Declaration of assets bill still in limbo

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MP Aadil Ameer Meea put the question to the prime minister in parliament.

MP Aadil Ameer Meea put the question to the prime minister in parliament.

MP Aadil Ameer Meea asked Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth in parliament, on Tuesday 5 December, about the any update on the new regime for the declaration of assets. He was met with a stonewall response from the prime minister who started off by arguing that “the ministerial committee had completed its task and submitted its report so drafting instructions will be conveyed to the Attorney General’s office once cabinet approval is obtained.” He remained unwilling to give up more information than that.

MP Ameer Meea, from the Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM), wondered why it is taking more than three years to have this bill in parliament when it was touted as an immediate priority in the Alliance Lepep manifesto. “Will he agree with me that the country is crying for new laws to combat fraud and corruption and coming with a bill urgently in the house will send a strong signal?” asked Ameer Meea. Jugnauth was reluctant to indulge too much. “It is not the appropriate moment now to give information on what it would contain eventually because it has to be debated in cabinet but I can say that it is serious work,” said the prime minister. “Let the bill come before the House, then people will see what changes we want to bring and what kind of declaration of assets we want.”

However, Ameer Meea persisted and asked about the kind of assets that would be included mentioning the likes of bitcoins and gold. The prime minister argued that this was one of the reasons why the process is taking so long, in a bid to avoid any loopholes. “It is complex. I cannot now say what is going to be contained in the bill,” said Jugnauth.

MP Alan Ganoo also intervened and asked whether the chairmen of parastatal bodies or even political advisors would have to declare their assets under the new bill. “That will also be looked into,” said Jugnauth, who then welcomed suggestions from any other MPs before the report by the ministerial committee becomes a bill. 

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