Declare Assets Now! -President Bio Urges

 

The importance of the transparency and accountability of government officials in key political, managerial and administrative leadership positions is the critical leading from Sierra Leone’s continued poverty, underdevelopment and mounting debt to good state governance, sound financial management, economic prosperity, wealth of the state and its people.

This reality was not lost on former President Ernest Bai Koroma who in further empowering of the country’s anti-corruption commission embedded the principle of asset declaration into its mandate in order to hold public officials accountable.

President Bio too has placed transparency and accountability at the top of his agenda for moving Sierra Leone forward from mismanagement of resources for self aggrandizement to prudent use of them to achieve his government’s ‘New Direction’ plans.

A man who leads by example, President Bio immediately after appointing the new Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Commissioner at a ceremony at State House declared his assets. He was followed by the Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh and the Minister of Youth Affairs, Ibrahim Nyelenkeh.

It is mandatory for all ministers, heads of parastatal and civil servants above Grade 7 to declare their assets to the ACC and to update the information contained therein annually. Accordingly, President Bio has reportedly urged all those that have not yet declared their assets to the ACC to do so now.

It is believed by the ACC that public officials declaring their assets can help the Commission determine whether a public official has acquired assets beyond his legitimate means.

It could be recalled that in furtherance of President Bio’s commitment to fight against corruption, he set up a Governance Transition Team (GTT) to take stock of what the MDAs did under the former government. The Report is now the subject of a forensic audit by the Auditor General and a judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate and prosecute any official accused of corruption.

Additionally, with replacing the former ACC Commissioner with a new appointee, President Bio has also approved the setting up of a special ACC court to speedily try corruption related cases.

To further strengthen public sector management, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international cooperation on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone has reportedly signed a US$44 million USAID governance, agriculture and economic growth grant.