The Parliamentary Public Appointments Committee (PAC) has disapproved a proposal by a Special Law Commission to transfer appointing powers of Director of Public Officers’ Declarations to the State President.
Currently, the power to appoint the Director is vested in the Committee.
Speaking on the sidelines of discussions with Director of Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations (ODPOD) at Parliament Building in Lilongwe, PAC Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo said the proposal is regressive.
Chitsulo said the country’s Head of State is already overwhelmed with a lot of responsibilities and adding such power on the President would also compromise independence of the Office.
Said Chitsulo: “For us, as a Committee we are saying that’s not the right way to do things because we are talking of limiting the power of the President and then we are saying we should more responsibilities on the President, we feel as a Committee that’s not on.”
“But also the fact that we are looking at the independence of the Office, so if we say that the President should be appointing someone, we are also like interfering the independence of the Office, as a Committee that’s how we feel.”
But Law Commission Chairperson Shallotte Malonda said the Commission has not yet made final recommendations on the matter as it is still in the process of soliciting views from various stakeholders.
“At this stage we don’t have any proposals yet, we are simply consulting because we appreciate that according to the Constitution, PAC plays a critical oversight role.
“So, today we didn’t come with any recommendations or views, we were simply here to listen to them and present to them the current state of the law,” Malonda said.
The Committee has since recommended that powers for the appointment of acting director be removed from the President to the Committee.
Currently, the Head of State has powers of appointing the acting director.