On Tuesday, 15th August 2017, Former Auditor-General of Ghana and Senior Research Fellow at the IEA, Professor Edward Dua Agyeman led a Roundtable discussion on the theme: “Fighting Corruption in the Public Sector of Ghana: The Role of Assets Declaration”. Prof. Dua Agyeman sought to shed light on existing practices in the area of assets declaration, and also examine some key elements of assets declaration regimes such as the legal frameworks, institutional arrangements and policy objectives.
Director of Advocacy and Programmes at the Insitute, Dr. Frankie Asare-Donkoh gave distinguished guests a warm welcome to the IEA. Following an introduction by Dr. Asare-Donkoh, Justice Emile Short, Former Commisisoner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) gave his opening remarks, in which he gave guests a brief insight into the theme.
Prof. Dua Agyeman began his presentation by giving participants an overview of the aims of an Assets Declaration Regime and the course it has taken in Ghana since its inception in 1969. This was followed by a look into the constitutional, legislative and institutional framework in which it operates as well as the required process undertaken by public officials. Prof. Dua Agyeman maintained an Assets Declaration Regime protects public officials from undue suspicion and baseless allegations as well as providing the public a positive perception of the Government’s efforts in fighting corruption.
Despite these strengths, the former Auditor-General strongly asserted that the Assets declaration regime as it currently exists in Ghana is unsatisfactory and ineffectual as a method to combat corruption. Prof. Dua Agyeman attributed this to a number of reasons including the inability of the Auditor-General to open the sealed forms, the lack of public access to information in the declaration and the absence of sanctions for non-submission or false declarations. Overall, according to him, there has been a general lack of political will and commitment to solving the issues at hand. The Former Auditor-General’s policy recommendations include amending the law in order to give the Auditor-General the mandate to verify the accuracy of information in the delcaration and extending the coverage of the regime to all individuals closely connected with public officials such as spouses.
Prof. Dua Agyeman’s comprehensive presentation was suceeded by comments from the current Auditor-General of Ghana, Mr. Daniel Yao Domelevo, whose views strongly corroborated those of Prof. Dua Agyeman. In his view, Assets Declaration in Ghana today appears to be more like asset concealment.
The event was well attended by key stakeholders including senior government officials, academics, representatives of civil society organisations, officials of the main political parties, traditional leaders, members of diplomatic corps and the media. Among the dignitaries in attendance were Hon. Ama Dokuaa Asiamah Agyei, Deputy Minister for Information; H.E Robert Jackson, United Sates Ambassador; H.E Andrew Barnes, Australian High Commissioner; H.E Laudemar Aguiar, Brazilian Ambassador; Hon. Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, former Minister of State; Dr. Richard Anane, former Minister of State; Ms. Bridget Katsriku, Chair of Public Services Commission; Brig. Gen. Albert Adu, Ghana Armed Forces Command; Nii Okaidja III, Gbese Mantse.