-Says Deputy Information Minister
August 10, 2017 By Memunatu Bangura
Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, Cornelius Deveaux has observed that calls by citizens for politicians to declare their asset before election was undermining the laws of asset declaration as enshrined in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.
“The call is undermining the law of ACC Act on asset declaration, because this is just a call and we cannot even determine the citizens that brought the manifesto. Citizen’s manifesto is asking politician to declare their asset when they are nominated. We already have a law that states as to when and how public officials should declare their asset,” he said.
He made the above statement Tuesday 8th August, 2017 on Radio Democracy 98.1 Good Morning Salone Program.
Deveaux said citizen’s manifesto cannot actually prove the true representation of the views of majority of Sierra Leoneans, and that the call was an opinion of a certain section of people, reiterating that there are laws that supersede people’s opinion.
He said it was not an obligation for politicians to declare their asset and that citizens cannot take such as a benchmark to restrain them from presenting their intention.
He however stated that the Citizens’ manifesto was a demonstration of the fact that people’s participation in governance has been deepened, stating that government was creating the space for civil societies and other citizens to be actively involved in governance.
Minister Deveaux emphasised that there was no law that compel aspiring politicians to declare their asset publicly and that anybody that wants to limit someone’s ability or intention to contest an election, because he or she fails to declare his or her asset, if challenged in the court of law, will lose because there was no law to support his motion.
The Deputy Minister said while government appreciates the endeavour of people coming together to prepare the manifesto, they also have to look beyond what was presented as citizens manifesto, because the issue of governance deals with everyday lives of people.
He said if people wanted to participate in governance, they should be able to proffer suggestions to take the country forward.
He said the ACC Act states that public officials should declare their assets upon assumption of office, for any succeeding years they stays in office, and when leaving office, and if any citizen has doubt in the wealth of politicians and public servants.
Deveaux said when politicians are nominated; it is not a sanction that they are becoming elected officers, adding that it was not wrong for citizens to ask politicians to declare their asset because Sierra Leone is a law country.
“When someone is nominated, it does not mean he becomes an elected officer until he is voted for or gets an appointment by President or other forms of employment. And when they become public officers, automatically they are obliged by law to declare their assets,” he said.