Over 350 civil servants fail to declare wealth

As the government moves to impose penalties on public servants who failed to declare their wealth, the number of officials who did not comply with the June 30 deadline has increased to 361, up from 180.The Office of the Ombudsman had previously announced that 6,975 civil servants had declared their wealth by the deadline, out of a total of 7,058.

As the government moves to impose penalties on public servants who failed to declare their wealth, the number of officials who did not comply with the June 30 deadline has increased to 361, up from 180.

The Office of the Ombudsman had previously announced that 6,975 civil servants had declared their wealth by the deadline, out of a total of 7,058.

However, The New Times has since learnt that only 6,697 public officials declared their wealth to the Ombudsman, with 418 declaring in the extended seven days.

The 2006 wealth declaration law requires government employees to declare their wealth to the Office of the Ombudsman for verification by June 30 every year.

The anti-graft body, however, extended the declaration period by one week to facilitate those who failed to do so in time due to problems in using the new online registration system, and also help officials who claimed they were busy on government duties abroad to comply.

“Due to the new declaration system (online), some officials had problems using it and some of them ended up registering more than once. During the screening process, we found that only 6,697 had declared their wealth,” said Jean Pierre Nkurunziza, the Advisor to the Ombudsman.

He explained that the Office of the Ombudsman was currently in the screening process to identify the officials who did not comply with the law.

 “We are in the process of writing to institutions where those who defied the law work so that they can be punished accordingly,” Nkurunziza said, adding that penalties will be enforced by the institutions they work for.

In 2009, the Ministry of Public Service and Labour suspended about 56 officials, who included senior government officials, for either failing or under-declaring their assets.

This year, the government introduced the online registration system to ease the registration process among officials in and out of the country, as well as increase accuracy and documentation of received data and proper record keeping.

Nkurunziza noted that some officials are also ignorant about the declaration law and that “they did not know that they are supposed to declare their wealth.”

“We are also in the process of starting the verification exercise to identify those who under-declared their assets and those who accumulated more than they earn,” he stated.

Normally, the verification exercise starts in July, but Nkurunziza explained that it was delayed as a result of the introduction of the online registration system.

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