An anti-corruption campaigner has welcomed calls for public officials to declare their assets annually but says that will yield no results under the current constitutional dispensation.

According to Vitus Azeem who is the Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative the current practice which makes it even impossible for the Auditor-General to be privy to the details of declared assets by public officials makes the work of anti corruption campaigners all the more difficult.

A governance think-tank Danquah Institute had proposed an annual declaration of assets in order to track how public officials acquire their wealth.

Mr Azeem told Joy News’ Dzifa Bampoe such proposals were laudable and constitutes international best practice. “In some countries it’s every two years, in our case it is four years; but the point is that the essence of that law is to help people monitor the acquisition of wealth by public officials and so the more frequent you do it the easier for the public to monitor the acquisition of assets,” he said.

Laudable as the law appears to be, Mr Azeem fears it will not see the “light of day,” accusing Parliament of plotting to make the declaration of assets an ineffective tool to fight corruption.

He said Parliament has continuously kicked against calls for a public declaration of assets.

As if that is not enough, the House, he says, has frowned on attempts to get the Auditor-General aware of the details of declared assets.

“We have had several discussions with Parliament and even more important issues like public disclosure, they say, they will never pass a bill that will let them publish the assets declared.

“Secondly even for the Auditor-General to open the envelope and see whether it is accurate or not, they say it is not allowed and it is against the constitution.

“The Auditor-General is a custodian, at least, he should be given the power to open and verify,” he insisted.

He said unless there is a constitutional amendment, the declaration of assets will continue to be a ‘white elephant’ as an anti-corruption tool.

Play the attached audio for excerpts of the interview with Vitus Azeem

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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