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Csat wants action on assets law breakers

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CHITSULO — We are asking for more time

Public finance-minded organisation, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency (Csat), has asked Parliament to name and shame lawmakers and other public officers who have not complied with the assets declaration law.

The law requires that listed public officers declare or update their assets, liabilities and business interests by July every year.

But reports indicate 35 Members of Parliament (MPs) and several other listed public officers failed to declare their assets by the set date.

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Csat Executive Director Willy Kambwandira said failure to release the names will undermine principles and transparency which the government is championing.

Kambwandira has warned that failure by public officers to declare their assets has the potential of providing a fertile ground for corruption and abuse of public resources.

In a demand letter to Parliament’s committee on appointments and monitoring, which is, in essence, the Public Appointments Committee (Pac), Kambwandira wondered why oversight institutions are not taking action against officers who are defying the assets law.

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Csat also wants all the defiant officers to be arrested and prosecuted as a lesson to others.

“If this is not happening, we will take legal action against the said public officers because we have seen that the Assets Declaration Directorate is somehow not interested in following legal provisions of dealing with such officers,” Kambwandira said.

But Pac chairperson Joyce Chitsulo has urged the public to be patient and wait for the committee to finish the process of verifying the names of the ‘defiant’ officers.

“We have been meeting in person all the 95 individuals. What we have discovered is that some of the people who are on the list submitted their assets declaration forms but they were not recorded by the assets directorate,” Chitsulo said.

She also disclosed that some names on the default list are of individuals who are no longer MPs or councillors.

According to the Pac chairperson, who acknowledged receiving the letter from Csat, a report on the process will be ready by the 11th of next month.

“We are asking for more time to conclude our enquiries before we can release our findings. Above all, the letter has been presented to the Clerk of Parliament to give us direction,” Chitsulo said.

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