Mr Nicholas Opuni Opoku, Legal and Governance Policy Analyst, CDD-Ghana The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and the Parliamentary Network Africa (PN-Africa) have called on Parliament to critically review the Conduct of Public Officers Bill, 2018, as the current bill fails to address most of the key issues regarding the declaration of assets and the conduct of public officers.
The Conduct of the Public Officers Bill, 2018, currently before Parliament seeks to, amongst others, ‘add to the justiciable provisions already in the statute book to combat corruption’, ‘plug the loopholes as far as the legal framework on anti-corruption is concerned’, and provide clarity on matters of conflict of interest and the code of conduct of public officers. UBA Loans Loopholes in Bill
Speaking at a virtual workshop to sensitise and mobilise media support for the speedy passage of the bill on Friday, September 11, 2020 in Accra, Legal and Governance Policy Analyst at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Mr. Nicholas Opoku, said the current bill does not sufficiently address the loopholes in the existing regulatory framework; Chapter 24 of the 1992 Constitution and the Public Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act, 1998, (Act 550).
According to Mr. Opoku, the existing regulatory framework is porous and deficient because of issues regarding, the limited definition of who a public officer is, the lack of transparency in the declaration of assets by public officers, the lack of a sufficient mechanism for verifying the accuracy of declarations and or clarifications submitted by public officers, and the regularity with which public officers are to file their asset declarations.
Problematic Clauses in the bill
Highlighting some of the problematic clauses in the bill, Mr. Opoku said Clause 56 of the bill which defines the category of persons the rules on declaration of assets are applicable to is limited in scope because it does not cover other State appointed officials who may not necessarily be serving in offices partially funded by the State.
"Clause 56 of the bill defines a public officer as ‘a person holding public office’. ‘Public office’ is also defined in Clause 56 as ‘including an office the emoluments attached to which are paid directly from the Consolidated Fund or office in a public corporation established entirely out of public funds or moneys provided by Parliament’,’ he said.
He added that "the first schedule to the bill which provides a list of persons […]