By Professor Matodzi
Harare, September 26, 2012 – A local anti-corruption lobby body has petitioned Zimbabwe’s Parliament seeking to compel legislators to publicly declare their assets in a fresh drive to tackle corruption by public officials.
The Coalition Against Corruption (CAC) on Thursday delivered a petition to the office of the new Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda requesting that the legislative assembly to introduce and adopt a motion compelling legislators to declare their assets in a bid to prevent or combat corruption.
CAC said the move is designed to ensure public officials are accountable, since they are entrusted with public funds.
“CAC believes that such a move will enhance transparency amongst legislators and curtail them from abusing funds. President Robert Mugabe hinted during the official opening of the 1st session of the 8th Parliament those previous legislators from the last Parliament abused Constituency Development Funds hence such an early move will deter any further abuse of public funds by the new legislators,” reads part of the petition.
Some countries around the world have introduced systems of asset declaration for public officials in order to prevent or combat corruption. Many believe that asset declarations can be a powerful tool in this regard. However, the impact of such systems on actual levels of corruption is not well known.
The main aims of asset declarations is targeted at increasing transparency and the trust of citizens in public administration, by disclosing information about assets of politicians and civil servants that shows they have nothing to hide. It also seeks monitor wealth variations of individual politicians and civil servants, in order to dissuade them from misconduct and protect them from false accusations, and to help clarify the full scope of illicit enrichment or other illegal activity by providing additional evidence.