The request of files by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has requested files from the Office of the Director of Public Assets Declarations for public officers suspected of indulging in corruption has dominated the Malawi daily newspapers on Monday.
“ACB probing public officers through assets files,” was the headline in the Nation, which quoted Assets Director Chris Tukula disclosed that ACB had sought some public officers’ declarations “probably to clear or incriminate them.”
Tukula, according to the paper, met Parliament’s Monitoring Committee which has oversight to discuss the role of the committee under the new law, and said the graft-busting body has been coming to his offices “ looking for information. “
The daily quoted him saying: “We have over 10 000 declarations. Under the law, we are also supposed to refer assets to investigating agencies, but we are yet to do so because we are yet to reach that stage.”
Among others, the assets law seeks to fight corruption and unlawful accumulation of public wealth by listed public officers who include the President, his deputy, cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs).
“Anti-Corruption Bureau courts Assets Director,” reported flagship The Daily Times, quoting ACB Senior Public Relations Officer Egrita Ndala as saying she did not readily have any information regarding whether investigators at the graft-busting body had been to the assets directorate.
“But, that being a public office with vital information of public officers, if people have declared their assets and we have interest in their assets, we will surely seek the information. Even when the [Assets] Bill was being passed, we indicated that it would benefit us as well,” that was all Ndala could say.
However, Tukula, whose office was formed to help fight corruption in the public sector, told The Nation that his body has memorandum of understandings (MoU) with Reserve Bank of Malawi, Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services, Financial Intelligence Unit and others on interagency collaboration.
He said investigation agencies can assess the assets database to detect wrongful self enrichment.
Tukula did not disclose the names of the public officers whose declarations the graft-busting body was interested in.
All Cabinet ministers and members of Parliament (MPs) have declared their assets, according to Tukula who confirmed that his annual reports will see Parliament accessing the files.
According to Henry Chingaipe, a consultant who drilled the lawmakers on the operations of the law, Tukula’s assets office is an agent of Parliament and “exercises its powers as oversight on behalf of Parliament. By and large, the Executive is on the receiving end.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :