The leader of the majority side of the eighth parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu has suggested a candid reassessment of laws governing the public disclosure of assets of public officeholders.
The legal regime for prospective public office occupants as regards assets are expressly stated in Article 286 of the constitution 1992 and the Public Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act, 1998 (Act 550).
However, the Majority Leader is of the view that a review of the current legal regime would give the Auditor General more room to adequately investigate all written declarations of assets provided by public officeholders.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament ahead of the approval of the Special Prosecutor, Friday, as reported by Daily Graphic, he said “I believe that time has come for us to take a second look at Article 286 to expand the frontiers for investigations and pursuing criminals other than that we will make people, who are charged with the responsibility, to be reduced to toothless bulldogs who can only bark but will not be able to bite.”
In his evaluation, the suggested amendments would give meaning to the fight against corruption for which the office of the Special Prosecutor has been created to help address.
“The A-G perusing these documents, which are submitted to be kept under lock, will help in determining if there are any contradictions, suspicions or improprieties that are established by the A-G and they could be ferried to the Special Prosecutor for further investigations and prosecution,” he said.
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What does Article 286(1) (2) say?
1. 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
A. within three months after the coming into force of this Constitution or before taking office, as the case may be,
b. at the end of every four years; and
c. at the end of his term of office.
2. Failure to declare or knowingly making false declaration shall be a contravention of this Constitution and shall be dealt with in accordance with article 287 of this Constitution