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Tug of war: Auditor-General can go to hell; we'll investigate him – EOCO

The Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo, has said the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) does not have the mandate to investigate him or his office for the procurement of some vehicles for audit-related activities.

Auditor General, Daniel Yao Domelevo

Domelevo said EOCO's powers to probe cases do not cover procurement breaches.

EOCO recently launched a full-scale investigation into alleged procurement breaches at the Ghana Audit Service.

This comes after a private citizen accused the Auditor-General of procurement breaches.

According to the citizen, it has found flagrant breaches of the Public Procurement Act committed by Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo; the Deputy Auditor-General who is in charge of Finance and Administration, Mrs. Roberta Assiamah-Appiah, and the Audit Service Board, accusing them of evading the procurement laws to procure some vehicles for the Audit Service.

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In a petition lodged at the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), it said 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.

However, Domelevo denied the allegations and described the petition as a "storm in a teacup."

In a letter to EOCO dated November 18, 2019, Domelevo said: "You would recall that for close to four weeks now, your office has been inviting officers from the Ghana Audit Service including myself on the premise of investigating alleged procurement breaches in respect of some vehicles procured by GAS in 2008 for effective conduct and delivery of audit activities.

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"I was personally invited by a letter dated 7 November 2019, which invitation I honoured out of respect for your office on 14 November 2019 only to be cautioned by your officers and asked for a caution statement which I gave. I had had to be granted bail – thanks to my driver – before I was allowed to leave your premises.

"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 created offices, which has been defined to include procurement breaches, has been taken away.

"Thus, this power your offices purport to exercise now has been effectively taken away by the amendment contained in section 79 of Act 959."

But the Executive Director of EOCO, Commissioner of Police Frank Adu-Poku (Retd), rejected Domelevo's demands and said he was disgusted at the latter's comments.

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Adu-Poku who spoke to the Daily Graphic said "Yes, I just received a copy of the letter. But if he [Auditor General] has any difficulty with our mandate, he cannot sit in the comfort of his office and proffer his own interpretation to suit his whims and caprices," Adu-Poku said.

The EOCO boss questioned the interpretation put on the law by Domelevo.

He said: "That interpretation, if any, should be done by the courts," adding: "We are preparing a fitting response to him."

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