The Office of the Director of Assets Declarations has embarked on a compliance drive, writing controlling officers to submit lists of officials who were expected to declare their assets as the verification exercise is due to start next month.
Failure to declare assets within the prescribed time attracts a dismissal from office while public officers who submit inaccurate or false information would be taken to court and disqualified from holding any public office for seven years, according to Section 21 of the Declaration of Assets Act.
Assets Declaration director Christopher Tukula confirmed on Wednesday that his office has since December 2014 received 10 600 declarations, but the number will keep increasing as government continues to make public appointments eligible to declare their assets.
He said: “We are compiling a compliance list which we will use to check against during the verification exercise. It is easy to know if members of Parliament [MPs] or the Cabinet have complied.”
The controlling officers have been asked to submit a roster of their personnel to the office of the Declaration of Assets, but the office is also considering using the payroll of ministries and institutions to check compliance.
In the meantime, Treasury has released K22 million to start the process of verifying declared assets which include plots, houses and bank accounts.
Tukula said the verification exercise has three parameters which include completeness and correctness of the form which public officers submitted before embarking on checking the authenticity of the declared assets and checking sources of income.
Parliament approved K299 million for the office, of which K42 million will go towards the verification exercise.
With little funding, Tukula said his office has developed a risk profile and will concentrate on those declarations which have raised red flags.
Among the declarations which have received scrutiny include those of the incumbent President Peter Mutharika and his predecessor Joyce Banda.