Gov’t to sanction officials who failed to declare wealth

The government has moved to impose penalties on public servants who failed to declare their wealth to the Office of the Ombudsman as stipulated by the law, The New Times is informed.About 361 government officials did not meet the deadline. It has since emerged that the anti-graft body is in the process of instructing their respective employers to enforce various penalties.
The Ombudsman, Tito Rutaremara. His office is closing in on defaulters of wealth declaration.
The Ombudsman, Tito Rutaremara. His office is closing in on defaulters of wealth declaration.

The government has moved to impose penalties on public servants who failed to declare their wealth to the Office of the Ombudsman as stipulated by the law, The New Times is informed.

About 361 government officials did not meet the deadline. It has since emerged that the anti-graft body is in the process of instructing their respective employers to enforce various penalties.

The 2006 wealth declaration law requires public servants to declare their wealth to the Office of the Ombudsman by June 30 every year.

Of the 7,058 civil servants, 6,975 complied with the law.

Among the penaltiesis the suspension of officials for either failure to declare their assets in time or under-declaration of wealth.

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.

Jean Pierre Nkurunziza, the Advisor to the Ombudsman, confirmed that his office “is currently in the process of writing to their respective institutions to impose penalties accordingly”.

“The final (2011 wealth declaration) report was sent to the Chief Ombudsman office for signing. If all goes well, the letters will be forwarded to the institutions where the defaulters work, to impose the punishments. We hope to complete this exercise in a week’s time,” Nkurunziza noted.

Normally, the verification exercise starts in July, but according to Nkurunziza, they decided to slow down the process to be sure who declared and who failed.

“Otherwise we can decide to do it quickly and we end up making mistakes.”

The government, this year, introduced the online registration system to ease the registration process, especially for officials abroad, as well as increase accuracy and documentation of received data and proper record keeping.

Following challenges with the new declaration system, some officials requested for more time and the anti-graft body extended the declaration period by one week, to also help officials who claimed they were busy on government duties abroad.

About 418 civil servants declared their assets in the seven additional days.

“We are also in the verification process to identify officials who accumulated more than they earn; but we are basing on their previous declared assets,” he added.

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