11 ministers declare assets

11 ministers declare assets

MASERU – ONLY 11 out of the 35 cabinet ministers have filed forms at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to declare their assets and interests. The forms started coming to the DCEO after a three-day high level induction retreat held at Ha-Mohale in August this year.
At that retreat Prime Minister Thomas Thabane touted the declaration as a way to fight corruption.

Thabane said it was time for the government to show that it is committed to doing things differently.
But it would seem that the message hasn’t triggered the other 24 ministers into action.
DCEO spokeswoman ’Matlhokomelo Senoko could not mention ministers who have declared their assets because of the anti-corruption unit’s confidentiality policy.

Senoko said the DCEO is still waiting for more ministers to declare their assets.
But she mentioned that it is not mandatory for the ministers to declare their property.
She said some forms were sent back to the ministers for verification.

“There is no deadline set for the ministers to declare their assets,” Senoko said.

She said they are expecting deputy ministers to follow in the footsteps of the ministers shortly.
According to the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act a public officer “shall be required to make a full declaration of all assets belonging to him or her prior to his or her assumption of office”.
The declaration “shall always be expected to remain commensurate to his or her overall earnings and interests, in accordance with a form to be prescribed by the Minister” responsible for the DCEO.

The law was passed in 2006 but has never been implemented.
In his budget speech in August Finance Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro said he expected MPs to have declared their assets by September this year.
“I hope that this Honourable House will file their declarations before the end of September, 2017,” he said.
Since 2006 subsequent governments have only promised to make the public officials comply but never got to do it.
In 2003 Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) leader, Lekhetho Rakuoane, started calling on senior officials to declare their assets but he was largely ignored.

The law that compels officials to declare their assets was passed in 2006 but there has been little or no political will to enforce it.
In 2007 Rakuoane tried to push for the implementation of the law but the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD)-led government dithered.
As Deputy Speaker during the All Basotho Convention (ABC)-led government Rakuoane tried again to push for officials to declare their assets but nothing happened.

Since then Rakuoane has been complaining that nothing had been done to push MPs to declare their assets.
The first declarations were supposed to be on June 15, 2007.
Public officers who are required by law to declare their assets according to the gazette include the prime minister and all government ministers, senior government officials, as well as High Court judges and other judicial officers.

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