The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has launched a full-scale investigation into alleged procurement breaches at the Ghana Audit Service.
A private citizen lodged a complaint at EOCO against the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yao Domelevo; the Deputy Auditor General (Finance and Administration), Mrs Roberta Assiamah-Appiah, and the Audit Service Board, accusing them of circumventing the procurement laws to procure some vehicles for the Audit Service.
Mr Domelevo has, however, denied all the allegations and described the petition as a “storm in a tea cup.”
A source at EOCO told the Daily Graphic that already, Mrs Assiamah-Appiah had been interrogated.
“We will soon follow up with the interrogation of the rest,” the source said.
The petition stated among others that the Audit Service had breached the Procurement Law, Act 663 in the procurement of vehicles worth almost GH¢6.2 million.
The petitioner, therefore, requested the anti-graft agency to conduct thorough investigations into the award of the contract for the supply of the vehicles and to determine whether proper procedures were followed by the Entity Tender Committee (ETC) in procuring them.
“Recommend appropriate sanctions in accordance with the Public Procurement Act, Act 663 as amended,” the petitioner stated.
The complaint is similar to an earlier call by the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) for the removal of the Audit Service boss.
The pressure group threatened to petition President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to remove the Auditor General over what it called procurement breaches at the Audit Service.
It, therefore, asked the Attorney-General to commence criminal investigations into the procurement breaches of the Auditor General and take the necessary actions against him.
Domelevo fires back
The Auditor-General, in a video response on the allegations, sent to the Daily Graphic from South Africa, said he was unfazed by the probe because there was no wrongdoing in the procurement of the vehicles.
He explained that when the alleged procurement breaches were brought to his attention late last year, the service had not paid for the vehicles until the Public Procurement Board directed that the monies be paid.
“They have to prove I did those payments they claim because I didn’t do any payments to any company,” he said in his responses to a query by the Daily Graphic.
He referred to page eight of the Public Procurement Authority report dated January 3, 2019, which stated that at the time of the investigations, the vehicles had not been paid for.
“The supplier, Toyota Ghana Company Limited, was not paid at the time of the investigation for the supply of the vehicles amounting to the sum of GH¢6.1 million,” he stated.
He said when the investigations concluded that no money had been paid to the supplier, the Board of the Public Procurement Authority ordered that the Audit Service should take immediate steps to pay the supplier.
“So we were simply complying with the directive of the Public Procurement Board, so that debt is legally genuine,” he said.
“Fighting corruption is dangerous, if you fight corruption, corruption will fight you in whatever way,” Mr Domelevo added.
Checks by the Daily Graphic indicated that at its 8th Board Meeting on December 20, 2018, which considered the final procurement report of the Audit Service, the Board of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) directed that payment be made to the supplier.
The PPA’s letter dated January 3, 2019, and signed by the Director, Legal and Board Secretary, Mrs Lesley Dodoo, a copy of which the Daily Graphic has, ordered the Audit Service to pay the supplier to avert a judgment debt crisis.
“The board further directs that because the state had obtained services, and in order to avert financial loss to the state through judgment debt, instant steps should be taken by the Ghana Audit Service to pay the supplier after verifying the outstanding debt,” the letter stated.