The Attorney -General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame has said he will ensure the passage of a legislation that will enjoin the right of citizens to be able to access assets that have been declared by public officers.
He said this when the Commissioner of Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Joseph Whittal paid a courtesy call on him at his office yesterday.
The Attorney-General indicated that when this is done, it will enhance transparency in Assets Declaration by Public Officers. He emphasized that the sanctions regime for violation of assets declaration will also will be looked by his Office.
Mr. Dame mentioned that, part of his Office’s mandate is to deal with Economic Crime and Corruption and so it was expedient that they partner and explore common ways of ensuring greater achievement in the justice delivery.
The Commissioner of CHRAJ said the purpose of his visit was to congratulate the Attorney-General on his appointment and to assure him of his readiness to work together to promote the course of justice delivery in the country.
Discussions between the two generally centered on fulfilling their Human Rights obligations in the country and Internationally
The Commissioner used the occasion to seek the support of the A-G on the need to amend the CHRAJ Act and the Constitutional Instrument (CI.67) because of aberrations and UN recommendations.
In explaining the need to amend portions of the CHRAJ Act, the Commissioner said, the benchmark for assessing all National Human Rights Institutions globally, is the Paris Principles and it was passed the same year that the CHRAJ Act was also enacted and so the benchmarks were missed. Subsequently, there has been calls on the Commission particularly at the Universal Periodic Reviewin Geneva, to amend its Legislation for it to be in tandem with the benchmarks of the Paris Principle.
Again, prison visits, recommendations regarding detentions etc. needs to be constitutionally and statutorily express and explicit, he added.
In his response, Hon.Godfred Dame, Attorney-General and Minster for Justice hinted, discussions are on- going to ensure the enactment of Code of Conduct for Public Officers as this will aid in curbing the tendency for public officers being caught up in issues of conflict of interest.
He stressed that, activities of public officers which does not constitute conflict of interest should be fashioned out clearly to public officers for them to know which kind of businesses they can engage in and still retain interest in, even as public officers.
In this regard Hon.Dame, commended CHRAJ on coming up with the guidelines on Assets Declaration but stated that it was not sufficient as it needed more categorization.
The A-G and Minister for Justice also pointed out that, processes to enact the Alternative Sentencing Act has begun and it is expected that the Bill will be placed before parliament before the end of the year.
He again reiterated the Office’s support in amending aspects of the Criminal Offences Act but indicated that, there is the need to take into account the peculiar circumstances of the country in the amendment in order to ensure that prosecution of cases does not grind to a halt.
The Attorney -General underscored the need to collaborate with the Commission to ensure strong Human Rights Protection for all.
The CHRAJ Commissioner was accompanied by Deputy Commissioner Mercy Larbi and Deputy Commissioner Richard A.Quayson.