Calls for assets declaration reforms intensify

GII Executive Director, Linda Ofori-Kwafo

… as GII launches corruption report on AU Convention

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), local chapter of Transparency International, has emphasized the need for immediate reforms to be instituted in the assets declaration regime.

This was contained in the findings of Africa Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) report launched on Monday. The report focused on the extent Ghana has been implementing the provisions in the AUCPCC adopted in 2005 as a means to combat corruption.

It also focused on the extent to which Ghana has been discharging her obligations on illicit enrichment, money laundering, political party financing, access to information and confiscation & seizure of ill-gotten assets.

Some Civil Society Organizations and individuals have in recent times called for reforms to be made in the Public Office Holders Act, 1998 (Act 550), as they have asserted that the existing act is not transparent enough.

One strategy to prevent conflict of interest and combat corruption in Ghana lies in the compliance with article 7 of the AU convention, which addresses asset declaration and code of conduct.

Section 1 of the Public Office Holders Act, mandates persons in public positions to submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all properties which shall be made by the public officer before assumption of office and at the end of every four years or expiration of term in office.

Recently, the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelovo, called for a total overhaul of the act, stating that it rather encourages concealment of assets rather than declaration; a practice he believes is not an effective tool for combating corruption.

According to the report, the asset declaration regime is deficient in many respects and reform is required as it would maximize the benefits of a robust and strong asset declaration regime.

“Government should speed up reforms of the asset declaration regime to curtail, for instance, anticipatory declarations and ensure more transparency. It should also expand the coverage of the law to include other key public officials”, the report states.

By Dundas Whigham