Current asset declaration law useless -Deputy Minority Leader

Deputy Minority Leader in Parliament, Dominic Nitiwul, says the current law of Declaration of Assets is “useless” as far as its contribution to fight against corruption is concerned.

According to the New Patriotic Party MP for Bimbila, until the law is reviewed to make such declarations public, the fight against corruption in public office will continue suffer.

“If you really want to genuinely stop corruption, then we should make public, the declaration of assets,” the Bimbilla MP said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday.

Section 1 of the Public Office Holders (Declaration Of Assets And Disqualification) Act – 1998 (Act 550) states:

1) A person who holds a public office mentioned in section 3 of this Act shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of-

(a) all properties or assets owned by him; and
(b) all liabilities owed by him; whether directly or indirectly.

(2) The declaration shall be made on the form provided in Schedule II to this Act.

(3) It shall be the responsibility of the officers required to make the declaration under this Act to obtain the forms from the office of the Auditor-General.

(4) The declaration shall be made by the public officer-

(a) before taking office;
(b) at the end of every four years; and
(c) at the end of the term of his office and shall in any event be submitted not later than 6 months of the occurrence of any of the events specified in this subsection.

The Bimbilla MP noted that there is no way of knowing if an MP or politician has declared his assets because it will require a court order.

“If I declare my assets to you, nobody knows unless you go to court and you must convince the court why you want to see my assets”, he explained the legal hurdle.

Assets declared are kept with the Auditor General’s Department under strict confidentiality.

“The way our law [requires us to make asset declaration], it is as useless as not making them”, the Bimbilla MP said. His call for a review is not new. A civil society group focused on fighting corruption, the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has been advocating for a review of the law.

The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), has also described Ghana’s Assets Declaration Regime as “too weak to be useful”.

Many MPs and politicians have also expressed similar sentiments. On the continental level, the African Union has had cause to ask African politicians to declare their assets as standard global practice.

In a February 2015 report on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa which was presented at an AU summit, it states that Africa loses an estimated $60billion annually through illegal accumulation of wealth.

Story by Ghana|Myjoyonline|Edwin Appiah|[email protected]

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