President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated that former Auditor General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, was legally retired and not forced out of office.
He told CNN in an interview cited by Accra-based Joy News that Domelevo had attained the retirement age of 60 and was by law expected to exit the public service space.
“There’s a time for retiring which is prescribed by statute, not my making. If you are 60 years old you’re supposed no longer to be able to work in the public service,” the president explained.
“The Auditor-General, like me… should be some of the first [persons] to recognize the laws in our country,” he added.
The Domelevo gate made headlines last year when the presidency ordered the then Auditor-General to proceed on accumulated leave.
When he was due to resume in early March, the presidency announced that he had been retired because he had reached the legal age.
But this is not the first time the president is commenting on the ensuing furore especially by civil society organizations (CSOs) that averred that the circumstances around Dormelevo’s retirement left much to be desired.
In a 21-paged open letter issued on Friday, March 19, 2021, in response to issues raised by the anti-graft CSOs, the President insisted that he extended the necessary support, encouragement and resources to Mr Domelevo during his tenure as the Auditor-General and demonstrated his commitment at all material times to work with him (Domelevo) even though he was not the authority that initially appointed him (Domelevo).
The statement said despite Mr Domelevo being appointed on the eve of the exit from office of former President John Mahama with the sole aim of saddling President Akufo-Addo with an Auditor-General “whose allegiance was to former President Mahama, instead of the nation”, President Akufo-Addo demonstrated his willingness to work with and did work with Mr Domelevo during his tenure as the Auditor-General of the country”.
On Mr Domelevo’s retirement, the letter said the former Auditor-General had given conflicting information about his birth date and was asked by the Board of the Audit Service to provide an explanation on the disparities and anomalies in his employment records.
Mr Domelevo, in 1978 provided to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) June 1, 1960, as his date of birth and indicated his hometown as Agbotafe in Togo when he joined SSNIT as an employee of the Ghana Education Service at the age of 18.
In 1993, Mr Domelevo sought to change the beneficiary to his pension fund and indicated again that he was born on June 1, 1961, and changed his hometown to Ada.
It was also discovered that Mr Domelevo’s Ghanaian passport issued on February 28, 1996, gave his date of birth as June 1, 1961, and his hometown as Kumasi
The letter said the Audit Service Board asked Mr Domelevo to clarify the inconsistencies in his record but he declined to attend a meeting with the Board. He did not challenge his birth date of June 1, 1960, and was put on notice to provide true and accurate information, and the matter, after careful consideration was referred to the Office of the President.
The Office of the President in turn reviewed all the documents made available to it and the relevant law and concluded that Mr. Domelevo’s date of retirement was June 1, 2020.
The letter said President Akufo-Addo also took note of the fact that no credible information had been put forth to show that Mr. Domelevo was born on any other day other than June 1, 1960, and the fact that he had also not taken steps to contest his date of birth if indeed it was erroneous in the records of SSNIT.
Thus the President, based on those facts, notified Mr Domelevo on March 3, 2021, that, that in accordance with the dictates of the Constitution, it was his deemed view that he (Domelevo) had officially retired on June 1, 2020.