Accra, Ghana – In a significant move, ASEPA Ghana, a prominent public accountability organization, led by its Executive Director, has lodged a lawsuit against the Attorney General of Ghana, challenging the perceived weaknesses in the country’s Asset Declaration regime.
The suit, filed at the Supreme Court of Ghana, seeks various reliefs, with a primary aim to secure a declaration that the Public Office Holders Declaration of Asset and Liabilities Act, Act 550, is in violation of the essence and content of Article 286(1) of the 1992 constitution. The organization asserts that any inconsistency with the constitutional provision renders Act 550 null and void.
Article 286(1) of the 1992 constitution explicitly mandates individuals holding public offices, as mentioned under clause 5, to declare their assets and liabilities before assuming their official responsibilities. The article outlines the specific timelines for such declarations:
(a) Within three months after the constitution comes into effect or before assuming office.
(b) At the conclusion of every four-year term.
(c) At the conclusion of the individual’s term of office.
However, the Public Office Holders Declaration of Assets and Disqualifications Act (1998), Act 550, provides a grace period of six months for public office holders to declare their assets and liabilities after assuming their roles. ASEPA contends that this extension undermines the purpose of asset declarations, as significant changes can occur in the asset and liabilities status during this period.
In addition to its primary contention, the lawsuit also seeks a court order mandating public office holders who declared their assets under the provisions of the flawed Act 550 to resubmit their declarations to the Auditor General. Furthermore, ASEPA aims to secure a declaration that, as per Article 286, asset declarations by public office holders must reflect their asset positions before taking office, rather than at the time of declaration.
These critical legal actions reflect ASEPA’s determination to uphold the principles of transparency, accountability, and proper governance in Ghana.
Executive Director, ASEPA
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