Successor to Sir John, three MPs failed to declare their heritage
The then Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, was sworn in on Monday, August 25, 2020, to John Allotey as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission.
This office comes with a number of responsibilities, including a constitutional requirement for its occupant to declare its assets and liabilities.
However, The fourth power found that Mr. Allotey did not fulfill this legal obligation.
Mr. Allotey replaced the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie as Director General of Forestry Commission.
Mr Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, died on July 1, 2020. Two months later, his deputy was elevated to chief executive on August 25, 2020.
Coincidentally, Mr Allotey was a co-witness to Sir John’s controversial will in which he gifted plots of land in Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site and over 70 other properties to his children and grandchildren. other parents.
The fourth power revealed that Sir John failed to declare his assets, and his successor and deputies appear to have taken inspiration from him.
When Mr Allotey took office in 2017, Ghana’s asset declaration laws – Section 286 and Act 550 – required him to declare all of his assets and liabilities within six months.
He had to declare all assets relating to the following:
a) land, houses and buildings;
(d) a trust or family asset in which the officer has a beneficial interest;
e) vehicles, gear and machinery, fishing boats, trawlers, power stations;
(f) business interests;
(g) securities and bank balances;
(h) bonds and treasury bills;
(i) jewelry worth 5,000,000¢ [now ¢500] or above; works of art with a value equal to or greater than 5,000,000¢;
(j) life and other insurance policies;
(k) other properties specified on the declaration form.
However, through a Right to Information (RTI) request to the Audit Department, The fourth power found that, like his late boss, Mr. Allotey had failed to comply with the law as of May 22, 2017.
He is not the only one.
None of his three deputies – Martha Kwayie Manu, Nyadia Sulemana Nelson and Musah Iddrisu (Musah’s Superior) – have complied with the law.
For the first time since its inception in 1999, the Forestry Commission has three deputy chief executives on its payroll.
The commission is responsible for regulating the use of forest and wildlife resources.
This puts the trio in charge of the country’s 266 forest and game reserves and six Ramsar sites.
When The fourth power contacted Mr Allotey, he said he declared his wealth before but could not remember the exact date.
He said, however, that he had recently chosen the form and would fulfill the constitutional obligation.
Martha Kwayie Manu
Martha Kwayie Manu, the former District Chief Executive Officer (DCE) of Juaboso in the North West Region, was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission in April 2021.
She did not respond to calls, texts and WhatsApp messages sent on June 13, 2022, until June 20, 2022, when she sent a response that read:
“They [Audit Service] should check their records. I did this four years ago so should they check or do I have to do this every year? »
When The fourth power When asked if she had the receipt for the declaration and if she did it in Accra or the North West Region, she did not answer.
Musah Iddrisu aka Musah Superior
In November 2021, Mr. Musah Iddrisu took to social media to announce his appointment as Deputy Director General of the commission. Prior to this appointment, he had spent four years serving as the Metropolitan Managing Director of Tamale.
There was no record of him declaring his assets there. He did not respond to calls, texts and WhatsApp messages on June 13 and 14, 2022.
Mr. Iddrisu is currently a candidate for the post of Secretary General of the NPP.
Nyadia Sulemana Nelson
He was also appointed in April 2021. He did not respond to calls, texts and WhatsApp messages sent on June 13, 2022.
pass the floor
Although President Nana Akufo-Addo has in the past touted his appointees’ adherence to the Asset Declaration Act, some of them have not followed his rhetoric.
While 27 ministers and deputy ministers in his first and second term never declared their assets, 92 others including Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta; Parliamentary Affairs Minister Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and former Chief Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo did not fully abide by the law.
Anti-corruption crusaders have over the years criticized Ghana’s asset declaration law for its lack of transparency.
They want the assets and liabilities declared by public office holders to be verified and published when they take office and when they leave. However, public office holders have opposed these requests, citing privacy concerns.
In other democracies, declared assets are published. President Barack Obama, for example, reported income of $5.5 million in 2009 on his tax returns, most of it from his books, “Dreams from My Father” and “Audacity of Hope.”
According to White House financial disclosure forms, the Obama family declared assets of $7.7 million, not including the family home in Chicago. But they did include the family’s dog, Bo, who was valued at $1,600, and listed under “gifts, refunds and travel expenses.”
In Ghana, anti-corruption advocates including OccupyGhana want the six-month grace period in Bill 550 removed from a new Public Officials Conduct Bill, which is before the cabinet .
He said the six months provide a possible window of opportunity for public office holders who do not declare their assets as soon as they take office to acquire property.
“This is possible because although the Constitution categorically requires that persons appointed to public office ‘must’ declare their assets ‘before taking office’. In 1998, politicians from all political parties in Parliament conspired to violate this constitutional provision by passing a law (Law 550) which allows filing of the declaration up to 6 months “after” taking office”, a said OccupyGhana in a press release. in May 2022
He continues: “The effect of this travesty is that for more than two decades, once people assume public office without first declaring their assets and liabilities, they either don’t declare anything at all or they sometimes indulge in “presumed declarations” by declaring what they do not have, in the hope that they might, while in office, acquire the assets or make fictitious payments in purported satisfaction of fictitious debts declared.