By Sulaiman B. Sowa
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Regional Office in Kenema has, on Thursday, 27th January 2022, educated staff of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NaSSIT) in Kenema on filling their incomes, assets and liabilities online. The engagement took place at the NaSSIT Regional Office in Kenema.
Explaining the purpose of the training, Public Education Officer, Jeneba Mbayo, said that the training was to educate staff members on the declaration of their incomes, assets and liabilities online as the Commission was phasing out the paper-based declaration which was burdensome and voluminous 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 secured and guarantees absolute privacy and confidentiality.
Speaking to the training, Senior Public Education Officer, Sulaiman B. Sowa, defined asset declaration as a detailed summary of a public officer’s income, assets and liabilities ranging from houses, valuables and monies to debts, mortgages, and all sources of income from employment to businesses.
Mr. Sowa informed all that the declaration was mandatory for all public officers in 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, as amended in 2019, ‘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’.
Taking staff members through a power point presentation, Mr. Sowa underscored that asset declaration is an essential tool for preventing corruption, detecting illicit wealth and conflicts of interests, building accountability and transparency in public service and promoting integrity.
He said 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 render 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 of the entire process noting that the online declaration guarantees outmost privacy and confidentiality as public officers will now have the opportunity to securing their declarations in a digitally encrypted format that could be referenced anytime.
Appreciating the training, Regional Manager East-NaSSIT, Mohamed Kamara thanked the Commission for the training provided on, how to declare their incomes, assets and liabilities as public officers. He promised that they will comply with the declarations before the stipulated end date and shall make reference to the Commission in areas that may require support and clarifications.
Questions and answers session formed part of the training.