By Arthur Ben Tucker
The Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Ady Macaulay has on Tuesday 4th October 2016 informed newsmen that twenty thousand government officials have failed to declare their income, assets and liabilities.
He emphasized that the commission will recommend probity and withholding of salaries of defaulted MDAs soon.
He made the disclosure at Santano House, on Howe Street in Freetown whilst updating the local media and Civil Society Organisations on the operations of the commission.
“Not everyone has complied with their obligations to declare their assets to the ACC. We have in excess of 20,000 government officials who have failed to declare their assets, income, and liabilities,” he said.
He added: “In order to make them comply, we shall be bringing out regulations of global MDA systems and processes review and recommend on how institutions should ensure that assets declarations are submitted to the ACC, by each and every public official and failing which, we will recommend for the salaries to be withheld.”
For instance, he noted, “if you have not declared your assets as of 31st March, in April you are not going to get our salary.”
The Anti-graft Commissioner emphasized that when defaulters shall have finally complied, 15 percent of their salaries will still be withheld, for delaying the commission.
According to the law, every public officer shall within three months before becoming a public officer declare or deposit with the assets and commission a sworn declaration of income, assets and liability not later than 31st March in each succeeding year that he is a public officer.
“Public officers shall also deposit further declarations their income, assets and liabilities while leaving office,” the law adds.
Mr. Macaulay reminded his audience that the ‘Pay No Bribe’ campaign recently unveiled by the Commission is a three year project, adding that it is not prosecutorial, but a tool to heighten surveillance in certain sector.
“Pay no bribe is non prosecutorial, but we can use it as a tool to heighten our surveillance in targeted sectors,” he stressed.
He emphasized that the campaign will also give the commission the opportunity to translate their findings into data which would be thoroughly and critically looked into at the end of each month, and later sent to certain sectors along with recommendations.
“At the end of the month, when the data have been processed, the commission will report directly to the targeted MDAs for them to look at it and return to the ACC to explain what actions they have taken and intend to take,” he noted.
ACC Boss pointed out that they will punish or recommend probe of any MDA which renege on implementing recommendations proffer by the commission within three months as law demands.
Mr. Macaulay stated that he is concerned about areas he believes there are issues of corruption across the country.
“We are aware that 70 percent corruption is done on a daily basis in Police Stations, Hospitals and Schools because people go to these places to access service every minute and hour,” he said.
He reiterated that once there is endemic corruption in those sectors, services delivery would be extremely difficult. “My dreams and ambitions in the fight against corruption are geared towards eliminating and eradicating it completely in Sierra Leone,” he declared.
He however, noted that the aim of the ‘pay no bribe’ campaign is not only to map out corruption trend and to roll out targeted interventions, but to gives each and every citizens access to good service delivery.
He adds that it makes provision for anonymity, in which the identity of citizens reporting on corruption would be unknown.
“Mind you, you are not required to report any particular individual, but sector within specific units,” he stressed.
He urged the media, CSOs and well-meaning individuals to partner with the commission in eradicating corruption in the country.