Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday disclosed that over 20,000 public officials have refused to declare their assets as stipulated in the ACC Act of 2008.
Ady Macauley was speaking at an event organised by the commission at Santano House in Freetown to update civil society organisations and the media about the operations of the country’s anti-graft agency in the fight against corruption.
“Asset declaration is a huge challenge for us as a commission and I can say that not every public official has complied with the provision in the Act to declare their asset,” he said.
Section 119(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 states that every public officer shall within three months of becoming a public officer deposit with the commission a sworn declaration of his income, assets and liabilities and thereafter not later than 31st March in each succeeding year that he is a public officer, he shall deposit further declarations of his income, assets and liabilities.
According to the ACC Commissioner, the Act makes provision for defaulters to be punished, but stressed that they have many ways to force people to comply and declare their assets.
“The commission would recommend how institutions should ensure that asset declaration forms are submitted to the ACC by every official by 31st March and failing which, we will recommend that the salaries of defaulters should be withheld,” he noted.
Mr. Macauley emphasised the need for public officials to declare their assets as it help members of the public to know what a public official owns, in order to avoid the issue of unexplained wealth and corrupt acquisition of wealth.