The Office of the Assets and Liabilities Declarations says it will accept forms from some listed public officers who, due to some logistical challenges, failed to comply with the December 31 2014 deadline.
Director of Public Officers’ Assets and Liabilities Declarations Christopher Tukula said in an interview this week that his office reached the decision after receiving requests from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), the Ministry of Agriculture, the Accountant General’s office and the Malawi Police Service, among others, asking for waivers for some of their officers who were unable to access the declaration forms on time either because they were abroad or working outside their duty stations.
Tukula said the waiver does not constitute an extension of the deadline.
“It’s not an extension as such; so the dates will vary with individual cases. These [officers] will declare their assets immediately they get back in office or once the logistical challenges are sorted out,” he said.
Tukula said some officers from the Accountant General’s office and a few parastatals and government departments complained through their controlling officers that they had not yet received the declaration forms.
“The idea is that all officers are given a fair opportunity to comply [with the law] and if someone was away from their base on duty during the run-up to the deadline, you cannot say they had the same chance as everybody else. So we will assist them to comply once they get back to their base or once they get the forms almost instantly,” he said.
“We are consulting with the concerned controlling officers on which exact officers qualify for this tailor-made arrangement,” he said
“Under the [Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests] Act, it’s only officers who have no good cause for defaulting who will be taken to task,” said Tukula.
Meanwhile, he said his office does not have figures of how many listed officer have complied with the law as “his office is busy packing the documents.”
According to the Act, the listed public officers who, without reasonable cause, fail to submit the required declaration within the law shall be liable to dismissal from the public office.
It further says that a listed public officer who, upon filing a declaration which he or she knows or believes to be inaccurate or misleading, or does not believe to be true, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of K500 000 and imprisonment for two years and shall be dismissed from the public office.