The newly-appointed Director of Public Officers’ Declarations Christopher Tukula was on Friday 17th October, 2014, arrested by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) .
The corruption-busting body’s spokesperson Egrita Ndala said in a statement that Tukula was arrested for allegedly interfering with investigations the on-going ‘cashgate’ cases.
“The Bureau had established that Mr. Tukula was interfering with potential witnesses by causing them to give false information to the Bureau,” she said.
Ndala said the bureau had earlier obtained a warrant of arrest for Tukula but the Assets Director – through his lawyer Ralph Kasambara – obtained an injunction which has since been discharged by the High Court in Mzuzu.
“He will be taken to court after the bureau has recorded a caution statement from him,” she said.
Tukula’s arrest puts in limbo the future of the newly-established office of the Director of Assets Declaration which was received with fanfare. His office was established to ensure that public officers, including the President, the Vice President, members of Parliament and senior public officers, declare their assets to check corruption.
Being the first ever Assets Declaration Director, Tukula was supposed to establish the office, recruit staff and start receiving the declared assets for the public to scrutinise on demand.
President Mutharika, his deputy Saulos Chilima, cabinet minister and MPs were supposed to declare their assets within 90 days (three months) upon election or appointment. But since there was no director the deadline has long passed. Although Mutharika and Chilima have said they have already declared their assets, the public has no way of inspecting the declared assets since effectively there is no director.
The idea behind the declaration of assets by elected or appointed officers is to check whether whatever assets they acquire while in office is commensurate to the perks of their offices.-Pana