Discretion around declaration of assets weakens laws preventing corruption – CDD Ghana


    Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development says sanctions the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has failed to create and enforce have made room for its operations to be run on discretion.

    According to Dr Kojo Asante, this does not help in the fight against corruption nor the promotion of equality before the law.

    “Since the propagation of the 1992 constitution, CHRAJ is yet to elaborate on sanctions. It does not promote any deterrence effect or prevention of corrupt acts or any acts that are seen as misbehavior in the public service,” Dr. Asante said on JoyNews’ Newsfile, Saturday.

    He illustrated that choosing to use discretion over sanctions imposed on a public officer following their failure to declare assets, undermines the existence of the country’s anti-corruption agenda.

    “In a democracy you would expect that the preventative side which involves everything from internal audits, procurement mission, asset declaration, information disclosures and so on, which is all meant to ensure that there is integrity in public life and that the taxpayers money is protected, have all really been weakened.”

    “Because the law that governs these processes are weak both in terms of some of its design and enforcement because there’s too much discretion around some of those processes.”

    His comments come as host of the show, Samson Lardy cited Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah as a public officer who declared his assets late which led to the filing of a petition against the Chief Justice, signed by governance think-tank, ASEPA.

    The petition was later dismissed by CHRAJ.

    Dr Asante believes that how CHRAJ responded to the petition against both parties, failed to ensure corruption does not prevail.

    “The constitution is very clear that you have to declare our assets before you take office, then it says every four years, and then when you exit office.”

    “I don’t see the ambiguity there and therefore if a matter is brought and CHRAJ has to make a determination in terms of what kind of remedial action to take, I think you cannot say that ‘well in spite of the constitution, the person has still complied with the law’,” he said.

    He explained that the actions CHRAJ took regarding the two public officials brought because the anti-corruption body has not elaborated through a Constitutional Instrument, the range of sanctions that should apply.