Gaborone - Presidential Affairs Minister Nonofo Molefhi has proposed a bill which will make it compulsory for Members of Parliament and other high profile public servants to declare assets and properties at their disposal.
Molefhi said the bill lays down laws that aim to regulate the manners in which declarations are to be made and the measures to be taken against non-compliance to the new regulations.
According to Molefhi, the bill is also aimed at rooting out corruption in the country. The objective of the bill is to provide certain category of persons to make declaration of their assets and liabilities and those of their dependent children.
The bill provides for the submissions declarations to the director-general, Speaker of the National Assembly, permanent secretary to the president, permanent secretaries and such other officers as may be prescribed.
The bill further makes provisions for submission of all declarations to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) for safety custody of all declarations. The bill also provides for offences, penalties and the power to make regulations.
The proposed bill would require government officials and heads of parastatals to declare their assets and liabilities upon assuming office in order to combat corruption.
In his inaugural speech in April 2018, President Mokgweetsi Masisi promised the nation to bring-forth the law before the end of last year. But that did not happen. At the time Masisi said, “I will do my utmost to continually grow confidence in and of governance through a combination of new legislation, ethical codes and demonstrable and efficacious behaviours.”
“To this end, expect specific legislation on declaration of assets and liabilities soon.”
Masisi said at the time the bill was also aimed at rooting out corruption. The President later told the 15th National Business Conference that the proposed law would target politicians and senior public officials.
He said it was evident that some in the private sector also facilitated corruption by corrupting public officers. He said the law would improve investor confidence and enhance transparency and accountability.
Reports indicate that a number of countries have adopted ethics and anti-corruption laws that require public officials to declare their assets and income as well as the assets and income of their spouses and dependent children.
Masisi, under his new administration, has vowed to introduce such a law to fight corruption, which is a threat to good governance, democratic processes and fair business competition. According to Masisi, to fight corruption, there must be strong political will.