Private Legal Practitioner, Martin Kpebu, says public officers should be made to automatically appear before CHRAJ to declare their assets in order to check the looting of state properties.

He said this measure should be introduced to complement the Asset Declaration Law.

Contributing to discussions on Saturday, May 28, on Newsfile, he intimated that the Public Officers Declaration and Disqualification Act (Act 550) has so far proven to be insufficient to deal with the canker.

“The big fix we need is a mandatory or automatic appearance [of Public Officers] before CHRAJ and when they’re leaving office they go and account [for their properties] so that what is deemed to be unexplained will be taken away,” he said.

The Public Officers Declaration and Disqualification Act says any Public Officers should declare assets they owe directly or indirectly before assuming office, however, it appears most public officers do not comply with the Law before assuming office.

Recently, the nation was taken aback by a leaked document purported to be the will of the deceased CEO of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie.

It emerged in the document that portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve and the Ramsar site in Sakumono have been bequeathed to beneficiaries in the will.

Subsequent checks revealed that the then CEO of the Forestry Commission did not declare his assets before taking office and did not declare them throughout his tenure as the CEO of the Forestry Commission.

Mr Kpebu believes if CHRAJ is deliberate about setting deadlines and strictly applying sanctions to Public Officers who fail to comply with the directive, they will declare their assets before leaving office.

“I think CHRAJ can run some adverts for two months informing all public officers that after this date the sanctions will be severe including the officer not taking office,” he said.