Moz MPs confused by moonlighting law

2012-11-29 14:47

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Maputo - Mozambique lawmakers on Thursday declared themselves divided about the meaning of a law - which they wrote - banning them from lucrative extra-parliamentary jobs.

The law, which came into force last week, in theory bans public servants from accepting positions that could present a conflict of interest.

But many lawmakers have been left scratching their heads about whether the rules apply to new posts or to already existing jobs.

So far no action has been taken against a dozen MPs who also hold positions on the boards of public companies.

"The law was approved, and should be enforced by all of us, regardless of who is directly affected or not. It is a law that everyone must comply with," parliamentarian Virgilia Matabele told newspaper O Pais on Thursday.

In order to comply with the new law Matabele would have to either give up her seat on the board of the National Investment Bank (BNI) or resign her parliamentary seat.

Yet, not all her colleagues agree. "I am convinced that I am conforming to the law," said MP Teodoro Waty, who is also chairman of the National airliner LAM and president of the parliament's constitutional affairs commission.

Titanic effort

He added that lawmakers had made a "titanic effort" to be clean.

Amid the confusion, civil society groups are calling on parliament to remove doubts once and for all.

"It is necessary to make an authentic, legal interpretation on the Law of Public Probity," The Centre for Public Integrity said in a statement.

The law also requires every elected or appointed official - from judges, to the managers of state institutions - to declare their assets.

However, without key public entities in place, enforcement has been weak.

A nine member Public Ethics Commission whose job it will be to decide the rules for preventing conflicts of interests, has not yet been appointed.

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