Malawi’s Director of Public Officers’ Declaration, Christopher Tukula has said they still compiling public officers’ declarations of assets and that they may be accessible to the general public upon application to the director.
According to Tukula, the Directorate is compiling a database upon which a public access platform will be developed in phases.
The Directorate had ordered public officers including President Peter Mutharika and all Cabinet Ministers to declare their assets by December 31 2014.
“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.
These elected officials are the President and his Vice, Speaker and Deputy Speakers of the National Assembly, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, Leader and Treasurers political parties represented in Parliament, Mayor and Councillors of City Councils, and Councillors of District and Town Councils.
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 assures 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.