WHILE only ten days remain before the deadline for submission of property declaration forms expires, over 7,000 public leaders are likely to face legal action, if they will not submit their forms to the Ethics Secretariat in time.
By Friday, only 1,751 leaders had submitted their forms, while 7,423 had not done so, despite receiving the forms more than two months ago. The Ethics Secretary in-charge of Public Service Leaders, Mr Tixon Nzunda, told reporters in Dar es Salaam that his office remains open for the leaders to submit their forms before the deadline expires.
"After the deadline, we will forward the matter to the Ethics Tribunal for further action. The same may be forwarded to the President, if need be," he said. According to Mr Nzunda, media reports will serve as a last reminder to the leaders, adding that by December last year, the exercise had been concluded 96 per cent.
He wondered why public leaders have not responded in time, saying in some cases, the forms were sent by dispatch to the respective people, and can even be accessed online. "I wish to remind public leaders that the forms must be signed and returned promptly otherwise one risks being accused of flouting leadership ethics.
In good governance, discipline and accountability are inseparable," he said. He also stressed that good leadership means leading the way. Last year, the Secretariat Commissioner Judge (rtd) Salome Kaganda called upon the government to change the status of the committee into a full commission, saying it must have mandate to task public leaders who fail to comply with the Public Leaders Code of Ethics Act of 2005.
She said public leaders would be forced to comply with the commission's Act if only the Ethics Tribunal could charge them in a court of law. Some public leaders fail to comply with the Act because the Ethics Tribunal only issues warning, no harsh measures, she said.