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MINISTERS MUST DECLARE ASSESTS

By ADRIAN MWANZA

NOT all ministers have declared their assets contrary to Governments assertions that they had done so as stipulated.

Economic Front President Wynter Kabimba has however said that the declaration of assets by ministers and other public figures should not be treated with kid gloves because it hinges on national security as people in key positions were susceptible to corruption,

Mr Kabimba in an interview said that any government that was serious in the fight against corruption needed to ensure that ministers declared their assets for the sake of national security.

Mr Kabimba was reacting to the recent comments by Ministry of Information director Thabo Kawana who indicated that all ministers had declared their assets.

However, a survey by the ACA indicated that only a handful of ministers had actually declared their assets contrary to the information that was given.

He said if no one tracked people’s wealth before getting into office they were prone to compromise national security.

He said the declaration went beyond corruption but national security and a good example would be if the ministers of Defence and Home Affairs were corrupt or bribed by any outside forces he or she would compromise the security of the state.

“It is not just a matter of corruption prevention but an issue of national security because if we do no t track down people’s assets when they get into public office and if we don’t reconcile when they leave office they become susceptible to foreigners,” Mr Kabimba said.

He said if the president who was in charge of the Zambia Intelligence Service was compromised state secrets would be captured by foreigners making it cardinal for individuals to declare assets so that any dubious activities could be traced.

He said the world was changing and there were terrorist organisations which had money and the muscle to bribe public officers like ministers in key and sensitive portfolios.

Mr Kabimba said countries like France had made it a policy which made it possible for officers to declare their assets before taking up office and also after completing their duty to weigh if they did not commit any crime.

He said that the new dawn administration needed to show that they meant what they said over the issue of fighting corruption by taking the lead role and declaring assets.

Mr Kabimba said the country took the non-declaration casually because there was no war in the country but other countries were not lucky because of the terrorist organisations.

Meanwhile, Mr Kawana said that he would not comment over the matter as he was unwell and only do so after he got back to the office.

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