The directive by the Electoral Commission (EC) to all presidential and parliamentary aspirants to submit prove of asset declaration as a qualification criterion to participate in the forthcoming polls is baseless, the National Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Bernard Mornah has said.
The EC in a statement Wednesday urged the candidates to take the “contents of the statutory declarations seriously, understanding the full legal implications of the admissions made under oath.”
The statement added that “candidates are to take note of the requirement to declare their asset to the Auditor-General in order to meet the eligibility criteria.”
But, speaking on Thursday, Mr. Mornah described the directive by the EC as unnecessary arguing that nowhere in the assets declaration law mandates aspiring officers to declare their assets.
According to him, the law specifically mentioned public officers and the EC appears “overly excited to impose conditions on actors and participants in our democratic process—and in particular in election 2016.”
He elaborated further, saying, “the law I know, is saying that public officers. The law did not say aspiring public officers and therefore if you are aspiring into a public office, the Electoral Commission say come and declare the asset. What authority is that?”
The PNC, Mr. Mornah said, has held that the “secrete or confidential declaration of asset” being done today is not adequate and the party believes that in order to enhance transparency in the system the assets declaration should be done publicly.
“But, in this instance I think the Electoral Commission is overly excited and super stepping its bounds. Aspiring office holders are not required by the law to present their asset declaration,” he pointed out.
Asked,whether he has sighted the constitutional instrument (CI) 94 and whether it specifically dealt with the issue of submission of asset declaration form alongside the filing forms, Mr. Mornah replied in the negative.
Nonetheless, he said “no subordinate law can overtake any law and therefore the CI is a subordinate law and its content cannot override any law.”