The Directorate of Public Officers Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests has disclosed that it will be seeking more support from development partners so optimally undertake its duties.
The directorate submitted a total budget estimate of K1.01 billion to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development for the 2017/18 financial year but Treasury appropriated only K736.34 million.
When he appeared before a cluster of three committees of Parliament prior to the passing of the budget to lobby the legislators for an allocation increase to his office, assets director Christopher Tukula said the directorate will still require more uninterrupted budget and monthly funding allocation for its full establishment and smooth operation.
In an interview on Wednesday, Tukula said even though there has been an increase from last financial year’s budget, there still are gaps where different partners can come in to support his office.
He indicated that the directorate’s interest is in technical support like capacity building in technical expertise and information management systems.
“Most prospective partners that we have ever approached wanted to link their support to our strategic plan rather than make ad hoc support. We are holding our strategic plan next December. It will act as a roadmap for the next five years and it will be easy for partners to support its components by looking at the whole plan,” said Tukula.
He added: “So far, we have benefitted from support from the European Union (EU)] and from the Egyptian Government in the areas of capacity building which is a priority area for a newly established institution.”
According to Tukula, the directorate’s assets verification staff have relatively low technical capacity on verifying complex declared information “since most of them have not been trained in this new field of governance”.
On the other hand, the assets director said the verification of declarations will be the biggest beneficiary of the directorate’s budget which has been increased by 63 percent from last year’s allocation of K492.98 million.
He pointed out that another issue which is straining the directorate’s budget is the fact that some declared assets, liabilities and business interests are in hard-to-reach locations.
“This, therefore, requires verification personnel to straddle across many geographical locations, thereby rendering the exercise time-consuming and has a huge bearing on resources in form of transport and subsistence for staff,” Tukula said.
In a separate interview, Secretary to Treasury (ST) Ben Botolo said there is nothing wrong with any government agency including the assets directorate benefiting from support from different partners.
Botolo, however, indicated that in terms of financial support, the assets directorate can only benefit if the funds are channeled through Treasury since they are supposed to be reflected in the directorate’s vote.
“There are different forms of support which development partners offer to us and the assets directorate can benefit from that like in the form of capacity building. The director can identify the staff that should benefit from the support,” Botolo said.
The Directorate of Public Officers Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests was established by an Act of Parliament of 2013 to check illicit accumulation of wealth by listed public officers who include presidents, Cabinet ministers and members of Parliament (MPs).