JB says critics pushing assets issue to divert attention: ‘I respect rule of law not rule of opinion’

Malawi President Joyce Banda has said her government’s detractors are pushing the issues of Assets Declaration “to divert attention”, saying she has  directed the Attorney General to begin the process of addressing the shortfalls in the Asset Declaration Act.

Banda said she already declared her assets and deposited with Parliament early this year.

Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has asked Banda to order Clerk of Parliament to publicise her declaration for the sake of transparency and accountability. The call has been backed other civil society organisations.

But President Banda is of the view that the Asset Declaration issue is being influenced by Government detractors to divert public attention and debate away from the revelations that late president Bingu wa Mutharika had amassed wealth valued at K61 billion at the time of his death in 2012.

President Banda, according to a statement issued by her press secretary Steve Nhlane, the detractors want to divert attentionMK61 billion scandal “which has deprived poor Malawians of medicines, classrooms, notebooks and roads.”

President Joyce Banda : I declared my assets

President Joyce Banda :Respects rule of law not rule of opinion

“It is ironic that some members of society would divert public attention away from demanding transparency and accountability on how the MK61 billion was acquired to focusing the current leadership,” said the statement.

The religious grouping asked President Banda to let members of the public verify the asset declaration she deposited with Parliament so as “to remove the mist hovering over the issue.”

But the First Citizen observed that it was important to govern by rule of law which is the position of the Constitution other than by other dictates.

At present, the requirement of the law on assets declaration has been met, the President noted.

She further observed that the law is silent on what happens when officials leave office, pointing out that when former Presidents Bakili Muluzi and the late Bingu was Mutharika left office, there was no demand on them to declare what has been acquired while in office and how.

Furthermore, the public including PAC is focusing only on the President but leaving out other officials including Ministers.

State House press secretary Steve Nhlane said President Banda is of the view that a wider group of public officers should be added to the list including Principal Secretaries, Chief Executive Officers of Parastatals.

He said President Banda advised for the need to review the law to include the issues which are being raised in the public domain.

President Banda assured PAC that she is committed to “the rule of law other than rule of opinions.”

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