President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s position on a directive to Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo to proceed on his accrued annual leave will not change, the presidency has said.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo directed Mr Domelevo to take his accumulated annual leave of 123 working days effective Wednesday, 1 July 2020 but later increased to 167 following a protest letter from the A-G.
A statement released by the office of the President and signed by the Director of Communications, Mr Eugene Arhin, on Monday, 29 June 2020, said: “The President’s decision to direct Mr Domelevo to take his accumulated annual leave is based on Sections 20(1) and Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), which apply to all workers including public office holders such as the Auditor-General.”
Mr Domelevo is said to have taken only nine days of his annual leave.
But reacting to the directive from the president in a letter addressed to Nana Asante Bediatuo, the Secretary to the President, Mr Domelevo said: “My knowledge of recent labour and practice in the country is that no worker is deemed to have accumulated any leave on account of their having failed, omitted, neglected or even refused to enjoy their rights to annual leave, which the law guarantees for their benefit, not the employer.”
He stated that to the best of his knowledge, therefore, “wherein any given year a worker fails, omits, neglects or even refuses to take their annual leave such leave is deemed forfeited with no corresponding obligation on the part of the employer to enforce the workers right to take their leave by assuming, deeming or declaring the forfeited leave accumulated.”
“I am also informed that by law, every person is entitled in some in very limited circumstances, to wave what the law has ordained for their benefit, in this case, a worker’s leave. Be that as it may, the directive that I proceed on leave and hand ‘over all matters relating to the office to Mr Johnson Akuamoah’ with all due respect has serious implications for the institutional independence of the office of the auditor general,” the letter said.
Mr Domelevo said he has been constrained to make the points above as a result of the following observation:
According to him, a “previous correspondence from the chairman of the audit service board (who works at the office of the senior minister together with public pronouncement by ministers make it clear that the Auditor-Generals work is embarrassing the government.”
He further stated that: “The office must have been aware also that several appointees of the President have not since the year 2017 taken their annual leave to date. The direction, therefore, that I proceed on leave oblivious of the other workers similarly circumstance gives the impression that the decision is not taken in good faith.”
A petition presented to the office of the President, signed by some 1,000 Ghanaians living abroad and led by Lolan Sagoe-Moses and Korieh Duodu, with regard to Mr Domelevo’s leave directive, asked that the directive be reversed, noting that it would make him incapable of acting as Auditor-General.
The petition stated: “We question how the public is expected to consider such a decision as made in good faith, in circumstances where the Auditor-General is essentially being asked to make himself well-rested and refreshed for the commencement of his retirement. Mr Domelevo’s absence, during this 167-day period, would mean he will not be able to actively execute his Constitutionally-prescribed role as protector of the public purse during the crucial 6 month period before the general election, a period.”
However, responding to the petition from the Ghanaians abroad, Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo indicated that President Akufo-Addo’s stance on the leave directive has not changed.
The letter stated: “The President encourages people to be citizens and not spectators and, therefore, your petition is welcome, and its contents have been duly-noted. However, the position of the President, as contained in the letter dated 3rd July 2020 from this Office to the Auditor-General, remains the same".
“The arguments made in your petition were considered prior to the President taking the decision to request Mr Daniel Domelevo to take his accumulated leave from 1st July 2020. Accordingly, the President is unable to grant the request in your petition.”