International Experience of Asset Declarations


Part 1: Asset Declarations as a Tool for Transparency

第一部分 公职人员财产申报是促进政治透明的工具

Asset and interest disclosure has become a key global anti-corruption issue, as evidenced by its inclusion in the UN Convention Against Corruption, which notes that:

“Each State Party shall endeavour, where appropriate and in accordance with the fundamental principles of its domestic law, to establish measures and systems requiring public officials to make declarations to appropriate authorities regarding, inter alia, their outside activities, employment, investments, assets and substantial gifts or benefits from which a conflict of interest may result with respect to their functions as public officials.”


Regulations concerning the disclosure of assets and interests can help prevent conflicts of interest among public office holders. Disclosure of information on private interests increases the transparency of decision-making processes, and thereby lays the foundations for the accountability of office holders for their actions. The disclosure of assets helps to provide a baseline and thus means for comparison to identify assets that may have been corruptly acquired and that a public official may legitimately be asked to account for. A good disclosure system can, further, be the basis for successfully enforcing criminal and other legal anti-corruption provisions.


The scope of disclosure requirements can vary considerably. While some countries prefer to restrict the disclosure requirement to senior office holders or those in sensitive positions, others require the declaration of interests of less senior public officials more generally, with some also requiring information about the assets of public officials’ spouses. Only a few countries, however, require asset disclosure of public officials at all levels.


Without public access or oversight, or fair and effective enforcement, disclosure will likely have limited impact. Who monitors disclosure and how the information gained is kept and communicated are therefore crucial to ensure robust accountability of an official’s interests and professional actions. Important variations exist among countries with regard to the method of recording and publishing declarations, and the institutions responsible for monitoring and evaluating disclosure. Monitoring and evaluating bodies can range, for instance, from civil or criminal courts to the office of the ombudsman.


In some countries, sophisticated IT platforms have been developed to make disclosure information available to a broad public audience (see the example of the US Center for Responsive Politics below). Others unfortunately make do with more cumbersome paper records that may only be viewed in designated public buildings at particular times. The role of information technology in enhancing access to information provided via asset declaration provisions is an area gaining increased attention around the world. Various examples of possible IT solutions are highlighted below.


[1] In 2002 these were recorded by the UN Economic and Social Council as Belarus, Brunei Darrussalam, Colombia, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Iraq, Italy, Lebanon and Malaysia. Source: UNESC, Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, ‘Report of the Secretary General on Implementation of the International Code of Conduct for Public Officials’ (February 2002).


Part 2: Country Examples

第二部分 一些国家的例子

Albania: Revised Asset Disclosure Law


In April 2003, the Albanian Coalition Against Corruption (ACAC) succeeded in having the Law on the Declaration of Assets by Public Officials completely revised and approved by parliament. It took over one and a half years to convince the government that drafting a new law was a necessary element to the reduction of corruption in public finance. Parliamentary members were resistant to this change. Statements defending their ground such as, “We do not need an expensive body to monitor us, we can do it ourselves,” and “We cannot make public our assets because we risk having our children kidnapped and even being murdered ourselves,” were common.


The ACAC began this process by conducting a systematic analysis of the factors feeding corruption in Albania. In this study they noted determining issues, with the lack of transparency of financial disclosures by public officials clearly standing out. They started immediately developing a public awareness campaign; mounting pressure on the parliamentarian officials with increased active involvement of the media and face-to-face debates at public forums. They lobbied parliament to make changes to the current law by, among other things, sending letters to its 140 members.


The law itself calls for all declarations to be made public, a reduction of the number of senior officials and their family members required to declare assets from 11,000 people to 3,500 (to only those that have access to public funds), and to create an independent body, called the High Inspectorate, responsible for the enforcement of the law.


Liberia: Combating Political Corruption Through Asset Disclosure


The case of Liberia demonstrates how effective asset disclosure can lead to greater public accountability. In late 2004,(IFES)launched its Money and Politics (MAP) project designed to encourage credibility in Liberia’s fragile political process through the promotion of greater transparency and accountability in political finance. Following a similar approach to that previously employed in Nigeria, the MAP Project began with a comprehensive assessment of the political finance system in Liberia followed by the provision of regulatory support, including the drafting of necessary forms. This work was undertaken with the support of the National Elections Commission (NEC), and in coordination with major political parties and civil society organisations. As a result, political parties and candidates contesting elections publicly declared their assets. These declarations were made available for public scrutiny via the NEC website and written about widely in the press. The electorate thus had an opportunity to make more informed decisions at the polls and to hold the winning candidate accountable in the future.


Having completed MAP pilot projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Georgia, Hungary, Romania, and South Africa, IFES continues to conduct MAP project activities in Bolivia, Indonesia, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, and Kosovo. IFES has also developed a set of lessons-learned and best practices for developing disclosure-oriented programs. The program claims to offer some relatively simple technical solutions that can, if well targeted and timed, effectively address weaknesses in a country’s system of disclosure. For more information about the project contact Jamie Crowley ( at the IFES Center for Transitional and Post-Conflict Governance.

在完成波斯尼亚、黑塞哥维那、立陶宛、乔治亚、匈牙利、罗马尼亚和南非进行的MAP试验项目后,国际选举制度基金会继续在玻利维亚、印度尼西亚、利比里亚、尼日利亚、秘鲁和科索沃等国家和地区实施MAP方案。IFES总结了一系列经验教训和成功实践,完善针对公职人员财产申报的方案。方案声称,如果有目标明确,时机适宜,提供一些相关的简单的技术解决方案将能有效解决一个国家公职人员财产申报的薄弱环节,有很好的针对性和时效性。有关项目更多的信息请与IFES过渡期和后冲突政府治理中心的Jamie Crowley 联系(

Papua New Guinea and Taiwan: Role of Ombudsmen in Monitoring Asset Declarations


Papua New Guinea and Taiwan are two countries where the ombudsman can review and monitor declarations of income and assets made by senior public officials. As an office independent of government, with the investigative capacities to examine the contents of financial declarations, the ombudsman’s office can avoid the necessity for establishing other independent mechanisms specifically for monitoring financial assets. Alternatively, when a large number of applications for information are likely to be disputed, a local government ombudsman’s office can be created to handle these requests. The Papua New Guinea model is widely seen as having had a positive impact. However, in Taiwan, in order to cope with the implementation of the asset disclosure law, the Control Yuan, an agency that monitors government, set up the Department of Asset Disclosure for Public Functionaries in August 1993.


Tanzania Governance Noticeboard


The Tanzania Governance Notice board collates and presents information that is useful for the strengthening of accountability, transparency and integrity in Tanzania. Key statistics, including budget data, audits and other governance related indicators, have been gathered in the TGN database. Though the noticeboard doesn’t explicitly collect information resulting from asset/wealth disclosures, it is interesting as an example of an IT platform sharing a range of financial information to enhance transparency and accountability.


UK: House of Commons Register of Interests

英国:下议院财产登记委员会The register was set up in May 1974 and is maintained by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards as laid out in the House of Commons Standing Order No. 150. The purpose of the register is to encourage transparency and accountability. It is “to provide information of any pecuniary interest or other material benefit which a Member receives which might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or her actions, speeches or votes in Parliament, or actions taken in the capacity of a Member of Parliament”3. The register is not intended to be an indicator of a member of parliament’s personal wealth, nor is registration an indication that a member is at fault.


Transparency is also promoted by the obligation on members to declare in parliamentary debates or proceedings and dealings with other members, ministers or public servants, all interests, whether registrable or not and including indirect, past and future interests which are relevant to the business in hand推动政府透明度的措施也包括公布议员议会辩论记录文件或议事录以及和其他议员、内阁大臣或者其他公务员打交道的情况,无论是否登记在册的所有财产以及与掌管事务有关的,包括间接的、过去以及将来的收益。

While the obligation to register outside employment, sponsorship, property and shareholdings is absolute, in respect of other gifts and benefits the requirement is only to register those interests which in any way arise out of membership of the House of Commons. In line with this principle, the interests of spouses, partners and dependent children are registrable only if they arise out of their relative’s position as a Member, or if they are held jointly with, or by, the member包括境外职业、赞助者、财产和股权等情况都必须登记,以任何方式获得的馈赠和收益也必须登记,这条规定仅限于由于下议院议员身份以各种方式获得馈赠和收益的情形。按照这个原则,配偶、合伙人和受抚养的子女由于与议员职位有关或者和议员共同分享财产而获得的利益也在登记范围内。

The interests which are to be registered are set out in the “Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members”, first agreed in July 1996 and revised in May 2002 and July 2005.


The financial thresholds over which an interest must be registered are mainly based, for convenience, on percentages of an MP’s salary: one per cent, or currently GBP 590, for employment, gifts and hospitality; ten per cent, or GBP 5,900, for rental income; and a hundred per cent, or GBP 59,000, for property and shares. The exception is sponsorship, where the threshold has been set at GBP 1,000 to match that set for registration with the Electoral Commission.


Continuing interests like employment or property remain on the register until the member asks for them to be removed. ‘One-off’ benefits like gifts, visits and donations appear with their date of registration and remain on the register for a year from that date and until they have appeared in one printed register诸如雇佣报酬、财产之类的持续收入要一直记录在案,直至议员要求删除,诸如馈赠、访问和捐赠之类的一次性收入在登记册上公布,并从登记之日起保留一年,直至公布在印好的登记册上。

Entries made in the register aim to give a clear description of the nature and scope of the interests declared. Subject to the rules provided, however, each member is responsible for the content and style of his or her own entry登记册上的申报项目旨在提供原始资料的清晰说明和财产申报的范围。无论如何,每个议员都要服从法律规定,必须为他或者她申报的内容和样式负责。

Interests are registered under the following ten categories:

1. Remunerated directorships

2. Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.

3. Clients

4. Sponsorship or financial or material support5. Gifts, benefits and hospitality (U.K.)6. Overseas visits7. Overseas benefits and gifts8. Land and property9. Registrable shareholdings10. Miscellaneous and unremunerated interests以下是必须登记的财产项目:











Under the authority of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, the Register is published by the government’s Stationery Office after the beginning of a parliament and thereafter approximately once a year. The published register and its regular updates are on the internet and can be accessed at:


It is the responsibility of members to notify changes in their registrable interests within four weeks of the change occurring; and between its annual printings the Register is updated every two months or so, both in a loose leaf version and on the Web. The loose leaf version is open for public inspection in the Committee Office of the House of Commons.


The House of Commons website also contains further information about the rules applying to Members, the procedure to be adopted in the event of complaints of failure to register and the rule against lobbying for reward or consideration


Other relevant UK government register of interest lists include:

  • Register of Interests of Members’ Secretaries and Research Assistants
  • Register of All-Party Groups
  • Register of Lords’ Interests





USA: Center for Responsive Politics – Personal Financial Disclosures Database


The Center for Responsive Politics is a non-partisan, non-profit research group based in Washington, D.C. that tracks money in politics, and its effect on elections and public policy. The Center conducts computer-based research on campaign finance issues for the news media, academics, activists, and the public at large. The Center’s work is aimed at creating a more educated voter, an involved citizenry, and a more responsive government.


The Center has devised an innovative way of communicating information via the internet on the assets of political representatives – a searchable, online database that can be sorted by various categories. By May 15 of each year, US Congress members and top officials in the executive branch must file forms covering the preceding calendar year that list their assets and liabilities, their income (excluding their government salaries,), asset transactions and gifts they received. They need not list property unless it produces income (so their primary residence is generally not listed), but they must include the source of their spouse’s income.


It is difficult to gauge what a lawmaker is worth based on what they file, however, because the disclosure forms do not require exact values. Instead, the lawmaker reports the range of value into which an asset, for example, falls. As the values increase, the ranges get broader. To address this, the Center added together the lawmakers’ range of assets and then subtracted their range of liabilities to establish their net worth. Valuation of very large assets is limited by the top range being over USD 50 million. When further research definitively reveals a more accurate figure, it is then used in place of the range.