Ghana: Senior Minister, 4 Others File Case Against Auditor General

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13 December 2019

Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, and four others have filed an appeal before an Accra High Court against the Auditor-General's disallowance of a $1million payment made by the minister to private United Kingdom based firm Kroll & Associates.

The Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, surcharged the Senior Minister for alleged procurement breaches and payment of cedi equivalent of GH¢4,869,421.87 to Kroll and Associates for "no work done".

Mr Maafo argued that the findings violated the first appellant's right to a fair hearing as the Auditor-General, in contravention of section 29 of Act 584 and articles 23 and 296 of the 1992 Constitution, failed to serve him with any audit observations containing any breaches by him before proceeding to issue the notice of intention to disallow/surcharge.

His counsel for the Senior Minister , Mr Yaw Oppong, contended that the determination by the Auditor General that, the payment of the sum of GH¢4,869,421.87 was without approval from Parliament and the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and thus offended article 181 of the 1992 Constitution and the Public Procurement Act, violated the appellants' right to a hearing as same did not form part of the Audit Observations issued to the Ministry of Finance under section 29 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584).

It is the case of the appellants that the Auditor-General acted unreasonably, capriciously, and maliciously towards them, in blatant violation of his duty as a public office, when he refused to inspect and study the evidence of work done by Kroll Associates UK Limited, as requested by Mr Maafo in his response for to the notice of intention to disallow/surcharge, before proceeding to serve the notice of the disallowance or surcharge.

Counsel averred that the Auditor-General committed a grave and fundamental error of law in purporting to investigate and make findings of breaches of the procurement law by the appellants when he had no such authority at law.

Mr Oppong stated that sections 3(d) and (q) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (ACT663) mandates the Board of Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to monitor and supervise public procurement.

He said that sections 89 and 90 of Act 663 further vest the Board of the PPA with the power to investigate matters related to the conduct of proceedings, or the conclusion or operation of a procurement contract, establishing any contravention of the Act and make such recommendations as is allowed by Act 663.

Thus, per sections 89 and 90 of Act 663, counsel argued that the Auditor-General is not vested with the power to establish a breach of Act 663.

He said the statutory audit powers of the Auditor-General do not extent to investigations into alleged violations of Act 663.

Mr Oppong said the Auditor-General committed a serious and fundamental error of law in purporting to determine that the agreement with Kroll Associates UK Limited offended article 181 of the Constitution and disallowing payments to that company and surcharging the appellants

The government on September 26, 2017, signed a contract with Kroll Associates for some professional services.

The contract was signed on behalf of the government by Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, the Senior Minister, and was to take effect from February 2017.

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