The Auditor-General’s Department has given all public officials up to the end of this month to submit their completed asset declaration forms or have their names published. A source at the department told the Daily Graphic that although public officials had generally complied with the law by obtaining the asset declaration forms from the Auditor-General, some had still not submitted the filled forms long after the expiry of the deadline.
The law requires the officials to submit the forms within six months after obtaining them but some individuals who took the forms in January 2009 have still not complied. The source said if by the end of July 2009 those officials had still not submitted their filled forms, their names would be published. After that, it added, the matter would be reported to the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and subsequently to the Chief Justice for investigations as the law stipulated. It said although the publishing of names was not in the law, it would be done just to prompt the officials to comply.
Section One of the Public Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act, 1998 states: “A person who holds a public office mentioned in Section Three of this Act shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all properties or assets owned by him and all liabilities owed by him, whether directly or indirectly. The declaration shall be made on the form provided in schedule II to this Act.” It states further: “It shall be the responsibility of the officers to make the declaration under this Act to obtain the forms from the office of the Auditor-General. The declaration shall be made by the public officer before taking office, at the end of every four years, at the end of his term of office and shall in any event be submitted not later than six months of the occurrence of any of the events specified in this subsection.”
Properties subject to declaration under the law are houses, lands and buildings, farms, concessions, trust or family property in respect of which the officer has beneficial interest, vehicles, plant and machinery, fishing boats, trawlers, generating plants and business interests. The rest are securities and bank balances, bonds and treasury bills, jewellery of the value of GH¢500 or above, objects of art of the value of GH¢500 or above, life and other insurance policies and such other properties as are specified on the declaration form. Section Five of the law stipulates: “Any property or assets required under Section One of this Act to be declared, acquired by a public officer after the initial declaration and which is not reasonably attributed to income, gift, loan, inheritance or any other reasonable source shall be regarded as acquired illegally.”
According to Subsection One of Section Eight of the Act, “An officer required to declare his assets and liabilities under this Act who, without reasonable excuse, fails to declare or knowingly makes a false declaration contravenes this part and shall be dealt with in accordance with Section Eight of this Act.” It further states: “An allegation that a public officer has contravened or has not complied with a provision of Part I of this Act shall be made to the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice and, in the case of the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, to the Chief Justice who shall, unless the person concerned makes a written admission of the contravention or non-compliance, cause the matter to be investigated.” Subsection Two of Section Eight states: “The Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice or the Chief Justice may take such action as he considers appropriate in respect of the results of the investigation or the admission.”
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