The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) has called on government to pass the Conduct of Public Officer’s Bill in the country.
According to the groups, they have followed with keen interest, the recent news of the alleged theft of substantial amounts of money and personal effects belonging to Madam Cecelia Abena Dapaah, the former Minister of Sanitation and the husband.
They revealed that the allegedly stolen sums of money – One Million Dollars (US$1 Million), Three Hundred Thousand Euros (€300,000), and unspecified millions of Ghana Cedis – have sparked serious concerns about the source and intended use of these funds.
The groups stated that much as they applaud the announced resignation of Honourable Cecilia Dapaah, it seems unconscionable to think of a public officer and a renowned political personality keeping such colossal amounts of money outside of the banking sector. Regrettable as the theft by workers of the Honourable Minister is, they noted that questions of the sources of the funds are legitimate and must be Investigated by the various competent authorities.
“This is why the news of Madam Cecilia Dapaah’s swift arrest and subsequent investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) must be commended even as we ask for transparency in the investigation… In addition to our call for a transparent and comprehensive investigations, we also call for an immediate passing of the Conduct of Public Officer’s Bill to strengthen Ghana’s asset declaration regime…”Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition
The groups indicated that the Bill includes provisions on the amendments of the existing Asset Declaration Act to guarantee a robust Asset Declaration regime. Additionally, it explained that the Conduct of Public Officer’s Bill has been in front of Cabinet for more than a year without clear commitment to having it laid before parliament for consideration and passage, although there is the need to do that.
“We are also calling for strengthening the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 2003 (Act 646) to provide for the reverse burden of proof in addressing illicit enrichment…”Ghana Integrity Initiative, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition
GII, GACC demand protection of two house helps
Furthermore, GII and GACC called for the immediate protection of the two house helps named in the story since they serve as prime witnesses to the unfolding case. They highlighted that what the case brings to the fore is that, the time has come in Ghana for the government to enact laws that will strengthen the Criminal Offences, Act 1960 (Act 29) and other anti-corruption laws to include reverse burden of proof in addressing illicit enrichment.
“We strongly urge the President to take a decisive action in addressing alleged corruption cases and back his rhetoric on fighting corruption in Ghana by expelling the popular perception of interferences in corruption investigations, involving persons in his government.”Ghana Integrity Initiative, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition
Meanwhile, former President John Dramani Mahama has accused government officials of arrogance and ostentation. He indicated that impunity has taken over Ghana and further said public officials carry themselves as if they own the country.
Speaking at the commemorative lecture for the late Prof Mills held in Kumasi, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said: “For those of us who have worked with him closely, we will forever cherish his memory. That is why we continue to celebrate his life every year not because we want to worship him but because his attributes are in such short supply in Ghana today that we need to continue to celebrate him and repeat his attributes so those in public leadership today will learn from the man Atta Mills”.
Mr Mahama stated that the economy is in crisis, and there are hardships across the land, however, “corruption and theft” have become the new normal and not the exception.
“Impunity has enveloped our land and public officials carry themselves as if they own the country, ostentation has become the hallmark of the people in office and arrogance has become the prime character of the current leadership.”John Dramani Mahama