Home » 150,000 individuals comprising politicians, and media heads liable to declare assets

150,000 individuals comprising politicians, and media heads liable to declare assets


By: Staff Writer

January 30, Colombo (LNW): The new Anti-Corruption Act which is to be enacted this year contains provisions to strengthen the mechanisms for asset declaration.

Publication of Asset Declarations for senior officials (President, Prime Minister, ministers) on a designated website in line with Anti Corruption Law by July 2024, ministry of justice sources revealed.

The anticorruption framework is in the process of undergoing major changes. The recent adoption of the Anticorruption Act (ACAACA) introduced substantial improvements in the legal framework for anticorruption and organizational arrangements for confronting corruption.

The Act will go far in aligning Sri Lanka’s legal framework with international commitments and good practice standards.

The Bribery or Corruption Allegation Investigation Commission has issued a stern directive, setting a deadline for the submission of asset declarations from various high-profile figures, including the President, the Prime Minister, public servants, and media heads.

This move comes in accordance with the recently enacted Bribery or Corruption Allegations Act.

Under the provisions of the new legislation, approximately 150,000 individuals, comprising politicians, public servants, and media leaders, are mandated to submit detailed asset and liability statements to the Bribery or Corruption Allegations Commission on an annual basis.

The scope of the directive extends to individuals across thirty-one different sectors. The deadline for compliance with this mandatory disclosure is fixed at March 31st of each year, adding a sense of urgency to the process.

While these steps are critical, and will be reviewed in greater detail, accurate asset declaration mechanisms are only one element of an effective conflict of interest (CoI) system, sources said.

Equal attention must be placed on clarity in elaborating a definition what constitutes a conflict (which may extend well beyond ownership of assets), training officials in their obligations and responsibilities, and establishing procedures to provide rapid and consistent guidance on how to manage a conflict once it has been declared.

Public reporting on system performance is necessary to demonstrate the probity of officials, and officials found to have acted in non-conformity with CoI requirements must be appropriately and visibly sanctioned.

Approximately 90% of jurisdictions have legislation requiring some form of asset disclosure due to their potential value in helping promote a culture of integrity. Less evident is the fact that asset disclosures can also help public officials build trust in their work and, therefore, in public institutions.

Finally, asset disclosure systems can promote key partnerships with civil society and journalists.

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