Parly okays lifestyle audits for MPs

Mr Kennedy Chokuda

Mr Kennedy Chokuda

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter—

Parliament has approved lifestyle audits for legislators, including ministers, compelling them to declare their assets in line with Constitutional provisions.

The new Constitution, in Section 198, states that an Act of Parliament must provide measures to enforce provisions requiring public officers to make regular disclosures of their assets.

Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda yesterday confirmed that the Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) had approved the asset declaration register and the code of conduct for MPs.

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“The asset register has always been in our standing orders, but what has not happened is for Parliament to adopt the code and the register,” said Mr Chokuda.

“We have since developed the code, which was debated and adopted by the committee on standing rules.

“It was also circulated to other members for their input, which they did.

“Now, we are planning a feedback workshop for members where we are going to explain to them the contents of the register and its implications so that they sign it knowing the purpose why we are doing it.”

He said while some MPs were initially uncomfortable declaring their assets, it was agreed that declaration of such was a Constitutional provision.

A member of the committee, Cde Daniel Shumba, confirmed approval of the asset declaration register.

“Ultimately, the Speaker (of the National Assembly) will make the announcement,” said Cde Shumba.

“We did our part as the sub-committee of the SROC. We are now waiting for the Speaker to announce.”

Chairperson of the Legal and Procedural Affairs Committee of the SROC, Mr Nelson Chamisa said the asset declaration register had been approved by MPs.

To that end, he said it was incumbent upon MPs to declare their assets, failure of which, they would face penalties.

“Everyone must submit all their assets and businesses so that there is no conflict of interest,” said Mr Chamisa.

“This is informed by the Constitutional provision on Section 198. We have finished drafting the asset declaration register and it was adopted by both the SROC and Parliament. It must now take effect because it’s flowing from both the Constitution and the Standing Orders and Rules.

“Now we are taking it to the next level, which is implementation. I am informed that some of the members have started declaring their assets. This is in the interest of transparency and accountability. It is a creature of the new Constitution.”

Mr Chamisa said it was important for parliamentarians to lead by example by declaring their assets.

The register seen by The Herald shows that legislators will be required to declare their assets, including land in and outside Zimbabwe, buildings, movable assets, financial assets and other assets such as jewellery worth more than $25 000, with the clerk of Parliament expected to enter the register of declared assets.

Article Source: The Herald