The press release from the nonpartisan social and political pressure group OccupyGhana is below:
OCCUPYGHANA PRESS STATEMENT
Accra, 16 November 2023
OCCUPYGHANA REPEATS DEMANDS FOR TIMELINES AND ROADMAP ON PASSAGE OF CONDUCT OF PUBLIC OFFICERS ACT
OccupyGhana has taken note of the following statement in the government’s 2024 Budget ‘Nkunim’ Speech, presented by the Finance Minister to Parliament on November 15, 2023:
‘184. Mr. Speaker, the new Conduct of Public Officers Act seeks to address current weaknesses in the asset declaration system. The new Act will introduce provisions to ensure public officers submit their declarations in a timely manner and that an effective verification system is in place.
The draft bill is currently under consideration by the Cabinet and will subsequently be submitted to Parliament.’
We remain unconvinced that the government intends to ensure that the draft bill is passed into law any time soon because of the dithering and buck-passing that the government has engaged in and the absence of any timelines or a roadmap. For now, all that exists are empty, reluctant assurances that lead us nowhere.
Even though the NPP 2020 Manifesto included a vow to pass an anti-corruption bill, a draft bill wasn’t submitted to Cabinet until May 2022. Follow-ups were started by OccupyGhana that same month. After months of our prodding, Cabinet’s reaction to our requests was inconsistent and deceptive.
Ultimately, on February 14, 2023, Cabinet notified us that the bill had been rejected, using an obviously incorrect argument that the bill’s contents were duplicated in other pieces of legislation. We disputed this, and in the end, we sent Cabinet a 20-page table outlining the variations in the provisions. In spite of our efforts, Cabinet’s response, dated June 16, 2023, just acknowledged our correspondence and made no recommendations.
Interestingly enough, Ghana’s “luck” began when the government’s economic crisis compelled it to turn to the IMF for support. Thankfully, the IMF made enacting the bill a requirement before granting assistance. The bill had been rejected by the government, but it was forced to be taken back up by the IMF, not because it wanted to pass it or because it respected the demands of concerned, interested, and directly affected Ghanaians.
“The Attorney-General will bring the bill for consideration by cabinet and subsequent enactment by Parliament upon the conclusion of the consultation,” the President declared on September 11, 2023, during his speech opening the Ghana Bar Association’s 2023 Annual Conference. This news was confusing since, unless the President was proposing that the bill be resubmitted to Cabinet, it made no sense—the bill had already been with the same Cabinet for approximately a year and a half and had been rejected!
We wrote to Cabinet once more the very next day, on September 12, 2023. This time, Cabinet asserted that before wrapping up discussions, it had asked the Finance Minister to draft a memorandum on the subject. All of our letters and reminders to the Finance Minister have been disregarded, despite our best efforts to engage him on this. The cabinet has stopped replying to us.
Therefore, we question the government’s sincerity when it declares that “the draft bill is under consideration by the Cabinet and will be submitted to Parliament subsequently”—an announcement made by the same Finance Minister who is a member of the Cabinet that rejected the bill and has disregarded us. The most notable thing is the total, ongoing, and intentional lack of any schedules or roadmaps.
If Parliament does not participate in this continuous farce and pantomime, we anticipate that it will ask the government to provide precise answers on deadlines and a strategy during the 2019 budget debate. “When will the uninterested and reticent Cabinet conclude its nearly two-year agonizingly hesitant and purposefully snail-paced consideration of the draft Bill, and when will it submit it to Parliament?” should be among the questions.
Without it, the people are being duped by the government. “Nkunim,” or triumph, does not come from being the likely only government on the planet to require IMF conditionalities in order to fulfill a campaign and anti-corruption pledge made in the manifesto! “Nkunim,” or triumph, is attained when a government shows a sincere commitment to combating corruption by setting forth precise deadlines and a comprehensive plan for the enactment of this crucial legislation.
Source: 1Family Radio