• Officials will now have to step aside from office on half-pay if they are charged with offences
• Only the President will be exempted from the new regulations
A bill now in Parliament could lead to an intensified crackdown on corrupt officials.
The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2020 introduces radical changes: officials including governors can be forced to step aside while being investigated; if charged, they will step aside on half-pay until the conclusion of the case; and the only exempt officer will be the President.
The Leadership and Integrity Act is being tightened up so that the EACC must throughly scrutinise the self-declarations of wealth by candidates in elections.
The courts will be obligated to conclude corruption cases within two years.
One major stumbling block in fighting corruption is that elected or appointed officials cannot be removed until they have been convicted and exhausted the appeal process. That will now change. Officials will have to step aside when charged or even just under investigation.
These are great steps forward but there are two caveats.
Firstly, the two-year court deadline should not be binding. Otherwise suspects could use delaying tactics to make the case lasted longer than two years.
Secondly, corruption rules should not be unfairly used to remove political competitors from office on the grounds that they are 'under investigation'.
Quote of the day: "Do you wish people to think well of you? Don't speak well of yourself."
The French mathematician was born on June 19, 1623