- What is required of a person in public life?
Not later than 31st March in every year a person in public life must file a declaration with the Commission setting out the following:
- his office or offices;
- his income, assets and liabilities;
- the assets of his spouse, children or relative acquired through or traceable to his income; and
- gifts made by him in value exceeding one thousand dollars;
Where a person holds money or other property in trust for another, this must be stated in the declaration.
The income, assets and liabilities of a person in public life include income, assets and liabilities acquired, held or incurred by another as his agent or on his behalf.
Every person in public life must observe the Code of Conduct which sets out the standard of behaviour expected of a person in public life and the ethics and values that should govern that behaviour. The Code is contained in the Second Schedule to the Act.
- When must a declaration be filed with the Commission?
A person in public life shall, in respect of each income year (which is the calendar year), file a declaration within three months after the end of that year.
A person newly appointed to an office in Part I of the First Schedule to the Act must file a declaration not later than three months after the date of his appointment.
A person acting continuously for a period of not less than six months in an office listed in Part II of the First Schedule to the Act becomes a person in public life and shall file a declaration not later than three months of his becoming a person in public life.
With respect to the latter two cases, assets and liabilities are to be declared as at the date of his becoming a person in public life. Income shall be declared for the preceding twelve months.
- What if a person ceases to be a person in public life during the Income year? Is the person still required to file a declaration?
Yes. The person would still be required to file a declaration at the end of each income year for the following two years.
- Who will have access to declarations?
A declaration filed with the Commission is secret and confidential and shall not be made public except where it is required to be produced for the purpose of any court proceedings against, or inquiry in respect of a declarant under the Act, the Commissions of Inquiry Act or perjury under the Perjury Act. Members of the Commission, the Secretary, and the staff are required to take an oath of allegiance, oath of office and oath of secrecy as appropriate before entering upon their duties.
- What is the consequence of failing to file a declaration by the prescribed date?
Failure to file a declaration in accordance with the terms of the Act or provide particulars properly requested by the Commission will result in the Commission publishing in the Gazette that the person has failed to do so and the Commission will also send a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further action.A person who fails to file by the prescribed date is nevertheless required to file a declaration.
- What is the consequence of filing a false declaration?
Where after full inquiry the Commission has determined that a person in public life filed a false declaration, the Commission shall refer the matter to the DPP for further action.
- How does the Commission ascertain the accuracy or fullness of a declaration?
By conducting an analysis of the declaration and requesting the person to provide further particulars and investigating such particulars.
- Are persons in public life required to present bank statements each time a declaration is filed?
Where the Commission requires better particulars in accordance with section 15 of the Act, the Commission may request that the declarant furnish further particulars and the declarant is responsible for meeting the costs associated with acquiring those statements or other documentation to substantiate his declaration. Section 29 of the Act allows such cost to be treated as deductible expenses for purposes of income tax.
- Can the Commission excuse a person in public life for filing late if he has an acceptable excuse?
No. The Commission does not have discretion under the Act to excuse a person in public life for filing late.
- Are members of the Commission required to file declarations?
Members of the Commission are not required to file under the Act. Only the Chairman of the Commission, being the Chairman of a public institution within the meaning of section 2 of the Act files a declaration under the Act.