The Office of the Attorney General has agreed with Pressure Group, OccupyGhana that the six-month extension is not consistent with the Constitution and for that matter, the office will enact a bill to amend the Act.
In a statement signed by the Attorney General, Gloria Akua Akuffo stated that the office will seek approval of cabinet to begin processes to enact a bill to amend Act 550 which is inconsistent with clause (1) of Article 286 of the constitution.
The response comes after OccupyGhana wrote to the Office of the Attorney General in December 2019 to draw her attention to the contradictions in the Constitution and urged she takes steps to amend it.
According to them, the concluding sentence of section 1(4) of the Public Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act, 1998 (Act 550), that extends the time for public office holders to declare their assets and liabilities by six months, is inconsistent with Article 286(1) of the Constitution.
OccupyGhana, a group of eminent professionals in Ghana has subsequently applauded the Attorney General for considering and agreeing with them as they stated in their initial letter.
It pledged to assist in whatever necessary means including preparing a Memorandum, drafting a bill to speed up the amendment process.
“We, therefore, respectfully suggest that there should be clear timelines on when the Memorandum and Bill will be drafted and laid before (a) Cabinet, (b) Parliament, and (c) when the bill will be passed into law,” it stated.
Below is OccupyGhana’s statement:
The Attorney-General & Minister of Justice
RE: UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF 6-MONTH EXTENSION FOR DECLARATION OF ASSETS AND LIABILITIES, AND A REQUEST FOR ITS REPEAL
We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 8 January 2020, which responds to our letter dated 1 December 2019 on the above-entitled matter.
We salute the candour and forthrightness with which you agree with us that the six-month extension given to holders of public offices to declare their assets and liabilities by section 1(4) of the Public Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act, 1998 (Act 550) is unconstitutional and needs to be deleted from the statute.
We applaud your decision and readiness to prepare and submit to Cabinet and then to Parliament a Memorandum and draft Bill to effect the necessary amendment. On our part, we are available to assist in preparing the Memorandum and draft Bill and do all that is possible to ensure that the amendment is effected with the necessary speed.
We therefore respectfully suggest that there should be clear timelines on when the Memorandum and Bill will be drafted and laid before (a) Cabinet, (b) Parliament, and (c) when the bill will be passed into law.
We look forward to hearing from and collaborating with you on the proposals above.
Yours in the service of God and Country
cc. The Chief of Staff
Office of the President
The Controller and Accountant-General
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice