May 18, 2020
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has stated in a public notice that they would go hard as stipulated by laws on all public officials who had failed to declare their assets to the commission.
The ACC cited Section 119(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 (as Amended in 2019) all public officers who are to declare their assets and have failed to do so are now in default.
Section 119(1) states as follows: “Every public officer shall, within three months of becoming a public officer, deposit with the Commission a declaration of his income, assets and liabilities and thereafter in every two years that he is public officer, but not later than 31st March of that second year, deposit further declaration of his income, assets and liabilities and also while leaving office.”
Similarly, the commission added that, Section 122A(1) of the said Amendment provides that “A public officer who, without reasonable cause, fails to submit his/her Assets Declaration Form or knowingly records false, inaccurate or misleading information in the declaration form shall, in addition to any other penalty imposed under this Act, be liable to administrative sanctions as set out in sub-section (5) which includes Withholding the salary of the Public Officer, Suspend the Public Officer after one month of default but not more than three months; and Dismiss the Public Officer after exceeding three months (This does not apply to only Positions for which removal from office is stipulated in the Constitution but applies to all).
The commission noted that the deadline for the submission of Asset Declaration Forms was 31st March, 2020 which has now elapsed.
However, the commission has extended the declaration period to, on or before the 31st May 2020, citing Section 119(4) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008.
The ACC said after the said date, default by public officers will be treated as deliberate and defaulters will face the applicable appropriate penalties as prescribed by law above, thus noting that anyone who has specific challenges should promptly notify the commission for speedy remedy.
Meanwhile, the Commission reassured the general public of its relentless commitment in curbing corruption at all levels in Sierra Leone, particularly, instilling integrity and accountability in public life which the Assets Declaration legal and regulatory regime is meant to ensure.