An Accra High Court has set April 1, 2020 to rule on a contempt application initiated against Auditor-General Daniel Yaw Domelevo by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, and four officials at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
The Auditor-General has been cited for contempt because, according to the appellants, he refused to respond to an appeal they filed against his decision to surcharge them in the Kroll & Associates audit case, and they claimed that he should have responded to their suit within the timeframe stipulated by the rules of court.
The Auditor-General has claimed that Mr. Osafo-Maafo and the Finance Ministry have colluded to pay UK firm, Kroll and Associates Limited, $1 million for no evidence of work done and as a result surcharged the individuals involved in authorizing the payment to refund the money.
The Senior Minister and the others then appealed the decision but Mr. Domelevo failed to respond to the appeal within the time stipulated by the rules of court.
The appellants, therefore, initiated a contempt action against Mr. Domelevo for his refusal to file a response to their appeal against his decision to surcharge them.
According to the application filed before an Accra High Court, the Auditor-General’s refusal to file the required documents and reply to their notice and grounds of appeal within the mandatory stipulated time dictated by the rules of the High Court constitutes a contempt of the court where the appeal was filed.
The court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe has directed lawyers for the parties – Yaw Oppong for the applicants and Thaddeus Sory for the Auditor-General – to file their written submissions by March 20, 2020.
Upon service of the written submission, Mr. Oppong has 48 hours within which to respond to anything in the submission of Mr. Sory only on point of law.
The court adjourned the matter to April 1, 2020 to give its ruling on the matter.
Meanwhile, the court has adjourned the substantive appeal until April 1, 2020, pending the determination of the contempt case.
Justice Asare-Botwe had intimated that the appeal should be put on hold until the determination of the contempt before the court tackles it.
Mr. Sory was of the opinion that the two are separate cases and as the court had earlier stated, the parties in the case are very important persons who do not have much time on their hands.
In this regard, Mr. Sory suggested that the substantive case can take its normal course as the court waits to give a ruling on the contempt application.
However, Mr. Oppong disagreed, saying the actions of the Auditor-General are yet to be determined whether they were in contempt of the court so it would be appropriate for the contempt case to be dealt with before the substantive matter.