Emile Short: Passage of conduct of public officers’ bill will curb conflict of interest

A former Commissioner of Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Justice Emile Short, has suggested the formation of a civil society group aimed at ensuring the swift passage of the conduct of public officers’ bill.

 “The conduct of public officers bill which is an extremely important piece of article in our legislation, I want to suggest that we also form a coalition with regard to the bill, it’s important.

“Just as we have a coalition for the right to information, may I suggest we have coalition also not only for the speedy passage of resolution but before that, to ensure effective and efficient provisions are contained in the legislation because not all provisions meet our expectations,” Justice Short stressed.

Speaking at the launch of a research report and a video documentary on ‘The Right to Information (RTI) Journey in Ghana’ to mark the international day for universal access to information by the Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana), he explained that “the bill contains provision which says where you see yourself in a situation of conflict of interest, you must disclose your interest, but you must also state you have recues yourself, a provision I think we should remove.

“Let’s ensure we have effective, efficient and proper provisions in the bill before it is passed,” Justice Short noted and called on the government to revive constitutional amendment processes and described the 1992 Constitution as flawed.

According to him, “the government needs to address certain provisions including the provision of majority of ministers who must be appointed from parliament, excessive powers wielded by the president, revive and resuscitate constitutional amendment processes.

“The constitution we have is flawed in many respects, we need to address certain provisions, for example the government appointing majority of ministers from parliament has rendered weak parliamentary oversight of the executive, provision has to be looked at critically, excessive powers of appointment given to the president made our politics decisive.

“Both parties, that is the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress may not want to change it because they want to exercise control since the opposition is in the wings waiting, they can also enjoy when it’s their turn to take over, responsibility lies with civil society to ensure some changes are made,” Justice Short bemoaned. -starrfmonline.com

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