New asset declaration rules in the offing

Assets: The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has drafted a new set of asset declaration rules which are expected to be implemented in the near future.

The rules are expected to promote public trust through accountability, facilitate management of conflict of interest and detect and prevent illicit enrichment.

According to the draft asset declaration rules 2016, any asset declaration information or copy thereof may be made available to a person within five working days from the day of receipt of such application by the ACC. However, according to ACC sources, provisions relating to disproportionate assets are yet to be finalised.

According to the draft, requests for such information should be made in person to the ACC during office hours. The ACC would be required to issue the information only upon a written application by such a person.

The asset declarant will have the right to be informed that information on his asset declaration has been sought.

However, a person shall not seek or use the asset declaration information for any unlawful and commercial purposes or solicitation of money for any purpose directly or indirectly. Asset declaration in the agencies shall be subjected to compliance auditing by the Royal Audit Authority.

Any rejection of an application will require the ACC to provide the grounds for such rejection to the applicant.

If a covered person, without reasonable justification, declares assets late, he/she shall be levied a fine equivalent to one day’s national minimum wage for every day until such failure subsists. For non-declaration of assets by a covered person without reasonable justifications will be levied a fine equivalent to one year’s national minimum wage.

If a covered person knowingly makes a false declaration with a view to conceal assets, income and liabilities, it shall constitute an offence of ‘false declaration’ under section 64 of the Anti-Corruption Act. According to this provision, public servants or other individuals using public resources shall be guilty of an offence if they knowingly make false declarations with a view to conceal their assets, income and liabilities.

An offence under this section shall be a misdemeanor.

If a covered person is deemed to possess disproportionate assets, it will constitute an offence or ‘possession of unexplained wealth’ under Section 60 of the Act and shall be dealt with accordingly.

Where a person uses asset declaration information obtained for any unlawful purpose, he or she shall be levied a fine equivalent to one year’s national minimum wage.

MB Subba

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