Malawi’s Director of Public Officers’ Declaration, Christopher Tukula has said his office require about K55 million to complete the initial verification of all declared assets.
The declarations made will be treated as public information and accessible to the general public upon application to the Director, according to Tukula.
Speaking during the official launch of the public access to declaration Monday, Tukula indicated that the whole initial verification expected to end June this year.
He said the Directorate is compiling a database upon which a public access platform will be developed in phases.
Tukula also said public access to declaration is a legally sanctioned and internationally recognized practice which is widely accepted as a reasonable, necessary and justifiable public interest derogation of private interest in modern democratic governance.
“The first phase of the platform will be open to the public with effect from Monday, March 2 2015 and it will initially cover officers listed under Part A of the first schedule to the Act (Political and Elected Officials),” said Tukula.
To access the declarations, according to the Act, members of the general public will be required to fill out an application form detailing personal particulars and contacts details; particulars of the officer whose declarations the applicant would like to access; specific details of the information the applicant would like to access from the officer’s declarations; and specific reasons for seeking to access the information, among other requirements.
“Where the Director refuses access to declarations, he shall, within 14 days from receipt of the application, notify the requesting party in writing stating grounds for his refusal,” said Tukula.
He also warned that any person who, upon accessing declarations submitted by a listed public officer, misuses or abuses the information shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine of K500,000 and two-year imprisonment, without prejudice to any other legal remedy available to the injured person.
Tukula also assured the general public and all listed public officers that every effort would be made by the Directorate as a regulator of the process to uphold the ideals and objectives of the Act and to discharge its duties in a professional, fair and impartial manner.
He said the right to privacy and personal security of public officers will be one of the key considerations in granting or refusing approval for public access.
“This practice, apart from enhancing the effectiveness of an asset declaration scheme, is also aimed at enlisting citizen, media and civil society participation in the oversight and scrutiny of governance and its officials. In turn, this promotes transparency and accountability and fosters public confidence in the integrity of the public service,” said Tukula.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :