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Pressure mounts on Mahama to declare assets

Graphic Prez Mahama

Intense pressure is being brought to bear on President Mahama to declare his assets, almost four years after taking the oath of office.

Leading the charge is civil society organization, the Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF) and being given a lot of impetus by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

It comes in the wake of a declaration of assets by Nigeria’s current President, Muhammadu Buhari.

During a visit of President Buhari to Ghana early this week, President Mahama was quoted as saying, “The constitutional amendment we are moving is for those declared assets to be made available to the media through possible publication; and that’s being done to make it more transparent,” when they met at the presidential villa, Peduase Lodge, in the Eastern Region.

But in a statement, the PNF asked that the president should as “a matter of urgency and as a show of his commitment to fighting corruption in Ghana, publicly declare all his assets in accordance with the declaration of assets and disqualification Act 1998 (Act 550).”


The Act, among other things, states that “A person who holds a public office mentioned in Section 3 of this Act shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of –(a) all properties or assets owned by him; and (b) all liabilities owed by him; whether directly or indirectly.”

It further provides that the declaration be made by the public officer “before taking office” and “at the end of every four years” and “at the end of the term of his office and shall in any event be submitted not later than 6 months of the occurrence of any of the events specified in this subsection.”

This is what prompted spokesman for PNF, Richard Nyamah, to issue a statement demanding as part of good governance practice and the fight against corruption, to “cause all his ministers, MPs and all other high office holders required under the Act to declare their assets without delay.”


That, he said, was because “corruption and graft are in our view, the leading cause of Ghana’s underdevelopment as public officers take office with the main objective of lining their pockets.”

Members of the PNF have since indicated their preparedness to participate in any and all activities that would lead to all presidential and parliamentary candidates in the 2016 elections to declare their assets upon filing their bids to lead this country, noting, “The fight against corruption started from the top.”

The PPP insists, “The public declaration of assets is not proscribed by any law currently enforceable in Ghana. It is permissible for the president and any other public official to publicly declare their assets to demonstrate commitment to the fight against corruption.”

Even though the president said during his interaction with the Nigerian leader that “Even in this current regime, any person who wants to challenge the assets declared by any public official is allowed to do so with a court order or a petition to CHRAJ to contest those declared assets; and the assets declared will be made available to that particular institution to investigate”, a statement signed by the National Secretary of the PPP, Kofi Asamoah-Siaw wondered, “How can we challenge the assets declared by a public official if we do not know who has filed the declaration or what has been filed?”


For the party, “The comment made by the president is to play the ostrich and seek refuge in the law in an attempt to renege on his commitment to promote good governance.”

That, it said, was because “The president is fully aware that the constitutional amendment process has been frozen and it will not be resurrected until his term expires in January, 2017;” and has therefore asked him to “demonstrate his commitment to public declaration of assets. We invite him to publish the names of all the public officials who have declared their assets and secondly, publish his own assets declaration form.”

Acting on the Constitutional Review Commission’s (CRC’s) recommendation that there should be a public declaration of assets regime with criminal sanctions for false declarations, the PPP said, “The president must take the lead to make this happen.”

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