Cases overwhelm declarations office

Cases overwhelm declarations office

The Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations (Odpod) says it is struggling to verify files from public officers due to shortage of staff.

Speaking yesterday during a training of journalists from the Northern Region at Chintheche in Nkhata Bay, public officers declarations director Michael Chiusiwa said they have only two verification officers.

He said since the institution was established in 2014 the number of public officers declaring their assets has increased from 10 400 to over 16 000, adding that the officers can only verify 200 files. 

Chiusiwa: We work against all the odds

Chiusiwa said: “We work against all the odds because there are 21 officers to administer declarations submitted by more than 16 000 public officers. And there are only two officers in the verification department,” he said.

In a separate interview yesterday, governance analyst Makhumbo Munthali said the current set-up is a recipe for failure.

He urged government to fill all vacancies at Odpod, stressing that the directorate has an important role of promoting public confidence and dealing with accumulation of unexplained wealth.

“In the current set-up, it is clear that the office cannot effectively discharge its mandate,” said Munthali.

Blantyre-based political commentator Humphrey Mvula blamed Parliament for not pushing for adequate funding for the Odpod, saying the legislative arm lacks seriousness on accountability and transparency in the public service.

“I have never heard Parliament pushing for funding for this office. Parliament has no interest to make this office functional. This office is only there for convenience,” he said.

Private practice lawyer John-Gift Mwakhwawa, who also heads the law faculty at the Catholic University of Malalawi, said there is need to recruit more competent officers to handle the accumulating cases.

He said shortage of human resource is rendering the office ineffective and impacting on the competence of the Odpod.

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