Has EC Gone Against Ghana’s Constitution? See NPP’s Take On Assets Declaration

NPP frowns on assets declaration order by the Electoral Commission, saying it is unconstitutional and uncalled for.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has been angered by the Electoral Commission’s (EC) demand for asset declaration by political contenders, to make them eligible to contest the December elections.

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Referring to it as unconstitutional, the party has said that such exercise is only for those who are already in public offices, and not those who are still vying to get there. The EC had recently released a statement asking presidential and parliamentary aspirants to declare their assets, as part of their eligibility criteria.

But the NPP frowns on assets declaration, as it does not deem it fit for candidates who are still uncertain about getting into power to declare their assets. According to reports, Acting General Secretary of the party, John Boadu stormed the offices of the Electoral Commission on Wednesday, to demand explanations for the new directive for asset declaration.

Though the party has agreed to the demand, it still insists that those who hold positions in the public service are rather expected to declare their assets under the law.

Section 1 of Act 550 of the Assets Declaration and Disqualification Act 1998 states;

“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.

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The above section of the constitution is what makes NPP’s John Boadu wonder why nominees from the various parties had been asked to declare their assets when the Auditor General only limits the declaration of assets to public officers. He has also frowned on the timing of the release, given that all prospective candidates have just a day to complete their forms and submit to the EC for certification.

But the EC has justified its decision, insisting that its statutory declaration is backed by regulation 8 of CI 94. The Commission has also said that aspirants may be disqualified if they are unable to fulfil those criteria.