The Auditor-General, Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelevo, “must be commended and supported for his bold and fearlessness in executing his mandate granted him by the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana”, Dr. Clement Apaak, MP for Builsa South has said.
According to the Member of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, “In fact, he [Domelevo] is not answerable to anyone, including the appointing authority. And why must he not make his findings public? Which law debarred him from doing so?”
In a write-up in connection with the A-G’s recent audit report which revealed that some high-profile politicians in government and public officials benefited from the Ghana Education Trust Fund scholarships, Dr Apaak said: “Just as in the case of his adverse findings on the basis of information provided/denied him by the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Senior Minister, which resulted in his conclusions that $1 million was paid to Kroll and Associates for no work done, and for which reason he has surcharged the Senior Minister, so, too, does he have the power to publish and surcharge beneficiaries of GETFund scholarships who should not have benefitted based on the evidence made available to him. It’s as simple as that”.
The opposition MP said: “Those baying for the blood of Domelevo, those plotting all kinds of schemes and plots against him must know that in the wake of the OccupyGhana case and the ruling by the apex court of the land, the Supreme Court, the power of the Auditor-General to surcharge has been confirmed.
“And, unlike the past, the Auditor-General doesn’t have to wait for five, four, three, two or one year to hold persons and entities who his work, based on evidence the same persons/entities provide, show wrongdoing”.
He said: “The days when the Auditor-General had to wait for Parliament and the public accounts committee to sit, sometimes three to four years after the audit, before action is taken, ended with the Supreme Court verdict on the OccupyGhana case. And that is a good new change in the fight against corruption and the effort to protect the public purse.
“As a member of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, I find it worrisome and, indeed, unacceptable for members of the executive, leading members of the ruling NPP, and their Members of Parliament, to continue attacking Domelevo for doing his work. Is it because they have a lot to hide?
“Is it not obvious, as I’ve stated many times, that the Nana Addo-NPP government has an agenda to intimidate Domelevo and, or to get rid of him because he has been bold in doing his work, and has refused to overlook or hide the rot/corruption under the watch of the so-called incorruptible President Nana Akufo-Addo?
“Ask yourself: why would such a bold, fearless and straight forward Auditor-General determined to fight corruption and, or hold public officials/officers accountable, be subjected to vicious attacks and plots under the reign of a President claimed by his apologists to be incorruptible?
“All who believe in public accountability must rise to the defence of the Auditor-General, Domelevo. His style is what Ghana needs and we must not allow him to be cowed by wrongdoers. #ProtectAGDomelevo! I remain a citizen”, Dr Apaak added.
Just recently, the Executive Director of pro-government think tank Danquah Institute, Mr Richard Ahiagbah, said greed was the motive behind the high-profile politicians’ GETFund scholarship award.
The high-calibre government appointees who benefited from the scholarship between 2014 and 2018, at the expense of the needy-but-brilliant for whom the GETfund was set up, according to an audit report by the Auditor-General, include Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, Education Minister; Sarah Adwoa Safo, Procurement Minister and Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament; Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Employment and Labour Relations Minister and Mr Prince Hamid Armah, Executive Secretary of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA).
Dr Prempeh received US$11,200 and US$12,800 as tuition fee and living allowance, respectively, for a National and International Security programme at Harvard University.
Ms Safo also received US$17,004 as tuition fee and US$12,800 as a living allowance for a training programme at Harvard Kennedy School.
Mr Baffour-Awuah, who studied BA, International Relations and Politics at the University of Portsmouth, UK, also received £11,800 as tuition fee and £12,710 as a living allowance.
Dr Armah also received £33,000 and £38,400 as tuition fee and living expenses, respectively, for his Philosophy in Education programme at the University of Aberdeen.
Apart from Mr Baffour-Awuah, who is yet to make any public comments on the matter, the other three have justified their receipt of the scholarship awards.
Civil society groups and Ghanaians have widely condemned the high-profile beneficiaries for competing with and crowding out the needy-but-gifted for whom the fund was set up.
Speaking to Felicity Naana Nelson on Class91.3FM’s Straight Talk programme on Thursday, 27 February 2020 about what he made of the scandal and what could have fueled the receipt of the scholarship award by the high-ranking public officials, Mr Ahiagbah said: “Greed; that’s all I would say about it”, explaining: “Greed, to the extent that the motive for it is clear”.
“I’m not judging individuals by their standing but I’m judging individuals by their standing to say that if you have the means to do it, then don’t go for it; if you do that, it’s greed”, Mr Ahiagbah emphasised.
Asked if the high-profile beneficiaries should be sanctioned, Mr Ahiagbah said: “I think it’s above my paygrade to say so, but my feeling, honest feeling, is that at a point, where there are a thousand and one people that needed it – I’ve applied for GETfund before – the point of it is that if you hear, increasingly, the number of people who are in need of it, extremely in need, and are denied because they don’t have that influence that allows for it to go their way and I think that if it’s so much that the people with influence have crowded the space, so much that people who need it can’t get it, I think it’s not helpful”.