CHIEF Government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda has insisted that all Ministers have declared their assets, arguing that there is no way they wouldn’t have done so nine months down the line.
A consortium of civil society organisations has written to Chief Justice Mumba Malila to pursue remedial action for Ministers and other public office holders who have failed to fully declare their assets, liabilities and sources of income.
Chapter One Foundation, Alliance for Community Action and Transparency International Zambia want the Chief Justice to convene a Tribunal to investigate the allegations of breach.
But commenting on this development, Kasanda said all the Ministers were saying they had declared their assets, but added that a tribunal was welcome.
“This is nine months down the line, there is no way that people would not have declared their assets. But the tribunal is welcome, because I think everyone has a democratic right, which we cannot stop them from exercising. So, if they want to put up a tribunal that is fine. It is their democratic right as CSOs. Otherwise, I don’t think nine months down the line, I don’t think people would not have declared their assets. So like I am saying, they have the democratic right, let them proceed, we cannot put a stop to that,” she said.
“As far as we are concerned, everybody has declared their assets because when you ask the Ministers, they are all saying we have declared. I will give you an example of the Minister of Water (Mike Mposha), he was one of the first people to declare his assets, but he was written by this print media that he had not declared, Daily Nation. So I think it is important sometimes to get our facts right, let us research. He was one of the first [people to declare] but he was in black and white that he has not declared his assets.”
When asked whether she was aware that some Ministers had declared their assets but had not declared their sources of income, Kasanda said those who had not declared their incomes just needed to be guided as most of them were new.
“You declare assets and incomes, so for those who have not declared income, I think it is just a matter of being guided really. Most of the Ministers are new and there are things which [they] need to be guided on. It is just a matter of guidance. Even as they took their declarations to [the Chief] Justice, if there was something missing from their documents I am sure Justice would have been able to tell them that,” she said.
Asked why information on Ministers’ assets and incomes was not available to the public, Kasanda said that was not the case.
“I don’t know if that is true, we have seen it in public domain. The media has been publishing that this one is worth so much, this one is a rich one, this one is a poor one. So how can you say that information is not in the public domain, it is because it has gone to the public, not that there is anything wrong with that. I think it is accessible to everybody, it was Daily Nation, where they said that out of all the Ministers, then you just write that Chushi has not declared. So it is in public domain, so I don’t think there is any hindrance, we are not hindering anybody [from] picking that information. That is public information,” said Kasanda.