"This is because it preserved a public officer's right to conceal where they are envisaged by the parent law to disclose their assets before assuming a public office," Dr. Christopher Henry Samson, the executive director of LABEH, said today.
The law should provide that a person who holds a public office shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all properties or assets he or she owned, as well as all liabilities they owed, directly or indirectly, not to the high court as we have witnessed all these while by the authorities of the state.
The development, which renders this action by the state and the government ineffective in its present state, is that the assets, if declared, are not made public, Dr. Christopher Henry Samson said in a statement.
This, he said, left the door open to members of the government to acquire assets corruptly.
In spite of huge public outcry over public officers amassing wealth illegally and failure by the state to punish perpetrators, the government still makes ensures that declared assets are kept in confidence by the high court.
But Dr. Christopher queried, "if there is no verification by the custodian and publication of such assets, for example, in the official media of the government how would members of the public get to know what is declared in order to verify?"
"The principles of transparency and accountability require nothing less than both verification and publication of the declared assets of public officers if the intended mischief the law seeks to cure is to be achieved," he said.