January 19, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Deputy Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has urged ministers and other public officers to declare their assets to the commission as required by law.
Speaking in an interview at his Gloucester Street office, Shollay Davies told Concord Times that assets declaration is a responsibility of every public official at the start of every year.
He said the onus is on public officials to declare their assets as stipulated by section 119, sub-section 1 of the ACC Act of 2008, that “every public official, upon assuming office, within three months, should deposit assets and liabilities to the commission”.
“Public officers need to understand that they have an obligation under the Act to make sure that they declare their income, assets and liabilities to the commission, failing which, there are penalties,” said Mr. Davies. “We hope and pray that in the next couple of weeks we will be receiving assets declaration forms from ministers of government.”
He said the ACC would be following up on the assets declaration process, with their officials dispatched to ministries, departments and agencies of government to help coordinate the process.
He pointed out that the declaration should commence on taking up office and subsequently on an annual basis, adding that when leaving office pubic officers are also mandated to declare their assets.
While assuring public officers that there is strict confidentiality applied to the declaration process, Mr. Davies warned that persons who fail to declare their assets on or before the stipulated timeframe will be liable to a fine of up to Le20 million, as provided for in the AC Act of 2008.
“Over the period, we have seen a reasonable amount of cooperation from government ministers and their deputies, but that is not to say there is not room for improvement,” observed the ACC deputy chief. “We want to see how this year, 2016, we could get the maximum cooperation from ministers, deputies and those other key government officials.”
It could be recalled that last Monday (January 11, 2016), the new Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, became the first public official to declare his assets this year to the anti-graft agency.