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A Game of Hide and Seek

Asset Declarations for Public Officials

The asset and income declaration system is a powerful tool for rule of law and anti-corruption efforts. This mechanism works through imposing an obligation on Public Officials. In other words, according to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the normative framework of the relevant country, public officials’ material or financial benefits – such as properties and income – shall be made available to the competent state authority.

Today, according to the World Bank data, over 160 countries in the world implement assets declaration system (see Table 1 for more details). Within 30 days from the day of election, appointment or appellation, public officials in the Republic of Serbia are obliged to submit an asset declaration to the Anti-Corruption Agency, disclosing their assets and income, assets and income of their spouse or common-law partner, as well as minor children if they live in the same family household. The asset declaration is also submitted by officials whose term has ended, whereas urgent reporting is foreseen if the property or income of the public official has changed significantly in the previous year. However, due to the intensification of regional and cross-border offshore business, anti-corruption efforts in the area of asset declaration are becoming misplaced. This is because tools for tracking and detecting income and illegally acquired assets lag behind for innovative solutions aimed at hiding them from inquisitive citizens and institutions.

The brief was prepared within the Regional Good Governance Public-Private Partnership Platform (R2G4P). Analysis on this topic will be included in the Report on Good Governance in Southern and Eastern Europe countries (SEE), which will be published on the R2G4P website.

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