Participants at a multi-stakeholder meeting organised by Ghana Anti-corruption Coalition (GACC) have called for severe sanctions against public office holders who fail to disclose their assets in accordance with the Assets Declaration Law.
They suggested a 10-year ban from holding any public office in addition to the revocation of the person’s appointment and payment of a fine as prescribed by the Law guiding the asset declaration.
According to the participants, the sanctions would make failure to disclose assets punitive for public office holders who are required by law to do so.
They also called for the declaration to be made public.
Act 19981(1) establishes the requirement for public office holders in Ghana to declare their respective assets and liabilities.
Participants included members of the local government, assembly members, opinion leaders, civil society organisations, and anti-corruption organisations as part of a multi-stakeholder engagement to build evidence for greater accountability in Ghana.
The stakeholder engagement served as a forum for feedback on the steps taken by the government and other state institutions to combat corruption, which the public had learned about through other stakeholder engagements conducted by the GACC.
The cross-stakeholder engagements, according to Mrs. Beauty Emefa Nartey, the Executive Director of the GACC, were held to get citizen input for the draft anti-corruption document that would be given to the government for consideration.
Although Ghana has laws to combat corruption and corruptible behaviour, the implementation of those laws has gaps, according to the speaker, who cited the asset declaration law as an example where those making the declarations are unknown.
For instance, it took several years in government before we learnt that other people holding public office were not even complying with the law, and that only 19 of the current President’s appointed ministers had disclosed their assets.
A new Public Officers bill to strengthen the Assets Declaration Law is currently up for consideration in Parliament. Ghana’s Asset Declaration Law is a tool used to keep track of public officials’ properties and assets as a means of combating corruption.