By a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court yesterday declared that the decision by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to ask Daniel Yaw Domelevo to proceed on accumulated leave in 2020 is unconstitutional.
The panel presided over by Justice Nene Amegatcher again declared that the directive appointing acting Auditor-General Mr Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu when the substantive Auditor-General had not been removed is unconstitutional and null and void.
Nana Asante Bediatuo, the Secretary to the President, signed the green letter addressed to Mr Domelevo on June 29, which instructed the former Auditor General to proceed on 167 days leave starting from Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
Following the directive to Mr Domelevo (now retired) to proceed on leave, eight civil society organisations organised a press conference and subsequently sued the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice on October 26, 2020.
They are Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Citizen Ghana Movement, Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Parliamentary Network Africa, Penplusbytes, Media Foundation for West Africa, SEND Ghana and One Ghana Movement.”
The plaintiffs asked the court for a declaration that, on a true and proper interpretation of Articles 70(1)(b) and 71(1), 187(3), (5), (7)(a), (8), (12), and (13), and Article 297(a) of the 1992 Constitution, the directives issued by or on behalf of the President on or between June 29, 2020 and July, 3, 2020, instructing the Auditor-General to proceed on “accumulated” leave with effect from July 1,2020 for a prescribed number of days determined by the President, are void and of no legal effect, because the said directives are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the aforementioned provisions of the constitution as they improperly interfere with the independence and functions of the Auditor-General.
They wanted the apex court to declare that, the purported appointment or designation by or on behalf of the President on June 30, 2020, of Mr Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu as “Acting Auditor-General” is void and of no legal effect, as the said appointment stands contrary to Articles 70(1) (b), 187(3), and (7) of the constitution as well as the Second Schedule to the constitution.
The plaintiffs further urged the court to hold that, on a true and proper interpretation of Articles 70(1)(b) and 187(3) of the constitution, the power to appoint, authorise or designate a person or persons to exercise a power or perform a function constitutionally assigned to the Auditor-General is vested solely in the Auditor-General; therefore, the purported appointment of a person as ‘Acting Auditor-General,’ and the subsequent performance of the functions of the Auditor-General by such person, without authorisation from the Auditor-General violate the letter and spirit of the aforementioned provisions of the Constitution and are void and without any legal effect whatsoever.
They prayed the court for a declaration that, on a true and proper interpretation of Articles, 71(1), 187(12), and 297(a) of the Constitution, the leave entitlement of the Auditor-General is, like his salary, a right associated with his office as an independent constitutional office holder and does not constitute or give rise to an obligation which the Auditor-General is duty-bound to assume or else be compelled so to do at the instance and insistence of the President.”
The court also dismissed a number of reliefs including an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the President or his agents from issuing or seeking to enforce on the Auditor-General any directive that has the purpose or effect of commanding the Auditor-General to take his leave or surrender any of his powers or functions to another person.
The court again dismissed the plaintiffs’ request for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the President or his agents from designating or appointing any person as “Acting Auditor-General” to exercise a constitutional power or perform a constitutional function of the Auditor-General without authorisation from the sole duly-appointed Auditor-General; and any other consequential orders that the court may deem appropriate under the circumstances.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA
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