Strict new norms for financial disclosure for government employees

Effective immediately, as per the new guidelines of the State Audit Institution (SAI), senior government officials have been given one month to disclose all details of their personal wealth.

  
An investor talks on his mobile phone, whilst working on his computer, on the trading floor of the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) in the Commercial Business District of Ruwi in Muscat, October 2, 2007. Image for illustrative purposes.

An investor talks on his mobile phone, whilst working on his computer, on the trading floor of the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) in the Commercial Business District of Ruwi in Muscat, October 2, 2007. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Stringer
02 August 2016
Muscat - Effective immediately, as per the new guidelines of the State Audit Institution (SAI), senior government officials have been given one month to disclose all details of their personal wealth.

The new financial disclosure form which can be filled online was announced on Monday as per Fahd al Farsi, director of Financial Disclosure at SAI.

The new norms are applicable to all government employees, both Omani and non-Omani, as well as employees of companies with at least 40 per cent ownership by the government.

As per the new form, all sources of personal wealth must now be listed including real estate holdings and all assets/currency holdings abroad.

All liabilities will also need to be declared by the individual along with details of any stock ownership in companies and membership details of any type in any organisation.

Personal details of immediate family members (including children under the age of 18) will also need to be supplied.

Purchases beyond RO1,000 will also have to reported as per the new rules.

Incorrect disclosure can lead to a prison sentence of six months to two years, as per the Protection of Public Funds and Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest Law (112/2011).

According to Farsi, 'many' but not all employees complied with the original form, which was issued in 2012. However, he added that there have been 'no' noncompliance cases in courts during this period.

Farsi said the new form is ideal to help combat irregular and illegal wealth accumulation. "We needed to change it because it's been four years since the last form. We missed some things in the last form but now everything is updated," he said.

Farsi said the new regulations are part of efforts to meet Oman's commitment to a UN Convention Against Corruption, which Oman ratified through Royal Decree 64/2013.

© Muscat Daily 2016