Politics

Deputy A-G wants asset declaration by public officers to include private businessmen

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The Deputy Attorney General, Alfred Tuah Yeboah, has called for an extension of the asset declaration act to include private businessmen.

According to him, the recent composition of the law is not fit for purpose since public officers can acquire properties in the name of family and friends whilst in service.

He says because the requirement is limited to only public officers, corrupt officials can steal state assets and register them in the name of their relatives who are not under public oath to keep it for them.

“We need to include private businessmen in the declaration. The Act must be extended and not limited to public officers alone. Because someone could acquire property in the name of a relative or friend who is a businessman. Because those persons do not have to declare their assets to anyone, public officers can still acquire properties under the guise of family and friends. That is why I am calling for a review of the Act,” he noted.

Speaking Thursday, October 12, 2023 at TV3’s ‘Thought Leadership Series’ on the theme; “Fighting Public Sector Corruption In Ghana – Making A Case For An Effective Assets Declaration Law”, he said the current Act needs to be amended to include the private sector and other defects contained in the current state of the law.

Speaking at the same event, the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Joseph Whitall, speaking at the same programme said Parliament did a shoddy job in 1998 when it passed the Act 550 which is the Public Officers Qualifications and Disqualification Asset Declaration Act.

His reason he noted is because the public whom these officers are supposed to be serving is kept away from the office holders by the Act. Because the public is not shown what a public officer owns, he says it makes the act not fit for purpose.

“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 at, 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 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,” he said Thursday, October 12, 2023.

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