DELAYS AS PUBLIC OFFICERS ARE GIVEN AN EXTRA 3 MONTHS TO DECLARE THEIR ASSETS

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Public offices holders have been given up to December 31, to declare their assets to the Directorate of Assets Declaration.

Assets Director Christopher Tukula said the extension has been made considering that it has taken the office time for it to start operating after there were some funding issues.

The Assets Declarations Act gives public officers 90 days to declare their assets after the day of appointment.

Apart from President Peter Mutharika and Vice President Saulos Chilima who are said to have made their declarations the Assets Director said he currently does not have the information about who has declared or not since by then they had not started working.

“The rest of the information is not yet known as we are in the process of setting up our office. We are giving the listed public officers up to 31st December 2014,” Tukula said.

Meanwhile, the directorate finally has office space from where all its formal operations are expected to be conducted.

This follows last week’s announcement by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, that government had set aside K150 million for the office to start its operations.

Tukula said currently, his office is moving furniture to the new premises, apart from working on security fixtures for safe keeping of the declarations.

He also disclosed that he is expected to meet Members of Parliament today morning where he will brief the legislators on what he expects from them regarding their declarations.

“We want to take advantage of the current Parliament meeting so that we can brief the legislators before parliament rises this week. Within the week, we will also issue public notices regarding the period within which other officers have to declare their assets,” said Tukula.

He added that after meeting the legislators, he will also meet officials at some ‘big institutions’ including the Police, the Army, the Road Traffic, the Malawi Revenue Authority and the Department of Immigration, among others.

According to Tukula, his office is expected to be fully functional by Monday next week.

Public Appointments Committee (Pac) Chairperson, Lingson Belekanyama hailed the government for allocating the amount which is almost twice what was initially asked for.

“The identification of the office space means that what remains is the recruitment of the assets director’s support staff. As Pac, our terms of references end on the recruitment of the director and his deputy.

He added: “As a start, we (Pac) are thankful that such an amount has been set aside for the office. We initially asked for K69 million and the K150 million is impressive.”

He, however, underscored that the fact that the allocation has finally been provided does not necessarily imply that the money is enough.

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