Sulemana Braimah, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), is unsure of what will happen as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s appointment of an Acting Auditor-General, while a substantive one was still in place was unconstitutional.
Mr. Braimah wrote in a tweet, “So when the President acts unconstitutionally, he faces no consequences? If the victims of his unconstitutional acts die for example, we simply say, the victims are dead so no actions against the President? Domelovo has already retired and so no consequences?”
Kofi Bentil, a private attorney and Vice President of Imani Africa, referred to the court’s decision as “pyrrhic,” which is legal jargon for “a victory that exacts such a crushing toll on the victor that it is equivalent to defeat.”
“We won the Domelevo case against the government, but I can’t jubilate because the victory is Pyrrhic. When your Supreme Court’s actions render your victories useless, they are part of the problem.”Kofi Bentil
The decision was made by the Supreme court on May 31. It can be recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo asked Mr. Daniel Domelevo to take his accrued annual leave of 123 working days on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, and as a result, appointed an acting Auditor General.
In a statement issued by the Presidency on Monday, June 29, 2020 and signed by the Director of Communication, Eugene Arhin, it was stated that the decision to order Mr. Domelevo to take his accumulated annual leave was made in accordance with Section 20(1) and Act 651, the Labour Act of 2003, which are applicable to all workers, including those who hold public office, like the Auditor-General.
A worker is entitled to yearly leave with full compensation under the Act after a calendar year of continuous employment, and neither the worker nor the employer may waive or forfeit this right. According to reports, Mr. Domelevo has used just nine of the 132 working days of yearly leave he has accrued, since being appointed Auditor-General on December 30, 2016.
The declaration referred to a decision issued on April 9, 2009, by the late Prof. Evans Atta Mills, the third President of the Fourth Republic, ordering the then-Auditor-General, Edward Duah Agyeman, to take his about 264 working-day accumulated annual leave.
According to the Jubilee House statement, “President Akufo-Addo paid attention to the precedent in directing the Auditor-General to take his accumulated annual leave of 123 working days.”
However, the government was sued regarding this issue. As a defendant, the Attorney General’s Office was mentioned and additionally designated as a defendant was Johnson Akuamoah, the acting Auditor-General.
Nine Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who sued wanted the Supreme Court to rule that the President’s directive was inconsistent with or was in contravention of the letter and spirit of Article 187(7)(a) of the Constitution, 1992.
Supreme Court’s Decision Was Slow
Professor Kwaku Asare, a Ghanaian living in the United States, claimed that the Supreme Court of Ghana took too long to decide the issue surrounding Daniel Domelevo’s dismissal as Auditor-General.
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had violated the Constitution by appointing an Acting Auditor-General while one was still in place, he wrote on Facebook, “The slow track Supreme Court is correct in deciding in 2023 that the AuG was unconstitutionally removed in 2020.”
Professor Asare, a private attorney, however, is not the only one who is dissatisfied with how slowly the high court handled the case.