Auditor-General found guilty of contempt

The Auditor-General (A-G), Mr Daniel Yao Domelevo, has been found guilty of contempt of court by the Financial and Economic Court “2”, for failing to respond to an appeal in the case, in which the A-G surcharged the Senior Minister and four others.

Mr Domelevo was, however, cautioned and discharged by the court, presided by Justice Effia Serwaa Asare Botwe.

In 2019, Mr Domelevo surcharged Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, the Senior Minister, and four others, to refund the $1 million the applicants allegedly paid to Kroll and Associates, a UK company, for no work done.

Displeased by the decision of the A-G, Mr Maafo and the four others filed an appeal at the High Court and served the A-G, but the A-G failed to file a response within the stipulated period of 14 days.

Mr Yaw Oppong, counsel for Mr Maafo filed a contempt application against the A-G and urged the court to commit him to prison.

In a judgement delivered yesterday, Justice Botwe, stated that the failure of the A-G to file a response in accordance with law was willful.

Mr Thaddeus Sory, counsel for the A-G, had argued that the law that requires filing of an appeal within 14 days was unconstitutional.

But, Justice Botwe held that the regulation that requires filling of responses within 14 days is “good law”.

Mr Sory also told the court that his client was not properly served and that at the time the A-G received the application, Mr Domelevo was busily working on a report for Parliament.

However, this explanation did not go down well with the judge as she stated that the reason was untenable and an afterthought.

Justice Botwe advised the Auditor-General to use the same vigour he used to issue surcharges to file responses in appeals.

The applicants had asked the court to hold that the conduct of the A-G “clearly amounts to a gross contumacious disrespect to the authority and sanctity of the law and, therefore, ought to be punished in accordance with the law”.

They also urged the court to make consequential orders, including the setting aside of the “impugned decision of the respondent”.

The applicants said the refusal of the A-G to file documents as required by law was evident that the decision made by the A-G against them was actuated by malice and a calculated attempt to impugn their hard won reputation.

They said that a search conducted at the High Court, Accra, on January 14, 2020, has revealed that although the A-G was served with the appeal on December 13, 2019, he has refused to comply with the law.


BY MALIK SULLEMANA 

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