Crusade against Asset declaration laws gathering momentum

Mr Batidam

Mr Batidam

The crusade against the Asset Declaration laws is gathering momentum due to some public officials taken on the law that ensures they declare their assets as a control measure against corruption.
Per the current laws, the to-be- public official is required to fill the Asset Declaration Form from the Auditor-General’s department and seal it in an envelope marked secret.

The envelope is not supposed to be opened unless a corruption investigation is being conducted against the official and a court or equal constitutional body orders same.

Daniel Domelevo, the Auditor-General has embarked on a crusade to get the laws changed to ensure better accountability since the citizenry cannot ensure the veracity of the declaration if it’s secret.

“What we are practising is asset concealment and not Asset declaration, nobody sees what’s in until the court orders for it when that individual is involved in a corruption scandal, how do I know if it is an empty envelope that has been submitted,” he noted.

In a discussion on corruption, Daniel Batidam, a governance expert and immediate past Ghana and West Africa’s representative on African Union (AU) Advisory Board on Corruption, delved into the conversation, describing the law as a ‘joke’.

“The assets declaration law has no meaning, it’s a mockery, it’s a big joke, how can what is secret be a declaration, the Auditor-General’s job is just to collect the sealed document and lock it up and circumstances of accessing the document is herculean, making accountability almost impossible,” he lamented.

Addressing security concerns raised by public officials against making the declaration public, Mr Batidam shot the argument down stating that there are other ways around.

“Politicians are arguing that if they make it public it will put them at risk, that is if people know you have a mansion somewhere, they may start following you there’,” he noted.

Challenging the assertion, Mr Batidam suggested that “the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice can be mandated to verify whatever public officials declare without necessarily having to make it public because the legislators lack the will to change the laws since it wouldn’t champion their ‘greedy’ interest. –myjoyonline.com

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