A minimum of Rs 100,000 fine has been proposed to the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act for Non declaration of assets and liabilities. The current penalty for such offence is Rs 1,000. Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) Director General Sarath Jayamanne PC said far reaching amendments have been proposed to the current law of assets declaration which was last revised in 1988.
He said providing false information in the declaration form would also be an offence. He said proposed amendments are being considered by the Legal Draftsman and a preliminary draft would be made with wide consultation of local and international experts.
He said proposals have been made to widen the area covered from the asset declaration form to include loans, intellectual property, insurance, payments made for electricity and telephone bills, gifts one has received, bonus, travel sponsored by various agencies, various memberships in organisations and clubs. “These vital areas have been left out by the current law.
Those are various methods of acquiring income and assets,” he pointed out. He said the proposal has been made to make a summary of asset declaration available to the public without giving personal information or family details. “The lump sum of money in the bank accounts and one’s land and property (without giving the specific area) will be available for public perusal. These include property in other countries as well,” he added.
“UN Office on Drugs and Crime brought experts from Indonesia and Slovenia while World Bank also sent their experts. Our specialist from the Inland Revenue Department, Customs, Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank, Public Administration Ministry, Attorney General’s Department and Elections Commission too attended these meetings,” he said.
The category of people who should submit assets declaration will be widened to include even the provincial councilors. The Election Commission has proposed to make it mandatory for candidates of elections to submit their assets declaration form within two weeks of nomination. “As of now they have to submit within three months and the elections are over by then,” he explained.
The DG said provisions will be made shortly to submit the asset declaration forms online.“Then when you submit the form once, you will only have to update it thereafter.
At the moment there are many agencies dealing with collection of assets declaration forms. There was a suggestion to make the CIABOC the central authority to collect, evaluate and analyse those forms.For that we will have to digitise the system,” he noted.The DG however reminded the proposed amendments have to be passed in Parliament without dilution in order to see their objectives being realised.