Publish names of public officers who have declared assets — PPP

BY: Samuel K. Obour

PPP Founder, Dr Paa Kwesi NduomThe Progressive People’s Party (PPP)  has asked the Auditor-General  to publish the names of all public officers who have complied with the 1992 Constitution on the declaration of their assets and liabilities.

A statement signed by the National Secretary of the PPP, Mr Kofi Asamoah-Siaw, said under the 1992 Constitution, certain categories of public officers were obliged to file their assets and liabilities, including tax returns, with the Auditor-General.

According to the party, article 286(1) states that “A person who holds a public office mentioned in clause (5) of this article shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all property or assets owned by, or liabilities owed by him whether directly or indirectly”

According to the constitution, these public officials are required to submit  their written declarations of assets and liabilities “before taking office” or at the end of every four years or at the end of the term of office of the public officer.

The categories of public officials required to comply with the above provisions are the President of the Republic; the Vice-President of the Republic; the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and a Member of Parliament;

Others are  Minister of State or Deputy Minister; Chief Justice, Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature, Chairman of a Regional Tribunal, the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice and his Deputies and all judicial officers; Ambassador or High Commissioner; as well as  Secretary to the Cabinet;

The rest are head of ministry or government department or equivalent office in the Civil Service; (chairman, managing director, general manager and departmental head of a public corporation or company in which the State has a controlling interest; and such officers in the public service and any other public institution as Parliament may prescribe

Even though, the contents of these declarations are classified, the PPP believed that in the interest of compliance with the laws, transparency, public accountability and rule of law, the Office of the Auditor-General must publish the list of officials who have complied with the constitutional directive.

‘’We live in a country where the individuals entrusted with ensuring public order through the enforcement of our laws are the first culprits in terms of violations of our laws with impunity,’’ the PPP stated.

It said that this could not be allowed to continue and that the publication of the list of complied officers would expose all public officials who had not complied and allow civil society and the general public to demand compliance from such officers.

The PPP also pointed out that  the current arrangement where the contents were not made public and without any element of verification should change, saying the PPP’s position is that  the public declaration of assets and liabilities  make verification possible and, therefore, facilitate the fight against corruption.

The Constitution Review Commission (CRC), the PPP said, made the following recommendations and it was the expectation of the party that the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) considered them critically.