General News Tue, 3 Sep 2019

CHRAJ calls for passage of public officers code of conduct Bill

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is calling on the government to relay the Public Officers Code of Conduct Bill before Parliament for consideration and passage.

The CHRAJ sponsored Bill went through Parliament under the speakership of Edward Doe Adjahoe but has since been truncated on technical grounds.

The Commission is currently investigating a number of conflict of interest cases including those of the NPP National Chairman Freddie Blay and the suspended PPA Boss, Adjenim Boateng Adjei.

Though it says the absence of such a law does not directly hinder its investigations, Commissioner, Joe Whittal argues that it will guide public officials through their daily activities.

“CHRAJ has a constitutional responsibility of investigating allegations under Chapter 24 of the constitution. Because Chapter 24 sets out only raw-stroke, it needs to be elaborated. An act of parliament that takes each of the categories of Chapter 24 and elaborate it with sanctions so that when public officers go wrong, there will be a law such as in an act of parliament that subscribes with conduct but the situation as it is now, the Commission has earlier passed a conflict of interest administrative laws as well as code of conduct guidelines in an absence of an act of parliament properly elaborated.”

The Public Officers Conduct Bill, which has not been passed into law is said to be impeding administrative measures which will address the level of corruption in government institutions.

Mr. Whittal, therefore, believes the law when finally passed will help remove these bottlenecks.

“So we are calling for that Bill we sponsored to be relaid or re-tabled in parliament to be properly debated and passed. The constitution actually allows us to take appropriate actions on the basis of the result of the investigation. but for the sake of the public officers who need to know what trials we take into consideration, it will be ideal if we have an Act of Parliament as it is now, we can still go ahead with our investigations and under the constitutions take appropriate action based on the result of the investigation.”

What the bill says

The bill says a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office

It also states that no person shall be appointed or act as the Chairman of the governing body of a public corporation or authority while he holds a position in the service of that corporation or authority.

A person who holds a public office mentioned in clause (5) of this Article shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all property or assets owned by or liabilities owed by, him whether directly or indirectly.

Source: citinewsroom.com