Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda continue to make headlines for wrong reasons. He is the only minister yet to update his declared assets and liabilities to the Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations.
Under the law, public officers are supposed to update records of their assets and liabilities each financial year. The period for making the updates is between July 1 and 31.
But Chaponda, a lawyer by training, has not complied to the law on assets by not sending the updated details.
Failure to declare assets within the prescribed period attracts dismissal from office upon recommendation of the Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations while public officers who submit inaccurate or false information face conviction and disqualification from holding any public office for seven years, according to Section 21 of the Declaration of Assets Act.
Section 18 (1) of the Act states: “A listed public officer who, without reasonable cause, fails to submit the required declaration within the time determined by this Act shall, subject to the Constitution and any other written law, be liable to be dismissed from the public office.”
Chaponda is said to have accumulated a lot of unprecedented wealth since he has been in cabinet.
President Peter Mutharika and Vice-President Saulos Chilima and members of Parliament (MPs), according to director of Public Officers Declaration Christopher Tukula, have updated their records.
Malawi introduced the assets declaration law among public officers to check against abuse of office and accumulation of wealth through dubious means.