Private Legal Practitioner, Martin Kpebu has asserted that Ghanaians have not expressed enough anger against the prevalence of corruption among government officials.
According to him, failure of the populace to demand accountability from public officials is largely fueling the canker.
Contributing to discussions on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, as part of conversations on asset declaration by public officials, Mr. Kpebu noted that “we are pretending [to declare our assets] because citizens have not been angry enough.–
“The citizenry has not shown enough interest in holding public officers to account,” he said.
He opined that Ghanaians have actually contributed to the growth of the canker.
“The main problem is that we the citizens are collaborators. We are where we are because largely, the citizens have a certain kind of attitude where when the big men assume office, we are eager to go to them and ask that our school fees get paid, and asking if they can give us employment.” He maintained that these are all factors fueling corruption in the country.
“Our leadership is a reflection of the citizenry. Sometimes, we pretend it’s only the leaders, but we as citizens are more corrupt than them. Leadership is the microcosm of the citizenry,” he said.
The Public Officers Declaration and Disqualification Act states that any Public Officer should declare assets they own 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 some relatives.
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.
This has triggered conversations about the Asset declaration of public officials in the country.
To put this under check, the Private Legal Practitioner propounded that public officers should be made to automatically appear before CHRAJ to declare their assets before assuming office, to complement the Asset Declaration Law.
He believes this will significantly help check the looting of state properties.
He said this directive should come with sanctions such as denying public officers who fail to comply with it the opportunity to hold their respective offices.
“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.
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