Petitions over Domelevo’s leave won’t change anything; go to court – Ndebugri

A private legal practitioner, John Ndebugri wants persons who are petitioning President Nana Akufo-Addo to reverse the mandatory leave directive given to the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, to rather go to the courts to achieve a meaningful result.

According to him, signing petitions won’t in any way have any effect on the country’s democracy.

Speaking on Eyewitness News on Friday, he said those who are challenging the legal basis for the President’s decision are “totally wrong.”

Various individuals and groups including OccupyGhana and over 1,000 individual Ghanaians home and abroad have called on the President Akufo-Addo to reverse the decision to ask Daniel Domelevo to mandatorily proceed on leave.

According to one of the petitions, the President’s letter to Domelevo dated 30th June 2020, renders the Auditor-General, an independent constitutional officer mandated with auditing the accounts of all Ghanaian public institutions, incapable of performing his duties.

“We wish to point out that since the alleged “mandatory” annual leave entitlement of a worker under the Labour Act is 15 days per annum, it is curious that the Presidency has nevertheless ordered the Auditor-General to take his full accumulated leave entitlement under his terms and conditions of employment (which has been variously stated as 123 or 167 days). We question why, if there is genuine concern for the wellbeing of the Auditor-General, and a genuine concern to conform with the Labour Act, that the request for him to take leave has not been limited to the statutory minimum of 15 days per annum.”

But Ndebugri said the president has a legal basis for his action.

“Leave is a statutory obligation under Section 31 of the Labour Act. They [petitioners] are absolutely wrong… They are wrong to say that the right to leave is a constitutional right but it is not a statutory obligation,” he said.

He further reiterated his call for Mr. Domelevo to seek legal redress on the matter in court. He noted that going to court would help clarify the matter in a way that will give better clarity on whether or not a president can order an Auditor General to proceed on leave.

“If the Auditor General, Mr. Domelvo says that the president has overstepped his powers, he [Domelevo] should go to court and challenge his position… This business of signing petitions and so on, I don’t think it is going to help to advance our democracy,” Ndebugri posited.

“We have all sorts of interpretation to Section 31 of the Labour Act and so the only place where we can go and get a definitive interpretation is the law court, and not signing petitions,” he added.

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