Contrary to the perception that Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo and four other officials from the Ministry of Finance have been ‘cleared’ in respect of the $1m Kroll and Associates’ deal, information available to the Daily Statesman suggests otherwise.
The four had sued the Auditor-General for wrongful surcharges against them for alleged breaches of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), which was said to have resulted in the payment of US$1 million to Kroll and Associates “for no work done.”
The case is now expected to go back to the Supreme Court before returning to the High Court for determination, after the Senior Minister had appealed before the High Court to set aside the decision of the Auditor-General, which surcharged him and four other public servants.
The appeal had been consolidated with that of Kroll and Associates. Following the application by Kroll and Associates, the High Court ordered the parties to appear before the Supreme Court to determine whether the disclosure of the documents evidencing the work done by US firm would be injurious to the security of the country or otherwise.
On June 24, the parties appeared before the apex court where counsel for the Senior Minister and the four others informed the court that, per a letter dated October 8, 2019, which the A-G had placed before the high court, Mr Osafo-Maafo had offered opportunity to him (the A-G) to avail himself for the purposes of inspection and study of the documents as the law entitles him to do.
However, Mr A-G was said to have refused to agree to the request of the Senior Minister and went ahead after few days to surcharge Mr Osafo-Maafo and the four others.
Out of court
This development led to the Supreme Court urging counsels for the parties to seek amicable settlement of the matter. In the event of failing to do so, they were to file their submissions 10 days after June 24, 2020.
Available information indicates the Senior Minister’s office, on June 29, 2020, received a letter dated June 25, 2020 and signed by the A-G, informing Mr Osafo-Maafo that he would be available to meet his team with the documents evidencing work done by Kroll and Associates.
This was followed by a team of auditors from the Office of the Auditor-General to inspect all relevant documents evidencing work done by Kroll and Associates.
On July 3, 2020, Mr Osafo-Maafo’s office received a letter from the office of the Auditor-General stating, among other things, that they were satisfied with the process of inspection, so the lawyers may inform the Supreme Court to enable the parties go back to the High Court to continue with the case.
A document filed by the A-G’s counsel at the Supreme Court on July 3, 2020 has also urged the apex court to dismiss the case so that the parties can go back to the High Court for hearing of the appeal to commence.
Nothing being hidden
Meanwhile, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a Senior Partner at the African Legal Associates, has debunked the impression being created that the Senior Minister has an interest to hide information about the contract.
Taking to his Facebook, Mr Otchere-Darko wrote: “I think it is important we set the parameters of the discussion right as some have already suggested loudly that Daniel Yaw Domelevo is being pushed out of the way because of this contract and his focus on it is ‘embarrassing’ government. Really? If there are other issues embarrassing government that we do not know about, please share. But, the matter which is topical is this Kroll engagement and matters arising.”
He disclosed that documents to be inspected, as ordered by the court, and carried out last week, are not documents about Mr Osafo-Maafo or any other person in the NPP administration.
“Let’s get that straight. The documents requested are of details of the work done and being done by Kroll to justify fees paid to them! So what personal interest has the Senior Minister in this to even want the Auditor General out of the way, as it has been alleged?” he asked.
He continued, “You may ask yourself, why can’t, as it may seem, the Auditor General, appointed just before one government handed over power to another, be trusted with preliminary investigations into the work of that previous government? But will that question be legitimate? Is it that he is not trusted to be fair and just to the previous government? Shouldn’t, under normal circumstances, Kroll be seen as working to compliment the work of the Auditor General instead of having their work questioned by the AG?
Meanwhile, attempts by the Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, to downplay the President’s directive to him to proceed on his accumulated annual leave have backfired, as his leave days have been increased from 123 to 167.
A letter signed by the Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, and addressed to the embattled A-G stated: “The President has at all times acted on sound legal principles, the rule of law and good governance practices, and the people of Ghana cannot be misled by your lack of understanding of the law, for which you may be forgiven since you are not a lawyer.”
In a three-page letter, Mr Domelevo had claimed that the action by the President was unconstitutional and not in the best interest of the office of the Auditor-General.
Source: Daily Statesman