From the Editor’s Keyboard

Assets declarations good for individuals, government

12 January 2016 at 08:43 | 1692 views

The declaration of assets by government officials should not be feared; it is a good thing that will ultimately serve the best interests of the individuals concerned and by extension the government under which they serve.

President Ernest Koroma therefore made a very smart move when he declared his assets almost immediately he became President in 2007. He also asked his Ministers to do the same. The majority, if not all, the Ministers complied but the problem is many have failed to update their declaration every two years as required by law. I am sure President Koroma updates his information every two years except if there has been no change in the information of the preceding two years.

We would like to therefore congratulate the new Attorney General and Minister of Justice Honourable Joseph Kamara for declaring his assets just two weeks after his appointment. He is required to to do so within three months but he is saying the earlier the better.

What about top civil servants and other senior government officials? An investigation on that will definitely yield juicy information.

Anyway, assets declarations is good for public officials in a country where corruption scandals, imaginary or true, sell enormous quantities of newspapers and kick TV and radio ratings sky high. The risks of any top government official not declaring his or her assets are just too much because they can be easy prey for unscrupulous political opponents and their media hit men and women.

Declarations of assets are also a good thing for the image of any government as a collective entity because when people know about the assets of members of a government it will be extremely difficult for any political foe or unscrupulous journalist to tarnish the image of that government with false accusations of corruption.

A declaration of assets widely available to the public, including the ordinary man and woman, the rural farmer and urban small business owner, is indeed very good insurance against political or media impropriety.