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General News Wed, 27 Nov 2002

Public Officials Asserts Must Be Made Public - Tamakloe

Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has stated that if corruption in public life and among government appointees is to reduce, there is the need for the law to be given teeth to bite.

Speaking, in an interview, to The Ghanaian Chronicle on Tuesday on the need for the NPP to show the way and make history as Ghana?s most transparent party in government, the leading member argued that the problem with the law as we practise it today has not helped to arrest corruption.

?It has certainly not. Assets declared are not, for most part of the time, accessible to the public. Assets must be made public when an official is taking office or appointment and when he leaves office. The people or the electorate will like to measure the person?s income before appointment, and income while in office as well as any other acquisitions.?

Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe, also a practising physician and CEO of Nyaho Clinic, Accra, believes that a spouse or child of a person in public office must be made to declare assets. ?Not quite long ago, we all saw in this country during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration how an eight year old was said to be owning a multi-million cedi mansion.?

Assets declaration laws, he further stated, must also take cognisance of the tendency for politicians to school their kids abroad. ?We must be able to find out where that individual got the money from and whether political influence was not a factor.?

He admitted that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the law as it exists in our statute books or the Constitution. ?But the way to fairly apply it now is the issue the NPP government must grapple with. How to get information on assets declared or made accessible to the public is what we ought to work out with a sense of mission and urgency.

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Calling on the party to take advantage of the international goodwill and enhanced image it now enjoys, Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe asserted that the zero tolerance for corruption concept can only achieve the desired results if the laws are applied ?across the board.?

?I don?t know what those in government are doing in terms of commitment or dedication to this principle at the moment. I, however, wish that members of this administration conduct their affairs above board.?

Giving his prescription for reducing the level of corruption in public life, the leading member called for a further strengthening of the Police Service and law enforcement agencies to enable them do their work without fear or favour.

?The Judiciary must also be strengthened to do more than they are currently doing, and journalists and the general public must be firm in their commitment to eradicate corruption in public life. All of these organs matter, but it is the current administration that must show the way, if this canker must be ruthlessly fought and our objectives as a people released.

The problem of corruption affected fortunes of the previous government. It can affect ours as well if we do not take the necessary steps to stem its tide,? concluded.

Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle
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