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Ministers, civil servants to declare assets

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Staff Reporter MASERU — The Tom Thabane-led coalition government will soon require all civil servants, including ministers, to declare their assets as part of efforts to curb corruption in the public service.
On Thursday Thabane revealed that the “Assets and Interest Declaration Form”, which all public officers will complete, has been developed. Civil servants will be required to declare their assets and interests.
Although the Sunday Express could not get the form sources who have seen a copy said it will also require a civil servant to explain how they acquired their assets.

Those who have shares in companies will also have to declare how they acquired them. Thabane said the initiative was part of his government’s efforts to promote a “corruption-free public service”. The form comes at a time when there has been a public outcry over corruption in the public service. Some complain that although civil servants generally earn low salaries some have acquired wealth clearly beyond their means. There are reports that tenders have been rigged to favour bribe-paying contractors.
Some civil servants favour companies in which they have interests with lucrative supply tenders.

In 2011 top officials in the Cabinet office were found to have looted the treasury by handing out supply tenders to their relatives. Currently there are forensic audit teams in almost all government departments. The audits were initiated by the previous government which was accused of paying lip service to rampant corruption in government offices. Government secretary, Motlatsi Ramafole, said the declaration form will be submitted to the cabinet so that “it is synchronised with the one from the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences. “What we can say for now is that the form has been finalised. What is left now is approval from the cabinet,” Ramafole said on Friday.

“After it has been approved by the cabinet the form will be distributed to civil servants.”

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