25 January 2013

Mozambique: Central Public Ethics Commission Takes Office

Maputo — The chairperson of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Veronica Macamo, on Thursday swore into office the nine members of the Central Public Ethics Commission, which will oversee implementation of the Law on Public Probity, which came into effect in mid-November.

The Commission is formed by three members appointed by the government, three elected by the Assembly, and three chosen by judicial bodies (the Higher Councils of the Judicial Magistracy, of the Administrative Magistracy and of the Public Prosecutor’s Office).

The three government appointees are Adriano Senvano, the deputy national director of geology, Elsa Alfaia, a university lecturer and a jurist working at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Welfare, and Salomao Mario, who is a judge.

For the Assembly of the Republic, the majority Frelimo Party appointed Jamisse Taimo, a Methodist pastor and former chairperson of the National Elections Commission (CNE), and Carlos Machili, former Vice-Chancellor of the Pedagogic University, and Chairperson of the National Atomic Energy Institute. The main opposition party, Renamo, appointed Joaquim Magibire, a teacher of mathematics and physics.

The three appointees from the legal bodies are a former attorney-general, Sinai Nhatitima, a former head of the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC), Rafael Sebastiao, and David Sibambo, a judge on the Administrative Tribunal.

With the Commission members sworn in, the basic conditions now exist to implement the Law on Public Probity, which is intended to avoid conflicts of interests in the public administration, and to ensure impartiality, morality and transparency in the management of state property.

Speaking at the ceremony, Macamo declared that that creation of the Central Public Ethics Commission marks an effort by the Mozambican state to make the public administration more credible, by establishing mechanisms that can prevent and solve conflicts of interest.

She added that the professional experience, and the spirit of commitment and responsibility of the commission members allows a sense of optimism about the implementation of the new law,

She said the members of the Ethics Commission had already shown that they were persons of moral integrity, committed to the public cause

“There are great expectations as to the performance of this commission”, Macamo said. “We are not going to ask you to produce a magic formula, but to use your knowledge and experience for the continued ethical improvement of our social contract with the people, making it ever more effective, and thus contributing to good governance and to the consolidation of our democratic rule of law”.

Asked by reporters what their next step would be some commission members said that their first action would be to study the law deeply so that it could be applied properly. For Jamisse Taimo, it was first necessary to study the law together so that it was understood by the entire commission.

“We must understand very well what the law says, and arm the commission so that it can exercise its duties in the best possible way for the good of the country”, he declared.

Sinai Nhatitima said that the Commission members will study the law in detail, so as to understand the existing problems and then begin to work.

He said that, as the Commission becomes aware of conflicts of interest, it will analyse them and act in accordance with the law.

But Assistant Attorney-General Taibo Mocobora told AIM that the Commission should advance immediately with implementation of the law, dealing with existing, well-known cases of conflicts of interest. He added that the Commission should not “waste time” explaining to people what the law says, since the law has already been publicized (including by the Attorney-General’s Office) and that process will continue.

The Commission’s most important duties, he said, “are to assess and monitor situations which involve conflicts of interest so that it can take appropriate measures to prevent and eliminate those conflicts”.

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