Declaration of Income, Assets and Liabilities by public officers is mandated by Section 119(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, as amended in 2019. It requires all public officers of grades 7 and above or appointed by the President or elected into office and those with fiduciary responsibilities to declare the incomes, assets and liabilities of themselves, spouses or children (below 18 years).
In a bid to aid public officers of the above-stated categories to fill their declarations on-line, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Regional Office in Kenema, conducted a training of trainers for staff of Kailahun District Council and Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Kailahun District, on the 1stand 2nd February, 2022 respectively. The engagement took place at the District Medical Health Management Team hall in Kailahun Town.
Explaining the purpose of the training, Public Education Officer, Jeneba Mbayo, said that it was to educate public officers through Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies on the declaration of their incomes, assets and liabilities on-line as the Commission was phasing out the paper-based declaration that was burdensome and cumbersome to manage. She furthered that whilst it was the responsibility of public officers to make declarations as mandated by law, the training was the Commission’s effort in facilitating the process through a medium that is secure and guarantees absolute privacy and confidentiality.
Jeneba Kemoh further informed all that the declaration was mandatory for all public officers of grades 7 and above, those appointed or elected into offices and public officers with fiduciary responsibilities. He added that a public officer is, as dictated by the interpretation section of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, ‘’any an officer or member of a public body including a person holding or acting in an office in any of the three branches of government, whether appointed or elected, permanent or temporary, or paid or unpaid’’.
Conducting the training with a power point presentation, Sulaiman B. Sowa, Senior Public Education Officer, ACC, said that to begin an online declaration, a declarant must first have a valid email address, a social security number or employee identification number to register on the declaration portal found on the Commission’s website. He furthered that the registration will then avail the declarant with details of his/her logging details in the email address provided by the declarant which will be used to enter the declaration portal with several pages to fill. He said that at the end of the entire process, the declarant will make a statutory declaration and receive a copy of submission receipt in his/her email provided.
Concluding, Mr. Sowa did a simulation of the declaration process, from start to completion noting that, the online declaration guarantees outmost privacy and confidentiality as public officers will now have the opportunity to secure their declarations in a digitally encrypted format that could be referenced anytime. He also intimated his trainees that the declaration is now done bi-annually, pursuant to Section 119(1) of the AC Act 2008 as amended in 2019.
District Health Sister Kailahun, Princess Hawa Momoh, thanked the Commission for the training of trainers on asset declaration on-line. She said that declaration of assets by public officers is a necessary tool to prevent corruption and enhance integrity into public service. She appealed to the Commission for more training.