Court dismisses Zoomlion’s appeal resisting Auditor-General’s surcharge

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Zoomlion Ghana Limited has lost an appeal against a disallowance and surcharge made against it by the Auditor-General in October 2018.

Among other things, the court ruled that the “appellants (Zoomlion) failed to make a case to warrant the grant of the appeal.”

“The appellant has failed to make a case to warrant the grant of this appeal. The appeal is therefore dismissed and the allowance and surcharge herein is confirmed,” Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa, Justice of the Court of Appeal, sitting as additional High Court Judge, ruled.

Background

A year ago, the Auditor-General, Mr. Daniel Domelevo ordered that the then head and three former Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and the management of Zoomlion, to refund a total amount of GHc411,433,086 following revelations of alleged wrongful payments made to the waste management company during their respective tenures.

In separate letters to the four; Sylvester Mensah, Ras Boateng, Samuel Annor and Nathaniel Otoo, the Auditor General, Daniel Domelevo stated that after an audit into the accounts of the NHIA for the period from January 2007 to April 2018, the financial infractions were noted, prompting the surcharges and ultimatum.

Zoomlion fights back

The waste management company subsequently went to court over the issue.

The company in its defence argued that the Auditor-General’s findings were not supported by facts and supporting evidence.

Zoomlion in its appeal further argued that the respondent (Auditor-General) erred in its finding against the company.

Judgement 

However, the High Court in its judgement explained that Zoomlion failed to make a convincing “case to warrant the grant of this appeal.”

“I have considered the factors stated in order 74 rule 2(3) of the High Court (Civil procedure) Rules, 2004 (C.I 47) as amended by C.I 87 with respect to cost. I have also considered the facts and circumstances of this case including the cost of bringing the several exhibits submitted to the court in support of each parties’ case. Based on that I am of the view that it is in the interest of justice that no order should be made with respects to costs. There is, therefore, no order as to costs.”

In October 2019, an Accra High Court had earlier set aside audit findings and a notice of certification and specification of disallowance and surcharge brought against a former Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah, and his deputy in-charge of finance and investment, Alex Nartey by the Auditor-General.

The Court, presided over by the same Justice Mrs. Georgina Mensah-Datsa ruled that the audit and the subsequent notice of surcharge against the two did not follow due process, and therefore proceeded to set it aside.

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Source Author: Jude Duncan