Ghana’s asset declaration and liability regime facilitates corruption – Mary Addah

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Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) program manager Mary Addah says Ghana’s asset and liability reporting regime facilitates some of the corruption the country is experiencing.

According to her, the current asset and liability disclosure regime is weak and unable to ensure that public officials are held accountable for their corrupt practices.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, she said Ghana was not complying with international best practices in asset and liability reporting.

“The Asian community has one of the best examples of asset declaration regimes that exist. And recently we did an analysis of the same and we realized that our law that we advocate for forever change is one of the weakest we have because you just declared your asset and until that there is a problem where a competent authority which is the CHRAJ as provided by the constitution then enters to evaluate and make an analysis.

“So our regime is weak, our regime is an enabler of some of these offenses that we see clearly and if it’s true what I’ve heard and read; I hear the gentleman didn’t even declare his assets in the first place during the initial checks. If that’s true, that’s a big offense.

“How is it that the appointing authority has not ensured that a person they have appointed declares their assets? The constitution says three months after taking office, and ACT 550 says 6 months after taking office and the same 6 months after you leave office or the assigned office you held. Today, if what we are hearing is true, it is a big offense and there are penalties that come with non-compliance as stated in the constitution and also in the law,” she said.

She said that the declaration of assets and liabilities should not end right after the assets and liabilities of said public officer have been declared.

According to her, the declared assets and liabilities must be checked, published and constantly updated as the public official gains or loses an asset or a liability.

“We have other places, and I’m talking about best practices where reported assets and liabilities are checked and, to push it, published as well. Then the last step is the control of assets and liabilities, because people accumulate or reduce their assets as they go through life.

“And so if you took office today as a public officer at a certain salary, you have to declare your assets, and then during your tenure, whenever you acquire a new asset or a new liability, you quickly change what you presented to the Auditor General who is the custodian of those assets.

“And it’s the Auditor General’s job to then check what you’ve brought if they’re correct and if they’re not correct, ask you to correct them. Unfortunately, our system is not like that,” she said.

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