The Auditor General Daniel Yao Domelevo has asked Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to immediately stop investigating him and his outfit for alleged procurement infraction.
EOCO, he argued, has no legal basis whatsoever to subject him and officers from the Ghana Audit Service to investigations into alleged procurement breaches in the purchase vehicles for the Service in 2018. Mr Domelevo, his Deputy in charge of Finance and Administration, Mrs Roberta Assiamah-Appiah, and the Audit Service Board have been accused of circumventing the 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 has since November 14 given a statement to EOCO, cautioned and granted bail for further investigations into the allegation. He has reportedly denied the allegation, and is quoted by the Daily Graphic to have described it as “storm in a tea cup”.
‘EOCO’s power taken away’
In a letter November 18 letter to the acting Director of EOCO, Mr Domelevo indicated that EOCO does 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 offenses, which has been defined to include procurement breaches, has been taken away,” he stated. Accordingly, he averred EOCO’s power in such matters, which is being exercised in his case, “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 has been defined in Act 959 to include breaches of the Public Procurement Act,” the letter stated. Mr Domelevo added: “It is quite bizarre and unfathomable why your office would purport to be investigating procurement breaches when and in fact it does not have any legal authority to do so unless there is any hidden or ill motives behind your actions”.
‘Stop the investigation and apologise to me’
He said though he and his staff are ready to submit themselves to investigations, but not to EOCO as it lacks legal authority to continue further investigations into any the alleged procurement breach.
“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,” he demanded.
He said “unless and until” EOCO is able to clearly show where it is deriving its mandate and powers from, “any continued or further investigation by your office after the receipt of this letter will be fiercely contested”.
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