According to him, this will allow the Office of the Auditor General to focus on its core mandate of auditing while dealing with corruption within the public service.
He however admits that his proposal for amendment will be a challenging one.
“Act 550 is entrenched so modifying it is going to be a tall order or expensive order. Asset declaration should not be the mandate of the Auditor General as it is now under the Act.”Daniel Yao Domelevo
While admitting how difficult his call for amendment is, he believes that the amendment will allow the Auditor General to refrain from overseeing asset declaration. According to him, the Auditor General should focus on its core mandate of auditing.
Adding his voice, the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Joseph Whittal described Act 550 as a shoddy job done by Ghana’s Parliament.
The Act 550, which is the Public Officers Qualifications and Disqualification Asset Declaration Act, was passed under the Rawlings administration in 1998.
Mr. Whittal explained that the Act, in its form, prevents accountability.
“The nearest we came to is passing Act 550 which is the Public Officers Qualifications and Disqualification Asset Declaration Act. That I think was a shoddy job done by parliament, with all respect to Parliament, it was a shoddy job at that time.
“If you look at what should be in asset declaration law, what is provided there it is as if we are taking public service as a process we want to hide public servants from the people they are supposed to serve.”Joseph Whittal
The Deputy Attorney General has also called for holistic amendments to ACT550.
Act 550 provides the framework and guidelines for assets declaration in Ghana as a tool to combat corruption among public office holders. The introduction of the legal framework for assets declaration is an indication, amongst others like the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, that the country is making efforts to fight corruption.
Meanwhile, the Acting Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Miss Mary Awelana Addah, has called for the verification and publication of declared assets.
“We are calling for an asset declaration regime that is robust enough to add on the issues of verification and publication. Even during the dictatorial regime, we had an asset declaration regime that took care of verification and publication of assets.”
“…If in the 80s we were able to have such a robust asset declaration regime, it is surprising that in a democracy we have decided to make things so cheap that people declare their assets and until something happens, we don’t bother looking into it.”Miss Mary Awelana Addah
Furthermore, Ms Addah called on Parliament to expedite the passage of the Conduct of Public Officers (COPO) Bill into law to address corruption among public officers.
“We can make some very good strides if we have laws that bark. The bill which is currently stranded in Parliament should become an urgent matter for the State to pay attention to.”Miss Mary Awelana Addah
Madam Adah believes that the Office of the Special Prosecutor should be given support and allowed to work independently to investigate Madam Cecilia Dapaah and her. She was of the view that the OSP could achieve more on the front of the fight against corruption if given the required level of independence.
“Without a doubt, the Special Prosecutor has shown over the years that if given the needed independence, he can do a good job”, she stressed.