Ghanaian lawmakers tighten screws on corruption

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Ghanaian lawmakers on Wednesday turned their attention to strict assets declaration by public office holders as they seek how to tighten the screws on corruption.

They said during a debate in Parliament that the country’s Assets Declaration Law should be reviewed to include spouses and children of such officeholders.

Iddrisu of the opposition National Democratic Congress made a statement which said asset declaration, as it existed now was impossible to determine whether or not a public officer had acquired disproportionate asset.

The constitution requires “a person who holds public office to submit to the Auditor -General a written declaration of all property and assets owned by or liabilities owed by him directly or indirectly”.

Such public officeholders include the President, Vice President, Speaker of Parliament; Deputy Speakers of Parliament; Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State; Chief Justice; Justices of the Superior Courts; Ambassadors or High Commissioners and Secretary to the Cabinet.

Other public officeholders are Chairmen, Managing Directors, General Managers and Heads of Departments of Public Corporations or Companies, District and Municipal Chief Executives in the state has a controlling interest and the Auditor General.

Iddrisu said it was necessary to make verification of assets open and easy. “Mere declaration of assets is eyewash and there must be some institutional mechanisms to cross-check whether what is declared is correct”, the Tamale South MP said.

“Mr Speaker, I do not believe that mere declarations are enough as the declaration of assets is not an end in itself; it is my submission that we develop a new mechanism to monitor such declarations to compare the income of a person against his declared assets.”

He suggested an independent agency to periodically and randomly monitor the assets and lifestyles of decision-makers in public office as well as their families and associates.

Some MPs pointed out that a number of public office holders openly donated he sums of money at functions and they wondered when and how they acquired their wealth. Panapress .

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