Corruption Watch: Asset declaration regime

Corruption Watch: Asset declaration regime
Source: Ghana|| Corruption Watch
Date: 30-01-2019 Time: 11:01:15:am

In Ghana, the Public Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act 1998 (Act 550) is the governing legislation for Asset Declaration. Parliament enacted the pursuant to the provisions of Article 286 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

Article 286, which is dedicated to Declaration of Assets and Liabilities, provides in Clause (I) 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 (a) within three months after the coming into force of this Constitution or before taking office, as the case may be; (b) at the end of every four years; and (c) at the end of his term of office.

Clause (5) mentioned above provides a list of the public offices to which the provisions of this article apply. They include:

(a) the President of the Republic;

(b) the Vice-President of the Republic;

(c) the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and a member of Parliament

(d) Minister of State or Deputy Minister;

(e) Chief Justice, Justice of the Superior Court, Chairman of a Regional Tribunal, the Commissioner of Human Rights and Administrative Justice and his Deputies and all judicial officers;

(f) Ambassador or High Commissioner;

(g) Secretary of the Cabinet;

(h) Head of Ministry or government department or equivalent office in the Civil Service;

(i) chairman, managing director, general manager and departmental head of a public corporation or company in which the State has a controlling interest; and

(j) such officers in the public service and any other public institution as Parliament may prescribe.

In fact, Mr. Domelovo told this nation in February 2018 that Act 550 has added to the list we just read out by defining public office to include police, prison officers, persons in government-owned companies and ‘any other public officer whose salary is equal to that of a director in the civil service or above.

At the time, he disclosed that Public Servants who earned GHC3,727 and above as salaries, were required to declare their assets. 

“So the GHc 3,727 [and above] I am talking about, I have picked the salary of the director in the Civil Service. That is the minimum salary of a director in the civil service,” he told the Accra-based radio station.

If we turn attention away from the Auditor-General, there is a report of a study on the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC), which scored Ghana’s Asset Declaration regime.

A highlight of that report is that Ghana is in compliance with Article 7, paragraphs 1-3 of the AUCPCC. This is because Ghana has legislation requiring a wide range of public officers to declare their assets at various times of holding office. However, the report says, the assets declaration regime is deficient in many respects and reform is required in order for the country to maximise the benefits of a robust and strong assets declaration regime.

Meanwhile, a bill on the conduct of public office holders, which will allow for verification of assets, has not been returned to parliament since the previous parliament’s tenure expired.