Asset declaration shouldn’t be shrouded in secrecy – GACC

 The Ghana Anti-Corrup­tion Coalition (GACC) has stated that the declaration of assets should not be shrouded in secrecy as doing so can defeat the objective for the passage of the Conduct of Public Officers Law.

It explained that the country had an opportunity to strength­en her fight against anti-corrup­tion through the Conduct of Public Officers Law.

“We are confronted with cor­ruption and only legislation will give us a chance in fighting cor­ruption,” the Coalition noted.

Beauty Emefa Narteh, the­ Executive Director of GACC, stated at a symposium to mark International Anti-Corruption Day celebrations in the country organised by the Commission on Human Rights and Admin­istrative Justice (CHRAJ) which was on the theme: ‘Curbing Corruption in Ghana Through a Robust Conduct of Public Officers Law- Perspectives of Civil Society’.

She urged stakeholders especially the Executive and Legislature and not to dilute the Conduct of Public Officers Bill before passage because the nation stood better chance of detecting, punishing and/or pre­venting corruption with robust Conduct of Public Officers Law.

“Publication is another asset

 declaration programme because it is provided by the Bill from the last Parliament however, it refers to publication of names of public officers who have declared and those who have de­faulted and declared information be kept confidential.

“The publication of declared assets as an anti-corruption tool will require names of public officers and their assets and lia­bilities are published but against any attempt to keep declared as­sets confidential and publication also invites the public to offer another layer of verification.

“Publication of assets and liabilities can lead to poten­tial whistleblowers from the community informing relevant authorities of missing assets and liabilities from the publi­cised declaration,” Mrs Narteh pointed out.

She however, acknowledged legitimate concerns of privacy when it came to issue of pub­lication which should be taken seriously nevertheless, consider­ing prevalence and pervasiveness of corruption in the country.

“We need to ask ourselves, on which side do we wish to err? Confidentiality or Anti-Corrup­tion? The existence of a register is common feature of countries that allow public disclosure,” Mr Narteh noted.

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