Asset declaration regimes in selected Asian countries
This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.
What is the Asian experience of asset declaration, verification and publication for officials? We are interested in the legal framework but also in their implementation and results. Countries of focus (in order) are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Lessons learned regarding priorities in asset regimes for the Afghanistan office
1. Coverage of asset declaration regimes
2. What should be declared?
3. Frequency of declarations
4. Monitoring and enforcement
6. Public disclosure regime
7. Overview of implementation and challenges
An effective asset declaration regime requires that key government officials regularly disclose precise information about their assets, sources of income, liabilities, as well as interests. To be used effectively as an anti-corruption tool, content review of assets declaration should be conducted by an independent and autonomous government body. The verification system should allow the identification of conflicts of interest and illicit enrichment situations by comparing declarations across time or against other information such as tax declarations, and real estate registries. In addition, public disclosure of asset declarations allows civil society and media to monitor and promote the process and support enforcement.
Asset declaration regimes have been introduced in many countries as a way to enhance transparency and integrity as well as increase the trust of citizens in the public administration. Usually, asset declaration regimes aim at preventing conflict of interest among public officials and members of the government and/or identifying illicit enrichment and other wrongdoings by monitoring wealth variations of politicians and civil servants (Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, 2012).
In the absence of agreed upon international standards on asset disclosure requirements, studies assessing the existence and effectiveness of asset disclosure regimes in countries across the world have pointed to a set of core principles that could be considered by governments seeking to adopt such regimes (OECD 2011; Transparency and Accountability Initiative 2011; Messick 2009). These include rules regarding the (i) coverage of assets declaration; (ii) types of information to be declared; (iii) frequency of filling; (iv) monitoring and enforcement, (v) sanctions; and (vi) availability of information to the wider public. Within this framework, this answer analyses the main issues that should be covered by asset declaration regimes, highlighting how each of these issues is dealt with in law and in practice in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
AuthorsMaíra Martini, Transparency International, [email protected]