Two anti-corruption bodies have entreated the government to fast track the laying of the Conduct of Public Officer’s Bill before Parliament for immediate passage into law to strengthen the country’s asset declaration regime.
The bill includes provisions for amendment of an existing Asset Declaration Act.
They claimed that the conduct of public officer’s bill had been before Cabinet for more than a year with no clear commitment to have it laid before Parliament for consideration and passage.
The call by the two organisations — the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) — comes after a similar call by a pressure group, OccupyGhana.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the two organisations in Accra.
The call is in relation to the recent news of alleged theft of substantial amounts of money and personal effects of a former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, and her husband.
The alleged stolen money included $1 million, €300,000, and unspecified millions of Ghana cedis.
The alleged theft has since sparked debate on various social and traditional media platforms with many people expressing concern about the source and the intended use of the money.
The organisations, however, said no matter how regrettable the alleged theft by the workers was, questions of the source of the money were legitimate and must be investigated by various competent authorities.
“Much as we applaud the announced resignation of Madam Cecilia Dapaah, it seems unconscionable to think of a public officer and a renowned political personality keeping such colossal amounts of money outside of the banking sector.
“This is why the news of Madam Cecilia Dapaah’s swift arrest and subsequent investigations by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) must be commended, even as we ask for transparency in the investigations,” the statement added.
The organisations also called for protection of the two house helps named in the case since they served as prime witnesses to the unfolding narrative.
The statement further called for the strengthening of the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 2003 (Act 646), to provide for a reverse burden of proof in addressing illicit enrichment.
“What this case brings to the fore is that the time has come for the government to enact laws that will strengthen the Criminal Offences, Act 1960 (Act 29) and other anti- corruption laws to include reverse burden of proof in addressing illicit enrichment.
“We strongly urge the President to take a decisive action in addressing alleged corruption cases and back his rhetoric on fighting corruption in the country with action by expelling the popular perception of interferences in corruption investigations involving persons in government,” it said.