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Govt given 3 months to enact law compelling officials to declare assets

High Court judge, Justice Jacob Manzunzu has ruled that Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and the Attorney General Prince Machaya should gazette a bill compelling government officials to disclose their assets.

The judge found the two are in breach of their constitutional obligations after they failed to enforce law that demands declaration of personal assets for public office bearers.

Opposition MP Allan Markham dragged Ziyambi and Machaya to court seeking an order compelling them to act.

Opposition CCC MP Allan Markham (Picture via OpenParly.co.zw)
Opposition CCC MP Allan Markham (Picture via OpenParly.co.zw)

The bill is necessary for combating corruption as it institutes accountability.

This is provided by Section 198 (a) of the Constitution which states that states that “an act of parliament must provide measures to enforce the provisions of this Chapter, including measures requiring public officers to make regular disclosures of their assets, establishing code of conducts to be observed by public officers, specifying the standards of good corporate governance to be observed by government controlled entities and other commercial entities owned or wholly controlled by the State, providing for the disciplining of persons who contravene the provisions of the Chapter or any code of conduct or standard”.

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Accordingly, Justice Manzunzu blasted Ziyambi and Machaya for taking too long to institute the bill that enforces the demands of the Constitution.

Accordingly, he ruled that the bill be gazetted within three months.

“The first respondent’s failure to formulate within a reasonable time a Bill to give effect to the Act envisaged in section 198 (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is in breach of section 324 of the Constitution.

“The first respondent is ordered to gazette the Bill envisaged by section 198 (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe within three months from the date of this order.

“The first respondent shall pay costs of suit,” read the ruling.

Ziyambi and Machaya were cited as first and second respondents respectively.

Tendayi Biti Law Chambers won the case on behalf of the applicant.