Has the Tonse Alliance Cabinet Declared their Assets?

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When Joyce Banda became president of Malawi, following the death of Bingu Wa Mutharika in 2012, a lot of noise was made by some Malawians regarding Banda’s declaring her assets.

Similarly, when Peter Mutharika was elected President in 2014, Malawians demanded that he declare his assets to the Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations (ODPOD).

So then, now that we have a new government led by MCP and UTM in place, have the Ministers and other officials in the Tonse Alliance Government all declared their assets? And if not, when will they do so?

It’s important that this question is asked, because as President, Lazarus Chakwera said this governement’s ethos includes servant leadership. So it is only right and proper that all members of his cabinet, all MPs and other officials declare their assets. If not for anything else, then at least to inspire confidence and trust from Malawians

Also, who is monitoring and verifying these declarations, to ensure that they are accurate and not over-estimated? Maybe this job shouldn’t be entrusted entirely to ODPOD?

I think, in the interests of promoting public confidence in the new government, and in order to abide by the stipulations of Malawi’s constitution, and in the interests of protecting the country’s resources – so that we do not go back to the failures of the past, it is of the utmost importance that all public officials disclose and declare their assets.

Malawians need to know what assets public officials own, not only in Malawi, but also abroad. What interests including property do they own in foreign countries, and what is the value of those interests. How long have they had them and suchlike?

It is up to Malawians to demand that this is done, and to ensure that the process is honest and transparent. Otherwise you risk the failures of the past where people connected to the presidency or people with links to public officials began to suddenly accumulate so much unexplained wealth, and there was few ways of knowing or verifying whether such was acquired legitimately or not.

A Public Affairs Committee (PAC) where government ministers are booed

The government in Malawi may have sunk to a new low. There was a Public Affairs Committee (PAC) last week where two ministers representing the government of Malawi, Fahad Assani and Maxwell Mkwezalamba were booed by attendees, which included members of CSO organisations.

The conference was organised following the government’s failure to provide Malawians with convincing answers regarding the Cashgate scandal, and the forensic report.

Among the highlights / questions posed in the conference were:

  • Demands as to why the police have not arrested former budget director Paul Mphwiyo, when he is heavily implicated, and whether he was being protected?
  • Why government had not impounded the property of businessman, Oswald Lutepo – who is implicated in the cashgate scandal?
  • Why law enforcers have not impounded 22 vehicles which Lutepo donated to the ruling People’s Party, when there is evidence that the money he used to acquire those vehicles was looted at Capital Hill ?
  • When cashgate cases will be concluded, and those guilty prosecuted?
  • Why the government could not account for, or was failing to clearly explain where the proceeds from the presidential jet sale had gone. President Joyce Banda had promised to sell the jet which Bingu wa Mutharika had bought, and the government of Malawi had disclosed that the jet had been sold to Bohnox enterprises, an arms dealer. Yet there was no evidence of transfer of funds, and on more than one occasion the president was seen using the same jet, to the surprise of many Malawians.

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