Andile Tshuma Bulawayo Bureau
CABINET Ministers, Members of the National Assembly and Senators have been ordered to declare their assets by end of day tomorrow. In an interview, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, said legislators were expected to submit their declarations for purposes of transparency and accountability.
“As enshrined in Section 198 of the Constitution, holders of public office are expected to make regular declarations of assets. Legislators are expected to declare all their assets within 30 days of being appointed and sworn into office. Declarations forms are expected to be submitted by end of day this Friday 5 October, 2018,” said the Minister.
He said the process was in line with the Constitution which has a provision for regular declaration of assets by legislators.
Each MP was, upon taking oath, given a declaration form which they are expected to hand in on Friday.
“Section 198 of the Constitution which provides for regular disclosure of assets and Standing orders 49 and 48 of the National Assembly and Senate state that every member shall and not may, register all his or her financial interests in a book to be maintained under the direction of the Speaker and president of the Senate. Such registration shall be in a manner specified in the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament. To satisfy those requirements, Parliament came up with the forms of declaration of assets. Legislators are expected to submit their declaration forms within 30 days after taking oath,” said Minister Ziyambi.
He said the process was good as it sought to promote transparency and accountability while ensuring public trust in holders of public office.
Minister Ziyambi said the move was meant to address speculation on how certain bearers of public office amass wealth.
“This is good in two ways. Where a member is elected into Parliament and all of a sudden they acquire wealth that is unexplained, it is easy to go back to the declaration form and say where did you get this wealth. And some may be wrongly accused that they amassed a lot of wealth yet when they became Members of Parliament they already had those assets.
“So this is good in two ways, for the members as well as the generality of the public. It acts as a deterrent for suddenly increasing your wealth yet you declared moderate wealth it will be an indication that something has happened,” he said.
Minister Ziyambi said the move was standard practice and in line with best practices.
“And those that already have wealth, they may be wrongly accused. The public may speculate that you got into Parliament and became rich. However, it will be easy in Parliament to say that no this is what this person declared when he assumed office. So this is a way to control Members of Parliament and also to protect them. So everyone, Minister, MP, Senator, are all expected to declare.
“It is now standard practice in line with corporate governance that we as Cabinet Ministers declare our assets. We are declaring simultaneously with Parliamentarians and Senators,” he said.