Understaffing Cripples ODPOD - Chiusiwa
Office of the Director of Public Officers' Declarations (ODPOD) said understaffing is a major setback affecting its efficiency in verifying and processing assets for the Listed Public Officers (LPOs).
Speaking to Zodiak Online on Thursday, Directorate's director Michael Chiusiwa, said that the institution is making some strides in ensuring that public officers are complying with the law to declare assets.
However, Chiusiwa said understaffing is a major drawback affecting deliverables and its efficiency in verifying and processing assets for the public officers.
He indicated currently, the office has only 21 officers to verify 46,000 documents collected from around 18, 000 listed public officers since its establishment in 2014.
ODPOD director made the remarks at a day-long media orientation workshop on Media and Declaration regime held in Zomba.
"In all fairness, it is affecting the efficiency, effectiveness and deliverables because we are supposed to verify all of them. We are not supposed to choose, but all of them are supposed to be verified. But because we are few as an office, and public officers are many so we cannot cover them of them at once.
"And some of them may not be verified until they retire. And by then, they have abused their office and government would have lost either through fraud. But it means now we have not yet registered an impact on the anti-corruption drive," he said.
Chiusiwa however, said apart from just sampling documents based on whistle-blowing, the directorate is working with state prosecution agencies such as police and ACB to improve their work and register impact in anti-corruption fight.
On his part, journalism trainer and one of the facilitators at the workshop Jolly Ntaba, believed constant engagement between the media and government bodies is key in enhancing journalists' credibility, transparency and accountability among public officers.
"Media has the power to influence change to every society. It helps in ensuring transparency and transparency in all sectors of life. It is a fact that the citizenry believe in whatever media carry. So this also calls for journalists to be credible and careful with what they publish.
"This being the case, it also very important for the government institutions like ODPOD to have constant engagement with the media to ensure that they report from the informed point of view. This will help the public to understand what the institutions do in promoting accountability," Ntaba said.
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