The Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament says the suspension of director of Public Officers Declaration Christopher Tukula is faulty because the decision is in conflict with the Constitution.
Committee chairperson Lingson Belekanyama, reacting to news of the interdiction, said the suspension cannot be effected and that Tukula cannot vacate office.
Said Belekanyama: “We are not saying he [Tukula] cannot be removed from office, please get that right. The issue here is that PAC only found out about his interdiction in the newspapers. Now, as an appointing body, we [PAC] needed to know about his pending interdiction so that we discuss and give our position.”
He said despite the Constitution giving the President powers to remove appointees, such decisions are still subject to the committee.
Under section 7 of the Public Officers (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Act, the appointment of the director can only be made by PAC through a competitive process involving public advertisement and interviews. Under section 8 (1) of the same law, the director may only be removed by PAC.
But under section 8 (2), the President may, where it is considered desirable in the public interest to do so and with the confirmation by PAC, suspend the director pending investigations to determine whether the director may be removed by PAC.
Said Belekanyama: “Tukula, as it stands now, cannot leave office until PAC meets and makes a decision to this effect. Otherwise, the decision is abnormal. We [PAC] employed him, why should we not be consulted on his removal?”
The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), in The Nation edition of yesterday, said Tukula had been interdicted on half pay with effect from December 17 2014, six months after his appointment to the position.
Confirming Tukula’s interdiction, Chief Secretary to the Government George Mkondiwa said in an interview it followed the director’s arrest by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on October 17 2014.
But Tukula, who was accused of interferring with investigations surrounding Cashgate cases, but is currently on bail, on Sunday denied knowledge of his suspension, saying he was yet to see communication to that effect.