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Mvalo calls for strong legal frameworks against corruption

By Priscilla Phiri

Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo says there is need for strong legal framework in the fight against corruption and abuse of office in the country.

Mvalo said this on Wednesday in Lilongwe during a National Validation workshop organised by Law Commission with an aim to review the Public Officers (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Act.

Speaking at the workshop, Mvalo said declaration of assets of public officers has been utilised as a tool to curb corruption in the country.

“Declaration of assets of public officers has a bearing of honesty, accountability, responsibility, fairness, transparency, rule of law, professionalism and impartiality.

“It is the assets declaration regime that puts in check public officers who may be tempted to illegally amass wealth by virtue of their office and it is for this reason that the law is required to take its effect,” he explained.

He further called out on lack of integrity amongst public officers where they register properties acquired through abuse of public resources in other people’s names.

“There is also blatant theft of public resources where no corruption is involved but someone in a public office takes and uses public resources as his or her own.

“That is why a strong legal framework is crucial for the asset declaration regime and, as such, government through Law Commission coordinated itself to improve the efficiency of the public service by developing a comprehensive legal framework of the regime that confirms to the constitution,” he said.

Mvalo-We need strong legal framework

Commenting on the same, Deputy Chairperson for Special Law Commission on the Review of the Act, Reyneck Matemba, said that the current Act has gaps, a situation which poses challenges in its implementation.

“There were gaps identified by the implementation of the Act such that it resulted to challenges on the part of the office when implementing the law.

“A need arose to revise the Act and, as Special Law Commission, we have been doing the work and now drawing closer to the process,” Matemba said.

He mentioned that the new law will address issues to do with the recruitment of the positions of the Director and Deputy Director of the office, which he says was not properly clarified in the law.

“There are also no strong sanctions in the Act which is one thing that we have emphasised and the sanctions are far reaching as they will target government heads of ministries, departments and agencies among, other issues,” he explained.

Currently, the Law Commission has proposed for an online declaration which will help facilitate assets, liabilities and business interests.

The Public Officers (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Act was enacted in 2013 and came into force on 1st July, 2014 with an aim to make provision for the declaration of assets, liabilities and business interests by certain public officers and for connected matter.

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