A leading member of the civil society group Citizens Coalition, Samson Lardy Ayenini, has stated that the Auditor General‘s refusal to use his powers of surcharge and disallowance is in clear breach of the law.
Speaking to GhanaWeb on the sidelines of the Coalition’s protest against the Auditor-General on Monday, Lawyer Ayenini said the A-G’s refusal to issue surcharge and disallowance since 2019 is in clear disobedience of the Supreme Court’s orders in OccupyGhana vs Attorney General.
“It is very clear on the face of Article 2 of the 1992 Constitution. If the Supreme Court gives an order, and Occupy Ghana got this judgement with consequential orders, the orders were mandatory that the Auditor General should issue disallowances and surcharges, right? Now, what does Article 2 of the Constitution say? It says that if the Supreme Court gives an order and you disobey that order, you have committed what is known as high crime,” he told George Ayisi, host of #SayItLoud on GhanaWeb TV.
Outlining the gravity of the Auditor General’s actions, Samson Ayenini, who is a private legal practitioner, said a refusal to obey an order of the Supreme Court attracts serious consequences.
“What are the consequences of a high crime if you are found guilty? If you are the president, it is a basis for you to be removed from office. If you are vice president, it is a basis for you to be removed from office. But if you are none of those, the constitution, which is the supreme law, says if you are found guilty, you will suffer a penalty not exceeding ten years of jail. And then you will not have the opportunity to be able to stand for elections or be appointed to an office in this country for ten years. So it’s that serious. It’s not just the question of contempt,” he said.
The protest on Monday, September 5, 2022, was against the Auditor General’s failure to surcharge and disallow various financial irregularities captured in his annual reports since 2019.
“This Auditor General, at the time he was acting, had issued a number of reports, and the president said he has done something that was unprecedented that even Domelevo didn’t do. Why? Has he been appointed to issue just reports? You keep regurgitation to us that this has been missing, this is misused, this is stolen, and that is the end of it?” Lawyer Ayenini speaking about the cause of the protest stated.
The private legal practitioner emphasised that the financial irregularities reported by the A-G’s office for 2021 alone amounted to about GHC17 billion, above what Ghana currently seeks from an IMF programme.
“I just gave the example to you; we are going to the IMF for GHC16 billion. This is GHC17 billion; we should just collect the money. Look at the conditionalities that come with going to the IMF,” he told GhanaWeb’s George Ayisi during the protest.