PRESIDENT Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has made the strongest case yet on his government’s commitment to fighting corruption by directing all his appointees and all other public officers to declare their assets as required by law or, in default, forfeit their appointments .
The President gave the directive when he swore in the first batch of 12 new ministers at the Flagstaff House on Friday.
Chapter 24 of the Constitution, which prescribes a code of conduct for public officers requires specific office holder to “submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all property or asserts owned by, or liabilities owned 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.
The fight against corruption in the public service found a major expression in the President’s message during the 2016 electioneering campaign with a promise to make corruption unattractive under his government.
The party’s manifesto was explicit on measures the NPP government intends to put in place to ensure a judicious use of public funds, value for money in all government transactions and, above all, policies that would reduce to the barest minimum the rising incident of corruption in government.
A clear policy direction provided by the manifesto was “to establish, by an Act of Parliament, an Office of the Special Prosecutor, who will be independent of the Executive, to investigate and prosecute certain categories of cases and allegations of corruption and other criminal wrongdoing, including those involving alleged violations of the Public Procurement Act and cases implicating political officeholders and politicians”
Additionally, a new law would see the implementation of an effective Assets Declaration Regime under which the President shall, within 14 days, forward a list of appointments, to the Auditor-General.
In pursuant of this, the President barely two weeks after assuming office declared his assets in fulfillment of provisions of the Constitution and, in accordance with further reviews, he intends to effect an asset declaration review of the country laws under his administration.
The amendment to the existing law will also see to an effective monitoring of asset declaration, to require the Auditor-General to publish periodically the list of all persons appointed who have declared or defaulted and to provide for sanctions which may include forfeiture of appointment.
“These and other measures are indicative of the importance our party attaches to the fight against corruption”, the President said
According to the President, the new government cannot disappoint in the face of the trust and confidence the people of Ghana have in them to change the fortunes of the country.
“The issue of corruption in public life was a major topic in the 2016 elections. The Ghanaian people want honest government, they want a government that would protect the public purse and ensure value for money in all public transactions and we cannot fail them,”
He reminded his ministers of the heavy responsibility of their shoulders and the ramifications of their oath to the Ghanaian people and urged then to discharge their duties in a manner that would satisfy the reason the majority of Ghanaians voted the new administration into power.
“You have just sworn three oaths, that of allegiance, that of office and that of secrecy. The sum total of all these oaths that you have solemnly sworn is that you have pledged to uphold the interest of the republic, of its constitution and its citizenry and to do so without ill will malice or favour to any person.
“It is a heavy responsibility, especially since the Ghanaian people have a clear and emphatic terms demanding a change in the nations’ direction – a change in the quality of its governance, a change in the management of its economy and a change in national attitude. That is why we are here and that is why they voted for us overwhelmingly”
According to him, Ghanaians are expectant of nothing less than a leadership that would ensure the repositioning of the country to socio-economic wellbeing.
“We are required to fulfill the commitments of our mandate and I am certain that with God’s guidance, sincerity of purpose, integrity of character, hard work and genuine collaborations, together, we shall deliver and honour these commitments”, he said
The President thanked Parliament for the expeditious but thorough manner in which they had dealt with the first batch of nominees and asked that the rest are passed quickly to help form a compete government to deliver on its mandate to the people of Ghana.
By Daniel NONOR, Flagstaff House, Accra