Ghana’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akufo has said the government will initiate the necessary legislation to amend Act 550 of the Public Office Holders and Declaration of Assets Law.
Madam Akufo has said the Act is inconsistent with clause (1) of Article 286 of the constitution.
Pressure Group Occupy Ghana in December 2019 wrote to the Attorney-General, drawing her attention to the inconsistency between Act 550 and clause (1) of Article 286 of the constitution.
In a letter to the Group, the A-G said the issue will be raised at Cabinet and the necessary legislation will follow.
“Your letter dated 1st December 2019 with Ref. No OG/2019/010 on the above-stated subject refers. Comparing clause (1) of Article 286 of the Constitution and subsection (4) of section 1 of the Public Officer Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act, 1998 (Act 550), it is noted that subsection (4) of section 1 of Act 550, by its six months extension, is inconsistent with and in contravention of clause (1) of article 286 of the Constitution. As such, the provision may be amended by deleting the reference to the six months in subsection (4) of section 1 of Act 550.”
“This office is in agreement with your position and will seek the approval of Cabinet for the enactment of a Bill to amend Act 550. After Cabinet’s approval is obtained, this Office will proceed with the relevant legislation. Subsequently, this office will submit a Cabinet Memorandum to Cabinet requesting for approval to pay the Bill in Parliament. The approved Bill will subsequently be laid in Parliament for consideration,” the letter said.
Pressure Group, Occupy Ghana had threatened a legal suit over an alleged constitutional inconsistency of a section of the Act.
The group had asked the Attorney-General to admit that the six-month extension is not consistent with the Constitution, hence rectify this by deleting that section of the Act.
“We respectfully write to invite you to agree with us that the concluding sentence of section 1(4) of the Public Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act, 1998 (Act 550), which extends the time for public office holders to declare their assets and liabilities by six months, is unconstitutional.
“If you agree with us, then we respectfully would further invite you to take steps for the Act to be amended by deleting that sentence so as to bring the Act into conformity with the Constitution. However, if you disagree with us, then we would have no option than to bring an action in the Supreme Court under Article 2 of the Constitution for a declaration that that sentence is inconsistent with and in contravention of Article 286(1) of the Constitution,” Occupy Ghana ‘s statement had said.