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The Southern Region Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has trained public and civil servants of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Pujehun and Bonthe Districts on the mechanisms to fill and submit the online Assets Declaration form. The training was held at the conference halls of the Pujehun and Bonthe District Councils on Tuesday 15th February and Thursday 17th February, 2022 respectively.

In his statement, ACC’s Regional Manager, South, Momodu Sittar, said that the training was a testament to the Commission’s determination to ensuring that public sector workers are capacitated with the required competency and knowledge on how to properly fill and submit the online assets declaration form. He said that the assets declaration exercise was meant to promote integrity in public life, ensure transparency and accountability, and prevent public officials from committing acts of corruption.

Mr. Sittar recognized that the Commission has decided to move from paper-based assets declaration to digital or online declaration to increase the number of declaration, simplify the submission process to make it more user friendly, improve data management and security, eliminate the need for physical contact, improve data storage, and also save cost.

Speaking at the engagement, ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer Abdulai Saccoh, informed the participants that declaration of assets, income and liabilities is done when a person is appointed, resigned, retired, terminated or dismissed. Additionally, he said, current public officers are required to declare after every two years (biannually) through the Commission’s website www.anticorruption.gov.sl., which can be accessed from a computer, smart phone or any other electronic device with internet connectivity. He said all those filling the form are required to have a valid email address, an employee Identification Number or National Social Security (NaSSIT) Number. Mr. Saccoh advised public officers elected, appointed, recruited or contracted to endeavor to complete and submit their assets declaration form on or before the 31st March, 2022, otherwise defaulters will be punished as provided for in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019.

Senior Regional Corruption Prevention Officer Francis K. Lassayo, said that the assets declaration exercise is in tandem with the Commission’s preventive approach to build a public and civil service that espouses honesty and openness. Mr. Lassayo encouraged public officers who are required by law to declare their assets to trust the process as information provided to the Commission will not be divulged to anyone. He called on them to uphold the ethics of their profession.  

ACC’s Public Education Officer, Yangie Deborah Sesay, in her statement, described the training as training of trainers, of which participants are expected to share with their colleagues the knowledge and skills acquired. Miss Sesay underscored that the declaration of income, assets and liabilities by public officers should not be seen as a witch-hunt, but rather it is to ensure public officers are held to account for their stewardship. She urged public officers to declare and warned against failure to declare and making false declaration, as they constitute an offence under the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019.