A private legal practitioner Kofi Bentil is not really celebrating the verdict of the Supreme Court that declared President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s action to appoint an Acting Auditor-General when one was still in place as unconstitutional, although he welcomes the ruling.
He says “when Supreme Court’s actions render your victories useless, they are part of the problem.”
Mr Bentil described the legal victory as pyrrhic, meaning a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat.
“We won the Domelevo case against the government, but I can’t jubilate because the victory is Pyrrhic. When your Supreme Court’s actions render your victories useless, they are part of the problem,” he wrote on Facebook.
The apex court gave the ruling on Wednesday, May 31.
It is recalled that President Akufo-Addp appointed an Acting Auditor-General after asking Mr Daniel Domelevo to take his accumulated annual leave of 123 working days on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
A statement released by the Presidency and signed by the Director of Communication, Eugene Arhin, on Monday, 29 June 2020, explained that the decision to direct Mr Domelevo to take his accumulated annual leave was based on Sections 20(1) and Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), which apply to all workers including public officeholders such as the Auditor-General.
Per the Act, a worker is entitled to annual leave with full pay, in a calendar year of continuous service which cannot be relinquished or forgone by the worker or the employer.
Mr Domelevo is said to have taken only nine working days of his accumulated annual leave of 132 working days since his appointment as Auditor-General on December 30, 2016.
The statement made reference to a 9 April 2009 directive by the third President of the 4th Republic, Prof John Evans Atta Mills, who asked then Auditor-General, Edward Duah Agyeman, to take his accumulated annual leave of approximately 264 working days.
“President Akufo-Addo paid attention to the precedent in directing the Auditor-General to take his accumulated annual leave of 123 working days,” the statement by the Jubilee House had said.
But the government was sued over this matter. The Attorney General’s Office was named as a defendant.
Nine Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who sued wanted the Supreme Court to rule that the President’s directive was inconsistent with or was in contravention of the letter and spirit of Article 187(7)(a) of the Constitution, 1992.
The office of the Auditor-General and Johnson Akuamoah who was the acting Auditor-General were also named as defendants.