July 12, 2024
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Publish Declared Assets; Extend To Spouses Of Public Officeholders-CDD

The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) is calling for the publication of assets declared by public officeholders to ensure transparency.

The group is also demanding that spouses of public officeholders should be charged to declare their assets for publication.

“We are for the publication of the assets declared and expanding it to spouses,” a Fellow at CDD, Dr Kojo Asante said while speaking at a national dialogue session on “Fighting Public Sector Corruption In Ghana – Making A Case For An Effective Assets Declaration Law” on Thursday, October 12.

However, former Auditor-General Daniel Yao Domelevo has kicked against the publication of the official declaration of assets of public office holders in newspapers considering the number of people serving within the government positions.

According to Mr. Domelevo, the publication of the declared assets in newspapers will be “too expensive and wasteful”.

“The publication in newspapers, I think, is going to be too expensive and wasteful because the list is very long,” he stated at the dialogue session.

Mr. Domelevo further accused the President of not showing enough commitment to getting a bill that would ensure the publication of assets by public officeholders.

He further suggested that the Auditor General should not be in charge of overseeing asset declaration done by public office holders.

He suggested that the Auditor General should be made to focus on its core function which is auditing.

Although he says it is going to be a tall order, he wants Act 550 of the Constitution which mandates the Auditor General to oversee asset declaration to be changed to take away that mandate.

“The Act 550 is entrenched so modifying it is going to be a tall order or expensive order,” he said while speaking at a national dialogue session on ‘Public sector corruption, publishing of assets” organized by Media General on Thursday, October 12.

“Asset declaration should not be the mandate of the Auditor General as it is now under the Act, he stressed.

For his part, the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Joseph Whittal described the passage of Act 550 which is the Public Officers Qualifications and Disqualification Asset Declaration Act, as a shoddy job done by Ghana’s Parliament in 1998 under the Rawlings administration.

He explained that the Act, in its form, takes public office holders away from the people they are supposed to account to.

Speaking at the same forum, Mr Whittal said “You have asset declarations as one of the codes of conduct that the constitution has made provisions for, we will have a conflict of interest and also the importance of oath swearing and its effect. if you look, since the 1992 Constitution came, Chapter Chapter 24 only gave a skeletal outline of what is required to be done.

“The nearest we came to is passing Act 550 which is the Public Officers Qualifications and Disqualification Asset Declaration Act. That I think was a shoddy job done by parliament, with all due respect to Parliament, it was a shoddy job at that time.

“If you look at what should be in asset declaration law, what is provided there it is as if we are taking public service as a process we want to hide public servants from the people they are supposed to serve.”

Deputy Attorney-General Alfred Tuah-Yeboah also revealed that a new bill is currently being prepared by the cabinet. The bill, he said, captures issues such as gifts presented to public officeholders.

“Gift is captured in the new bill,” he said. He added that calls for the publication of the declared assets are something that can be looked at”.

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