‘Charity begins at home; comply with asset declaration law’ – Speaker tells MPs

Source: myjoyonline.com

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has charged Members of Parliament to strictly comply with the asset declaration law.

In his view, MPs can only hold members of the Executive accountable if they comply with the law.

“Parliament must be open, transparent and accountable to the people. As the saying goes, charity begins at home.

“As the Constitutional and Legal Head of the institution of Parliament  … I pledge to lead this effort by example,” he said.

According to him, “he will take up this role together with the leadership of the House “initiate discussions with relevant state actors to put in place measures and systems to ensure that all members and staff of Parliament comply with the declaration of assets, tax obligations and honour all outstanding issues of overpayment and underpayment reported on by the Auditor-General, from 2001 to 2008 and 2009 to 2016.”

The Speaker added that he would ensure the process begins soon.

“Sooner than later, members will be informed through the usual channels about how this will be done. The proposal is to put a team in place to liaise with the state and non-state actors to smoothen the compliance of this initiative,” he said.

Mr. Bagbin said Parliament in its second session will take “further vigorous steps to strengthen the hand of the House to hold government and state institutions accountable for the people for the power, trust, resources and hope reposed in us.”

“The Executive President assisted by cabinet and state …shall be called upon to account for the stewardship of the country to succeed to implement this agenda.”

He also observed that a mechanism will be put in place to ensure MPs who received double salaries refund the monies to the state.

On his part, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also asked for a review of the asset declaration law to robe in MMDCE’s and other public officials such as; the Council of State and Special Prosecutor.

According to him, the assets declared per the Constitution of Ghana in Article 205 or 206 “have to be lodged with the Auditor-General.”

“The rationale for this is for the Auditor-General to interrogate assets acquired by public officers. Unfortunately, the construct of the Constitution is such that once they are lodged with the Auditor-General, he himself is disabled from opening the assets so declared, to ensure that people who have acquired assets respond to their tax liabilities. It is the reason why the assets are lodged with the Auditor-General, for whatever reason, our Constitution threads on a different path, Deposit it with the Auditor-General and that is the end of it” he said.

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