The Attorney-General is being sued by the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) for Ghana’s lax wealth reporting laws.
The organization has petitioned the Supreme Court to seek an order mandating that all public office holders who disclosed their assets and liabilities in accordance with Act 550’s flawed clause do so again and submit their declarations to the Auditor General.
In addition, ASEPA is arguing that Article 286 requires any asset statement made by a public office holder to reflect the asset position before to entering office rather than the asset position at the time of the declaration.
Every public office holder whose compensation is equal to that of a Director in the Civil Service is required by the Public Office Holders Declaration of Asset and Liabilities Act 1998 (Act 550) to declare assets they own directly or indirectly before taking office; however, it appears that the majority of public officers fail to do so.
This has led to several discussions every time a controversy involving a government appointee makes headlines.
The discussion of asset disclosure by government officials was recently revived by an alleged theft case involving a million dollars and millions of Ghanaian cedis from the private property of the former sanitation minister, Cecilia Dapaah.
As a result, ASEPA is asking the Supreme Court to rule that the Public Office Holders Declaration of Asset and Liabilities Act, Act 550, violates both the letter and the spirit of Article 286(1) of the 1992 Constitution and must be declared invalid. Mensah Thompson is the organization’s Executive Director.
According to ASEPA, Article 286 of the 1992 Constitution mandates that individuals holding public office as described in paragraph 5 must disclose their holdings and liabilities before to entering office.
“A person who holds a public office mentioned in clause (5) of this article shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all property or assets owned by, or liabilities owed by, him, whether directly or indirectly; within three months after the coming into force of this Constitution or before taking office, as the case may be; at the end of every four years; and at the end of his term of office.”
However, after entering office, public office holders have six months to register their holdings and liabilities under the Public Office Holders Declaration of holdings and Disqualifications Act (1998) Act 550.
The organization calls it a mistake that is in conflict with Article 286
of the Constitution.