The Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yao Domelevo has written to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), explaining that he will no longer cooperate in the investigations into alleged procurement breaches at his office.
In the letter dated November 18, 2019, addressed to the Acting Executive Director of EOCO and copied to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, the Deputy Executive Director of EOCO and his lawyer, Mr Thaddeus Sory, Mr Domelevo explained that EOCO has no mandate to investigate the alleged breaches as per the Economic and Organised Crime Act 2010, Act 804, as amended by the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2017, Act 959.
In the letter, titled “Unlawful investigation of alleged procurement breach by Ghana Audit Service,” Mr Domelevo argued that on November 7, 2019, he was invited by EOCO and he honoured the invitation.
He said on November 14, 2019, he was given a caution statement by officers of EOCO and he was granted bail and that was done through his driver.
He said upon a careful reading of the law since that day, “a careful reading of your enabling law, the Economic and Organised Crime Act 2010, Act 804, as amended by the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2017, Act 959, and from discussions with my lawyers, I am of the firm belief that your office does not have the mandate to investigate any breaches under the Public Procurement Act.”
“In fact, I am advised that the relevant provision in Act 959, which amended Act 804 is section 80, and therein your office’s mandate to investigate corruption and corruption-related offences which have been defined to include procurement breaches has been taken away, thus this power your office purports to exercise now has been effectively taken away by the amendment contained in Section 79 of Act 959,” he added.
“This clearly means that your office does not have the jurisdiction to investigate corruption-related offences which have been defined in Act 959 to include breaches of the Public Procurement Act.”
By his letter, Mr Domelevo is asking EOCO to immediately stop the “illegal and unlawful investigation of the alleged procurement breach and render an unqualified apology to me and staff of the Ghana Audit Service within 5 working days from the date of receiving this letter.”
In the letter, he explained that, “whereas staff of the Ghana Audit Service were ready to submit themselves to investigations by the appropriate authorities, I am advised that you have no basis investigating or continuing further investigations.”
EOCO launched a full-scale investigation into alleged procurement breaches at the Ghana Audit Service following a complaint by a private citizen that the Auditor General, Mr Daniel Yao Domelevo; the Deputy Auditor General (Finance and Administration), Mrs Roberta Assiamah-Appiah, and the Audit Service Board, accusing them of circumventing the procurement laws to procure some vehicles for the Audit Service.
Mr Domelevo responding denied all the allegations and described the petition as a “storm in a tea cup.”
EOCO has already started interrogating staff of the Audit Service including Mr Domelevo himself.
The petition stated among others that the Audit Service had breached the Procurement Law, Act 663 in the procurement of vehicles worth almost GH¢6.2 million.
The petitioner, therefore, requested the anti-graft agency to conduct thorough investigations into the award of the contract for the supply of the vehicles and to determine whether proper procedures were followed by the Entity Tender Committee (ETC) in procuring them.
“Recommend appropriate sanctions in accordance with the Public Procurement Act, Act 663 as amended,” the petitioner stated.
more to follow…