The Office of the President, through the Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, has stated emphatically that former Auditor General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, was not targeted or chased out of office as has been stated wrongly in the public domain.
The clarification was contained in a 21-page letter in response to an earlier press conference held by the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations Against Corruption. The CSOs had accused the Presidency and the Audit Service Board of unfairly targeting Mr Domelevo.
The CSOs Against Corruption had also claimed that the circumstances surrounding the decision “to force” Mr Domelevo into retirement appears to suggest that the government has lost interest in fighting corruption.
However, the Office of the President believes the CSOs got it wrong on that.
“When President Akufo-Addo assumed office, he worked and continues to work with all the constitutional office holders that had been appointed by his predecessor, former President Mahama, including the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal, who like Mr Domelevo, was also appointed a few days before former President Mahama left office and the Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education, Mrs Josephine Nkrumah,” the letter explained.
According to the Office of the President, the two are still in office performing their duties without fear or favour.
The letter added that the likes of Charlotte Osei, former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, worked until her removal by impeachment, in accordance with Article 146 (9) of the Constitution. The impeachment was initiated by employers of the EC.
To this end, the President’s Secretary said it is “completely disingenuous on anyone’s part to suggest, even remotely, that the President has been removing constitutionally office holders that he met in office or that he has difficulty working with them.”
With regard to the brouhaha surrounding the retirement age of Mr Domelovo, the Presidency said the former Auditor General “did not have the courage” to petition the Social Security National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to rectify his date of birth.
Apart from his purported Togolese nationality, Mr Domelevo’s birthdate took centre stage of his retirement by President Akufo-Addo, after it was also challenged by the Audit Service Board.
It will be recalled that in a letter dated March 3, 2021, President Nana Akufo-Addo, through his Executive Secretary, said “the attention of the President of the Republic has been drawn to records and documents made available to this Office by the Audit Service, that indicate that your date of birth is 1st June 1960, and that in accordance with article 199 (1) of the Constitution, your date of retirement as Auditor-General was 1st June 2020.”
Mr Domelevo had struggled to explain that the 1960 date of birth was a mistake because his Catholic Baptismal register has Yaw as part of his name, which also provides his date of birth as 1st June 1961 and corresponds with Thursday or Yaw, the day of the week on which he was born.
Petition to SSNIT
However, explaining further in the 21-page document, the Presidency said its own investigations show that Mr Domelevo failed to petition SSNIT to correct the error, if it was indeed genuine.
“The Office of the President, through its investigations, also discovered that Mr Domelevo had not petitioned the Director-General of SSNIT to correct the mistake in his date of birth if indeed, it was a genuine mistake,” the letter stated.
The Office of the President stressed that if Mr Domelevo’s baptismal certificate was issued in June 1961, as he stated in his letter of February 27, 2021, then he could have used that baptismal certificate and other evidence to support his petition to the Director-General to amend his date of birth in the SSNIT records.
Although critics, including some civil society organisations, have said the basis on which the former Auditor-General was retired is problematic and an affront to the anti-corruption fight, the Presidency is convinced the decision has enough justification.
The Office of the President said it had reviewed all the documents made available to it and concluded that Mr Domelevo’s date of retirement was June 1, 1960.
It further argued that no credible information had been put forth by the man in question to prove otherwise.
“No steps have been taken by Mr Domelevo to contest his date of birth if indeed it was erroneous in the records of SSNIT. The formal process of petitioning the Director-General of SSNIT to correct a date had not been done,” the statement pointed out.