By Eliaser Ndeyanale
THE National Assembly says Members of Parliament have not disclosed assets, shares and other interests because they were not aware it was an annual exercise.
In her response to questions sent by Confidente last week, on why the assets register for MPs had not been published despite legislators having been given five deadline to disclose their riches, Parliament’s liaison officer Ndahafa Kaukungua stated that the House could not publish the register because some legislators had not declare their assets as they were not aware that they were compelled to declare their business interests annually.
Last year MPs were given till end of June to publicly reveal what they own, however, that was postponed to end of September, when it was about to be end of September the declaration was postponed to end of October but nothing materialised.
In January this year Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi said the assets register would be made available end of June, however, nothing happened. Last week Katjavivi extended the deadline to tomorrow cautioning that action would be undertaken against a member who fails to comply as provided for under the Committee on Privileges and in terms of the Code of Conduct.
MPs are expected to declare their stake in trading companies, national companies, credit institutions, economic groups as well as membership in associations, foundations or other non-governmental organisations where they have to state the names of the firms, position held, and number of shares as well as total value of shares. This will be the third time National Assembly members declare their assets. The first time was in 2003 and second was in 2009 but even then the compliance was imperfect as several MPs on the asset register did not hand in their forms in time.
The National Council has a better track record. It adopted its code of conduct in 2005, and has released an asset register every year since 2006. When some members failed to comply with requirement in 2006, they were reprimanded something that has never happened with the National Assembly.
By signing the declaration register, MPs commit to being held responsible under the criminal laws and contempt of Parliament for any inaccuracy or the incomplete nature of the afore-mentioned information.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015