General News of Tuesday, 20 March 2007
The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress has filed a writ at the Fast Track High Court in Accra challenging the continued stay in office of Edward Duah Agyemang as Auditor-General.
Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia is seeking a declaration that the appointment of the Auditor-General is null and void because it breeches the constitutional provision hiring public servants beyond the statutory retiring age of 60.
He is also asking the court to place an order to perpetually restrain Mr. Duah Agyemang from holding himself out as the Auditor-General.
Mr. Asiedu-Nketia's writ comes a day after the public accounts committee of Parliament wrote a memorandum to the Speaker contesting the constitutionality of Mr. Duah Agyemang's continued stay in office.
According to the NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu–Nketia the constitutional provision on the retiring age of 60 was amended in 1996 through Act 527, to allow the State to engage public servants over the age of 60.
However such persons could be reengaged for a limited period of two years, renewable for another two years, but not exceeding five years. Mr. Asiedu-Nketia says having been appointed in 2001, Dr Duah Agyemang has over stayed the five year tenure allowed such public servants.
He contends that to start with, Mr. Duah Agyemang does not qualify to benefit from Act 527, because he did not retire at the age of 60 in the public service.
According to the NDC General Secretary, the Auditor General's appointment in the Audit Service was terminated in 1989 long before he attained the retiring age.
Therefore his appointment by President Kufuor as Auditor General in 2001 is inconsistent with the Constitution.
In his statement in of claim, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia said the appointment of Mr Duah Agyemang as per a letter dated 30th January 2002, also breached Act 584 of the Constitution because there was no limit to the period of engagement.
Joy News sources at the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament say the issue came up at the committee level as members questioned whether the Auditor General could append his signature to the 2006 Audit Accounts to Parliament.
The Committee is also seeking guidance from the Speaker as to whether the House can proceed to deliberate on the country's audited reports authored by Dr. Duah Agyemang.