A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has called for the Auditor-General’s sanctity of office to be maintained if efforts to fight against corruption are to be sustained.
The CSOs noted that the ongoing impasse between the Auditor-General, Mr. Daniel Yao Domelevo, and Board Chairman of the Audit Service, Prof. Edward Dua Agyeman, can weaken the country’s democratic development.
This follows a leaked petition by the Auditor-General to President Nana Akufo-Addo, in which Prof. Dua Agyeman is cited in a number of instance – with other Board Directors – to be interfering in the Auditor-General’s work.
This worrying development, they noted, also “has the potential of undermining the president’s persistent calls for institutions to perform their roles without fear of reprisals”.
The Group, made up of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), SEND-Ghana and the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), in a press statement said the president should “give this all-important issue his full and undivided attention”.
“As CSOs dedicated to promoting transparency and accountability in state institutions, we are of the view that all public officials elected or appointed to serve in various capacities must be held accountable to the people through laid-down procedures and channels.”
However, they noted that the Auditor-General, like any other public official, is not above the law and should be held to account for his actions and inactions.
But this notwithstanding, they stated that the content of the Auditor General’s petition and subsequent media interviews granted by the Board Chairman are very disturbing.
“Some of the issues raised in the petition and interviews granted by the Board Chairman suggest some form of micromanagement of the Audit Service by the Board. This, in our view, compromises the Auditor General’s independence.”
Against this backdrop, the CSOs observed that the ongoing process – initiated by the president after being petitioned – and related developments should be transparent and fair to among others promote public confidence in government’s commitment to the fight against corruption.
They further asked that Parliament take this opportunity to clarify the Board of the Audit Service’s role, so as to protect the Auditor-General and the Service’s independence.
Article 187 (7) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana guarantees the Auditor-General’s independence by stating that he or she “shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority”.
They reckoned that the leadership of Mr. Domelevo has proven to be a shining example of public institutions that are putting their constitutional mandate to good use.
They further advised that the Audit Service’s Board and Management – as efforts continue resolve the current impasse – “should consider the public interest and iron-out their differences in order not to distract the institution from its core mandate”.