FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – In a recent development, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of Sierra Leone has issued a stern reminder to all government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) regarding their obligation to create and maintain Gift Registers.
This reminder is grounded in Section 51(4) of the Anti-Corruption Act, a legislative requirement that mandates all public institutions to meticulously document gifts valued at Five Thousand (New) Leones or more, which are received by their staff.
According to the provisions of this Act, public officers who receive gifts surpassing Five Million (Old) Leones, or when the cumulative value from a single source over a twelve-month period exceeds Five Million (Old) Leones, are mandated to promptly report such instances to the relevant public authority within the stipulated timeframe.
Furthermore, the Act imposes upon public officers the responsibility of including a detailed statement in their annual declaration of assets and liabilities.
This statement must divulge the nature of the gift, its source, and the circumstances under which it was offered or accepted. Failure to adhere to these statutory requirements is classified as an offense, and those found in violation could face severe penalties. These penalties may include a fine equivalent to three times the value of the gift or Fifty Million (Old) Leones, in addition to a minimum one-year prison sentence.
The ACC underscores its unyielding commitment to enforcing these legal provisions, and it’s made clear that any public officer who fails to declare a gift valued at Five Thousand (New) Leones or more may be subject to legal action.
In another significant development, the ACC has launched an investigation into allegations surrounding a former Chief Immigration Officer, Andrew Jaiah Kaikai, who is accused of receiving vehicles as gifts. Currently, three such vehicles are under the custody of the ACC as part of the ongoing investigation.
The ACC aims to reassure the public of its unwavering dedication to combating corruption in Sierra Leone.