The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has rubbished claims by the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo that it has no powers to investigate him over alleged procurement malpractices.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, 27 November 2019, and signed by its Head of Public Affairs, Jacqueline Avotri, EOCO said it was misplaced for Mr Domelevo to assume the probe was aimed at removing him from office.
Mr Domelevo has been unhappy EOCO is investigating him for alleged procurement breaches in respect of some vehicles procured by the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) in 2018.
He says EOCO has no jurisdiction to do so.
In a letter to EOCO dated 18 November 2019, Mr Domelevo said: “You would recall that for close to four weeks now, your office has been inviting officers from the Ghana Audit Service including myself on the premise of investigating alleged procurement breaches in respect of some vehicles procured by GAS in 2008 for effective conduct and delivery of audit activities.
“I was personally invited by a letter dated 7 November 2019, which invitation I honoured out of respect for your office on 14 November 2019 only to be cautioned by your officers and asked for a caution statement which I gave. I had had to be granted bail – thanks to my driver – before I was allowed to leave your premises.
“A careful reading of your enabling law, the Economic and Organised Crime Act, 2010 (Act 804) as amended by the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) and from discussions with my lawyers, I am of the firm belief that your office does not have the mandate to investigate any breaches under the Public Procurement Act.
“In fact, I am advised that the relevant provision in Act 959, which amended Act 804, is section 80, and therein, your office’s mandate to investigate corruption and corruption created offices, which has been defined to include procurement breaches, has been taken away.
“Thus, this power your offices purport to exercise now has been effectively taken away by the amendment contained in section 79 of Act 959.”
However, in response, EOCO, in its statement, said: “Per section 3 of Act 804, the functions of the Office (EOCO) are to (a) investigate and on the authority of the Authority General prosecute serious offences.”
It explained that serious offences are further defined in section 74 of Act 804 extensively and not restricted to corruption-related offences.
According to the statement, Section 79 of the Special Prosecutor Act, Act 959, is limited to corruption-related offences under the category of the serious offence of the EOCO Act.
“It does not oust the jurisdiction of EOCO from investigating other serious offences that are not necessarily of a corruption-related nature,” it added.
EOCO said the investigations are in line with its legal mandate.