Provide us information on Public Officers Bill …OccupyGhana to AG

OccupyGhana, a non-governmental organisation(NGO), has requested the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice to provide it with information on the status of the draft conduct of the Public Officers Bill.

 According to OccupyGhana, it was also to furnish it with steps taken to enact the draft Conduct of Public Officers Bill, 2022 into law.

 The request was contained in a letter copied to the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President and the Executive Secretary, Right to Information Commission and cited by the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday.

It said Ghanaians were faced with allegations of conflict of interest levelled against some government officials which it stated was not a satisfactory state of affairs.

The letter said the constitution of Ghana generally prohibits conflict of interest while leaving its interpretation to the parliament to what the country would consider as prohibited conduct.

“This is what is currently lacking, and we are faced with the abject failure by successive governments and parliament to ensure the enactment of a law that would provide us with the necessary details of prohibited conduct. ‘Nature,’ it is said, ‘abhors a vacuum;’ but our political class love vacuums because they thrive in the uncertainty, either to exploit the situation or throw allegations at each other,” it said.

According to the statement, although the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) had produced the 2006 Guidelines on Conflict of Interest, those guidelines did not have the force of law, and does not appear to apply until a report was made to CHRAJ for investigations.

Ghana after almost 30 years of the coming into force of  its constitution, finally have a Draft Conduct of Public Officers Bill, 2022, which attempts to set down the specific instances that would be caught under the general prohibition.

However, the bill, according to the statement remained a draft and was yet to obtain cabinet approval before it was submitted to Parliament for debate, possible amendments and enactment.
 “If this draft Bill (with all of its imperfections) was the law, it would have, at least, informed the current debate as business interests and award of contract.”

“We do not want to believe that cabinet is either reluctant to approve this bill or pussyfooting around it. What we are certain of is that cabinet is not treating the bill with the urgency that Ghanaians deserve,” the statement said.

 It said OccupyGhana on May 29 issued a press statement for the President to summon an emergency cabinet meeting for the sole purpose of approving the draft bill and also for the Attorney-General to provide a clear timeline on when he will submit the bill to Parliament.
The press statement also asked that the Parliament ensures that it passes the bill into law before it rises for the long vacation adding that “as is obvious, Parliament has risen for its long vacation without the Bill even attaining cabinet approval.”

BY TIMES REPORTER
 


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