor-General instead of the prosecution of the real culprits of corruption such as the Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo”.
Mr Nketiah said President Akufo-Addo, “who has not hidden his haste to clear corrupt appointees of wrongdoing without proper investigations, would, in turn, be all too happy to oblige and ask the Auditor-General to step aside”, suspecting: “The object of all this is to relieve the pressure mounted on Yaw Osafo Marfo, over his involvement in this brazen act of corruption in the $1 million Kroll Scandal and prevent Mr Domelevo from doing further work that will shed more light on the deep-seated corruption the President is supervising”.
“In a nutshell, the invitation of Mr Domelevo by EOCO, is the first step in a grand scheme to remove him from office because the Akufo-Addo government finds him a threat to their agenda of state capture under which corruption is being used to enrich government and NPP officials as well as relatives of the President”.
“Mr Domelevo’s fearless fight against the canker and his determination to shine the light on all who engage in corruption irrespective of their position is perceived as an existential threat to the Akufo-Addo government. Specifically, his surcharge of the Senior Minister for the corrupt Kroll deal, is deemed too big a blow as Mr Osafo Marfo is considered too big a fish to fall, hence the elaborate plot to remove him.
“If President Akufo-Addo were truthful and principled, he would order further investigations into the Kroll corruption scandal following which prosecutions will commence against the Senior Minister”.
“Why is Mr Osafo Marfo still in office when there is sufficient evidence detailing his involvement in the award and payment of almost GHS5.5 million to Kroll & Associates without prior approval from the PPA? Is this breach of the Public Procurement Act not sufficient basis for his removal from office and subsequent criminal prosecution?” the NDC asked, adding: “With a President who promised in that heavily plagiarised inaugural speech to protect the public purse by insisting on value for money, would fair minds not be expecting him to protect the office of an Auditor-General who has proven strong his support to the President’s call to protect the public purse?”
“Why is President Akufo-Addo fighting constitutional bodies and state institutions who are pursuing the fight against corruption contrary to his oath of office?” Mr Nketiah asked.
He said: “Having proven the culpability of the Senior Minister, we expect the President to act in a manner that is in keeping with the dictates of Ghanaian law rather than taking steps that deepen corruption and the total dissipation of the public purse in the manner Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo has been exposed to have done”.
“The witch-hunting of Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo reveals deep-seated governmental complicity in the systematic rape of the resources entrusted into the care of President Akufo-Addo. It shows the President’s lack of commitment in the fight against corruption involving his friends and family members who have constituted his government. The use of EOCO in this dubious endeavour and the schemes set in motion must be a worry to all well-meaning Ghanaians, especially anti-corruption Civil Society Organisations such as the GII, IMANI Ghana, Occupy Ghana, the CJA etc. Especially, when the enforcement of the powers of surcharge of the Auditor-General was given effect by a recent Supreme Court ruling in a case filed by these very same civil society organisations”.
Furthermore, the party said: “The attempts to remove the Auditor-General from office is part of a sinister move that would paralyse the Audit Service which had been effortlessly undermined by the actions of Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo and Professor Edward Dua Agyeman, when they engaged private audit firms through sole-sourcing to conduct parallel audits – activities that are under the jurisdiction of the Auditor-General”.
“There is an orchestration”, the NDC alleged, “to have a puppet smuggled into the Auditor-General’s office as has been done to other otherwise independent public institutions since the assumption of power by the Akufo-Addo government. This must be resisted if our nation must move forward with any hope of fighting corruption in our public institutions”.
“Rather than hounding Mr Dumelovo”, the party said: “We are by this press conference calling on President Akufo-Addo to immediately order the arrest and prosecution of Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo for the breaches of the Public Procurement Act. We demand an immediate cessation of the hostile victimisation of Mr Dumelovo by the Akufo-Addo government. President Akufo-Addo must demonstrate that no one is above the laws of Ghana, including Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo”.
The party said it is “curious” that “Attorney General, Ms Gloria Afua Akuffo, has put before the courts some appointees of the previous NDC administration for allegedly breaching the Public Procurement Act”, but “is not showing the same interest in having Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo arrested and charged”.
“We know, without a shudder of doubt, that the reason for the inability of the President and the Attorney General to crack the whip on Mr Osafo Marfo in this case of naked looting of state resources is because of the family-and-friends ties that bind them together.
“We find the conduct of the EOCO unacceptable in the sense that the anti-graft agency is comfortably inviting Mr Yaw Domelevo for questioning and granting him bail but has refused or neglected to invite Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo for the same breaches of the Public Procurement Act.
“We cannot have two sets of laws in Ghana, one for the family and friends of President Akuffo Addo and another for other Ghanaians.
“If President Akufo-Addo fails to take action on this case of corruption by his Senior Minister, as we expect he would, he will have cemented his image as the biggest promoter of corruption in the history of Ghana and the one President who presided over the most corrupt government. His moniker as the chief corruption clearing agent would have been well and truly earned”, the party observed.