The Auditor-General, Mr Dominic Yao Domelevo, has asked the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to stop probing him and his outfit over alleged procurement breaches concerning duty vehicles in 2018.
He said EOCO had no power to subject him and officials of the Ghana Audit Service to investigations.
He, consequently, demanded an unqualified apology from the anti-graft state agency within five working days from the date of the receipt of his letter, dated November 18, 2019.
“I am by this letter asking you and your office 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 five (5) working days from the date of receiving this letter,” the letter demanded.
But the Executive Director of EOCO, Commissioner of Police Frank Adu-Poku(Retd), rejected Mr Domelevo’s demands, saying he was disgusted at the latter’s comments.
Mr Domelevo, his Deputy in charge of Finance and Administration, Mrs Roberta Assiamah-Appiah, and the Audit Service Board have been accused of circumventing procurement laws to procure some vehicles for the Audit Service.
A petition by a private citizen to EOCO claimed, among other things, that the Audit Service had breached the Procurement Law, Act 663, in the procurement of vehicles worth almost GH¢6.2 million.
The petitioner requested EOCO to determine whether proper procedures were followed by the Entity Tender Committee (ETC) in procuring them and recommend appropriate sanctions in accordance with the Public Procurement Act, Act 663, where necessary.
Mr Domelevo, on November 14, 2019, gave a statement to EOCO and was cautioned and granted bail for further investigations into the allegation.
He had denied all the allegations and described the move by EOCO as “storm in a tea cup”.
The Auditor-General, in his letter, vowed to fiercely resist any further investigations by EOCO until the state agency showed its source of power.
“Any continued or further investigation by your office after receipt of this letter will be fiercely contested and my lawyers are already in the know and copied in this letter,” he stated.
Mr Domelevo indicated that EOCO did not have the mandate to investigate any procurement breaches under the country’s procurement laws.
“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,” he stated.
‘You have no powers’
The Auditor-General averred that EOCO’s power in such matters “has been effectively taken away by the amendment”.
“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,” he said.
Mr Domelevo added that it was bizarre that EOCO would purport to be investigating procurement breaches when it did not have any legal authority to do so unless there was a hidden reason behind that.
He said he and the other people accused of procurement breaches were ready to submit themselves to investigations, but not EOCO, as it lacked the legal authority to undertake such an exercise.
Whims and caprices
When the Daily Graphic reached Mr Adu-Poku for his comments about 2 p.m. yesterday, he said he had received a copy of the letter from the Auditor-General and expressed disgust at the contents.
“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,” Mr Adu-Poku said.
The EOCO boss questioned the interpretation put on the law by Mr Domelevo.
“That interpretation, if any, should be done by the courts,” he said, adding: “We are preparing a fitting response to him.”