Public officers who are found guilty of corruption under the amended Criminal Offences law could face up to 25 years in jail.

Section 260 of the memorandum that accompanied the bill stipulates that a public officer who fails a set of accountability requirements could be jailed between 12 to 25 years.

The amended law, which was passed last week, is awaiting presidential assent to become effective.

The new law also amends the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) to categorise the offence of corruption as a felony and provide a stiff penalty for a person who commits the offence of corruption and other related offences.

It provides generally for the rules of punishment for offences described as a first degree felony, second degree felony and a misdemeanor. A distinct category of offences under the new law is the proposal for a term of imprisonment not exceeding twenty-five years for corruption which was categorised as misdemeanors under the old law.

The amended law reiterates existing offences under various provisions of the previous law but substitutes the relevant provisions by providing specifically for stiffer penalties to bring them within the category of a first-degree or second-degree felony.

The amending provisions also stipulate the minimum and maximum thresholds. The thresholds serve as a yardstick to guide judges in the determination of the term of imprisonment to impose.

Other amendments comprise false declaration for office or voting, false certificate by public officer, destruction of document by a public officer, deceiving a public officer, accepting or giving bribe to influence a public officer or juror, corrupt promise by judicial officer or juror, corrupt selection of juror and corruption, intimidation and personation in respect of election.

Corruption, undoubtedly, constraints the economic growth of a country as it reduces revenue to the state and distorts economic development by rewarding the dishonest rather than the most competent, the report states.

Source:myashhfmonline.com

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