Maputo — Thousands of senior Mozambican officials are defying the clause in the 2012 Law on Public Probity, which obliges them to declare their assets.
Lucia do Amaral, the chairperson of the Reception and Verification Commission (CRV), the body in charge of implementing the law, told a Maputo seminar on Thursday that 7,056 officials are obliged to declare their assets on taking office. They are supposed to update their declarations every year, and then make a final declaration on leaving office.
But to date, the CRV has only received declarations from 4,454 officials. Since the Law on Public Probity is five years old, Amaral said there was no conceivable justification for officials still not declaring their assets.
She warned that the conditions are now in place to implement the sanctions envisaged in the law for those who fail to comply. Those who do not submit their declaration of assets can be fined twice their monthly wage. If they still fail to comply, they can be sent to prison for between one month and two years.
Those who should declare their assets include members of the central and provincial governments, members of parliament and of the provincial assemblies, judges, prosecutors, members of the board of the Bank of Mozambique, and managers of public institutions, public funds, and companies which are owned by the state or where the state has a holding.
A second member of the CRV, Joao Vahiua, told reporters that all members of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), have declared their assets, but the same cannot be said for managers and office holders in public institutes.
Vahiua said the mechanisms are all in place to fine those who do not hand in their declarations. Thanks to the State's computerised wages system, it was very easy to fine officials.
“One day we shall go into the system, together with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and we shall click on cancel”, said Vahiua - which would prevent the official from receiving his next salary in his bank account.