Following a Report presented by a joint-committeeincluding Legislative and Transparency after committal, the Parliament of Sierra Leone has finally passed the Bill entitled “The Anti-Corruption Amendment Act 2019” into law with some amendments on Thursday 31st October 2019.
The Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Act 2019 is seeking to amend the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008; to specify categories of public officers to whom the declaration requirement under subsection (1) of section 199 applies; to increase penalties for offences under the Act and for other related matters.
The objectives of the amendment include the need to review and increase penalties for offences under the Act; strengthen protection of those who assist the Commission; provide the Commission with alternatives to prosecution; widen the scope of corruption to include that the accused ‘offered’, ‘solicited’, ‘obtained’ or ‘received’ in addition to ‘gave’ and accepted’ an advantage; reduce the yearlong requirement that people who cease to be public officers have to file a declaration in respect of their assets and empower the Commissioner to specify categories of public officers for the purpose of declaration by Statutory Instrument published in a Gazette; provide for administrative sanctions for public officers who fail to submit their Assets Declaration Forms or knowingly record false, inaccurate or misleading information in the form; and to vest in the Commissioner, power to direct that contracts may not be proceeded with.
In another development, Parliament has also ratified two cooperation agreements and six multilateral and environmental treaties aimed at attaining international best practices.
The following agreements were debated and ratified by Parliament:
i. Agreement Between the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone on Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomatic, Official or Service
ii. Agreement Between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Government of the Republic Turkey Concerning Abolition of Visas for Holders of Diplomatic, Service and Special Passports Dated 15th August, 2019.
iii. Proposal for Ratification of Accession (1) the Kigali Amendment to
the Montreal Protocol, (ii) the Bamako Convention (iii) the Ban
Amendment to the Basel Convention (iv) the Doha
Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol (v) Cartagena Protocol and (vi) Additional Protocols to the Abidjan Convention by the Government of Sierra Leone.
Presenting these agreements prior to ratification, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mrs. Nabeela F. Tunis said these agreements would help diplomats and those who work for international organizations to travel freely to other countries; adding that it would also strengthen bilateral relationships.
On the Multilateral and Environmental Treaties, the Minister said, Sierra Leone would join other players around the world in the fight for the protection of the environment.
MPs who contributed to debate relating to these agreements applauded Government; agreeing that they were non-controversial and good for the development of the country.
In concluding the debate, the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Sidie M. Tunis and the Acting Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo acclaimed Government for presenting these agreements for ratification; moreso for the development of Sierra Leone.
Department Public Relations
Parliament of Sierra Leone