An Appeals Court Judge, Justice Yaw Appau, has described the current provision of Asset Declaration as a mere formality that lacks real substance.

He has therefore urged Parliament to tighten the noose on that provision and make it meaningful to compel the authorities that be to monitor and scrutinize assets once declared.

“In fact, with this asset declaration, I have my own reservation about it. It has turned into some formality thing without any real substance. When you declare and submit that is the end. Nobody crosschecks to find out whether what you have declared is true or not”.

“The provision as it stands now is somehow smoky. Because if it had been that any time you assume a new position you declare your assets … maybe, I am a High Court Judge then I declare my assets as a High Court Judge … maybe after five or six years, I am appointed a Court of Appeal Judge I am supposed to declare my assets again so that when you take the two declarations, you can determine between the time when I was a High Court Judge and an Appeal Court Judge what new additions have I got. Then if looking at maybe my remuneration it becomes so clear that I could not have acquired those assets from my remuneration then you will be called to explain how you were able to acquire these extra assets”, he noted.

He added “if it is made that way it is sounder than as it is now”.

He made this observation Tuesday when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament for questioning on legal and other issues that are of public interest.

Parliament is currently considering the Conduct of Public Officers’ Bill which deals with asset declaration as stipulated by Article 286 of the 1992 Constitution.

The said article requires some public officials to submit written declarations of their assets, property owned and liabilities owned, whether directly or indirectly to the Auditor-General. This is to be done within three months of assumption of office, after each four year period and at the end of the public officer’s term of office.

Justice Appau whose nomination to the Supreme Court the Appointments Committee was considering said that was the best way to go and urged the panel together with their colleague legislators to help in the campaign for greater accountability

By: Stephen Odoi-Larbi/