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General News of Monday, 23 March 2020

Source: Daily Guide Network

Parties file addresses in Domelevo contempt case

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Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo and four others who cited Auditor-General (AG) Daniel Yao Domelevo for contempt have filed their written submissions in the case as ordered by the Accra High Court.

The AG was cited because, according to the applicants, he allegedly refused to respond to an appeal they filed against his decision to surcharge them in the Kroll & Associates audit case, claiming that the AG should have responded to their suit within the timeframe stipulated by the rules of court.

The court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwey, is set to deliver its judgment in the matter on April 1, 2020.

In the written submission of the applicants, they insisted that the AG’s written submissions were laden with ‘untruths’ and ‘inconsistencies’.

In his written submission, Mr. Domelevo claimed that he had not been personally served with the notice of appeal and the attached documents but rather it was served on one Richmond Aryee who he admits is his secretary.

He claimed that the notice of appeal and the attachments which were served on his secretary were dropped on his desk which got mixed up with other documents which had piled up on his desk.

He further claimed that the notice of appeal and other documents only came to his attention on or about January 13, 2020, exactly a month after the notice of appeal was served on his secretary.

Applicants Push

The applicants refuted Mr. Domelevo’s claim of the processes not being served on him personally, arguing that it is not the practice when it comes to service of court processes on a public officer or government department such as the Office of the Auditor-General.

They insisted that the service of the processes on Mr. Domelevo’s secretary who had placed the said processes on his desk ‘constitute’ a proper service in this instance.

“It is required that the Respondent herein who has been cited for contempt is, at least, expected to be truthful and candid to the court, would rather on oath peddle obvious untruths and attempt to cover up with his own exhibits,” the applicants counsel said in their submission.

They also challenged Mr. Domelevo’s claim that his attention was only drawn to the appeal processes on January 13 when he wrote a letter to the applicant’s lawyer on January 21 seeking an extension of time to comply with the rules of court to file his response.

They said at the time Mr. Domelevo’s lawyer wrote to the applicant’s lawyer, he had six (6) clear days within which to file the response if indeed his attention was only drawn to the processes on January 13.

The applicants prayed the court to take notice of the fact that Mr. Domelevo, although was clearly out of time to file the necessary documents and response to their appeal, went ahead to file an application without a court order or lawful justification although his own lawyer recognized in his submission that the documents could not be filed without a court order.

The applicants said Mr. Domelevo had committed further contempt of court by not telling the court that he had not been given the go-ahead by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to appoint his current lawyer in the case as an external solicitor, saying it is “contemptuous and ought not to be jettisoned by the court.”

The applicants further observed that the AG in his letter to the PPA for approval to use public funds for legal fees also requested GH¢20,000 being “inter alia payment of” ‘filing fees’ although he is exempted from paying the fee.

The applicants urged the court to “consider the processes and proceedings in its totality, as the court always does, and arrive at a decision and issue incidental orders or remedies which the justice of the case demands.”

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