Miss Mary Awelana Addah, Acting Executive Director, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), has called for the verification and publication of declared assets to ensure a robust asset declaration regime.
“We are calling for an asset declaration regime that is robust enough to add on the issues of verification and publication. Even during the dictatorial regime, we had an asset declaration regime that took care of verification and publication of assets.”
“…If in the 80s we were able to have such a robust asset declaration regime, it is surprising that in a democracy we have decided to make things so cheap that people declare their assets and until something happens, we don’t bother looking into it,” she said.
She made the call on Saturday during a discussion on an Accra-based television station on the topic, “CECE DAPAAH $1M: Lifestyle Audit, Money Laundering, Code of Conduct Bill”.
Ms. Addah called on Parliament to expedite action on the passage of the Conduct of Public Officers (COPO) Bill into law to address corruption amongst public officers.
“We can make some very good strides if we have laws that bark.
The bill which is currently stranded in Parliament should become an urgent matter for the State to pay attention to,” she said.
She said the Office of the Special Prosecutor should be given the support and allowed to work independently to investigate Madam Cecilia Dapaah and her “stolen cash” case.
“Without a doubt, the Special Prosecutor has shown over the years that if given the needed independence, he can do a good job.”
Ms. Addah said investigations would be successful if various institutions particularly, the police collaborated with one another.
Mr. Amaechi Nsofor, Cross Border Asset Recovery Expert, said aside the enforcement of a robust asset declaration regime, there should also be an effective whistle blowing regime.
He said public officials should be subjected to periodic lifestyle audits and asked lawmakers to make laws regarding unexplained wealth and confiscation approach.
“In the United Kingdom for example, anybody who owns property in excess of $50,000 and cannot explain how they acquired or could afford to acquire that property, will have that property seized from them following a court process.
That process needs to be something that could be looked at in Ghana if we are going to prevent people from living beyond their means whilst holding public office,” he said.
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