The directive to proceed on leave is to exercise disciplinary control – Office of the Presidency replies Auditor-General

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Following a response to the office of the Presidency on the President’s directive to proceed on leave, Mr Domelevo has received a response to his letter. In the President’s letter, Mr Domelevo’s accumulated leave days of 123 days have now been extended to 167 days, effective the 1st of July 2020.

Mr Domelevo drew the attention of the President to other public officials who have many days of pending annual leave days, and thus, finds the action of the President as been taken in bad faith. He noted, “the office must have been aware also that several appointees of the President, have not, since the year 2017 taken their annual leave to date.”

“The direction, therefore that I proceed on leave, oblivious of the other workers similarly circumstanced, gives the impression that the decision is not taken in good faith.” The Auditor-General also emphasized that leave days not taken in the past should be considered as forfeited by the employer (the Government).

“To the best of my knowledge, therefore, wherein any given year a worker fails, omits, neglects or even refuses to take their annual leave, such leave is deemed forfeited with no corresponding obligation on the part of the employer to enforce the worker’s right to take their leave by assuming, deeming or declaring the forfeited leave, accumulated,” he added.

In the letter from the Presidency, signed by the Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, it explains that the reason why the Auditor-General’s accumulated leave days have been extended to 167days is that his leave days for the year 2020 was not considered in the prior directive. Thus, the 123 days of accumulated leave days as stated by the earlier letter from the Presidency extends between 2017 and 2019.

“We noted that the said letter dated is dated the 3rd of July, 2020, with an official reference number from the office of the Auditor-General, although you commenced your leave on the 1st of July, 2020,” the letter stated. “If, however you have decided to include your annual leave of the year 2020, then it is expected that you will resume work after a well-deserved leave of 167 working days, with effect from the 1st of July, 2020.”

In responding to the Auditor-General’s emphasis that the leave days not taken should be deemed forfeited with no corresponding obligation on the part of the employer to enforce the worker’s right to take their leave by assuming, deeming or declaring the forfeited leave, the letter from the Presidency explains that the directive to Mr Domelevo was to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in any such office.

The letter from the Presidency quote article 297(a) of the 1992 Constitution to back the directive extended to the Auditor-General. “Per article 297(a) of the Constitution, that power to appoint includes the power to “exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in any such office.” “Thus, to the extent that you fail to comply with a basic term of your appointment such as taking an annual leave, The President has the power to exercise disciplinary action over you to ensure that you comply with the terms of your appointment.”

The office of the President retaliates the belief of Mr Domelevo that the decision taken against his accumulated leave was taken in bad faith. The Presidency has emphasized that the directive to the Auditor-General is in line with good governance practice. The Presidency, through its letter to the Auditor-General, emphasized that “taking annual leave ensures that the officer has the opportunity to rest and be refreshed to continue performing the functions of his office efficiently. There is also the collateral reason that allows the appointing authority to assess the work of its appointee, including financial administration,” the letter added.

Even though the response from the Office of the President concerning the letter extended to the Presidency from Mr Domelevo, does well to explain the directive from the Government, it fails to explain vividly reasons why Mr Domelevo identified the directive as having been taken in bad faith. He noted, “The direction, therefore that I proceed on leave, oblivious of the other workers similarly circumstanced, gives the impression that the decision is not taken in good faith.”

Below is the letter from the Office of the Presidency to the Auditor-General:

 

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