Former United Nations Senior Government Advisor, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah has cautioned the government to be circumspect in the manner it handles state institutions as it may have serious consequences on the performance of the institutions, ABC News can report.
His caution comes after the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo announced his intentions to pursue legal action against the Auditor General, Daniel Domelevo for surcharging him over issues regarding the $1 million Kroll contract.
According to the Governance Expert, although the Senior Minister has the legal right to undertake the action, the move also has the tendency of weakening the the effectiveness of the state institution.
“Government officials should be particularly very careful about challenging state institutions. A minister who is a senior person in government taking the auditor general’s department to court for a report raises some very interesting and dangerous issues. If they choose to go the legal way by taking it to court, they have every right to do so but my concern is whether such an action is not going to undermine the effectiveness of an institution as important as the auditor general,” he noted.
Mr Domelovo in October this year, surcharged the Senior Minister and the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta for contracting a foreign company, Kroll Associates in 2017 to recover assets from identified wrongdoers; investigate allegations of wrongdoing among others, paid the company an amount of US$1 million (equivalent of GH¢4,890,000), without following due process and showing evidence of work done.
These explanations did not convince the Auditor-General who went ahead with a surcharge after insisting that his demand for proof of work was not met.
As the Senior Minister seeks to challenge this surcharge in court, Prof. Agyemang-Duah in an interview with Accra-based Starr FM argued that the decision could cripple the Auditor-General in the delivery of his mandate.
“We have to be careful not to cripple the office of the Auditor General because at the moment, in our situation, his office is the leading state institution purposely set up to audit state accounts so if the government itself or senior officials of the government decide to take that institution to court, then they are just in a way creating some challenges for the court itself,” he pointed out.
“I’m concerned for anyone to go that route, we should be careful not to do things that will destroy the credibility of the Auditor General. If senior state officials begin to challenge the auditor general’s report in this manner, it is worrying. I don’t think this is necessary,” Prof. Agyemang-Duah added.