What Are Declarations?
Declarations are lists of assets, liabilities and business interests that belong to a public official, or her/his member of immediate family and business associates, which are submitted on a regular basis to the designated authority. In Malawi the organisation responsible for receiving and managing these declarations is The Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations (ODPOD).
Why Do Declarations Matter?
Public Officers are responsible for providing public services and this often means they are entrusted with managing public funds or resources. While there are accounting systems in place for reporting on public funds or resources, Declaration of assets, liabilities and business interests provide a valuable layer of transparency and accountability for public servants. By disclosing their assets, liabilities and business interests on a regular basis any changes in their situation can be identified and accounted for. This process protects public officers from undue suspicion of corruption and can act as an additional way for the public to monitor and hold officials personally accountable.
Who Has to Submit a Declaration?
In Malawi any officer designated under the first schedules in the 2013 ODPOD Act must submit a Declaration in no later than three months when they first take up their post and then on an annual basis thereafter – these are known as Listed Public Officers (LPOs). The schedule lists a range of posts and types of officers including political and elected officials, senior government officers, financial administrators, law enforcement officials etc. If you are not sure that a specific public officer is required to submit a declaration contact ODPOD to confirm.
What is Declared?
Assets, financial information and businesses. Assets are things that have financial value, and the Declaration form includes various categories of assets to help officials list all relevant assets. Key categories include: houses, plots, vehicles, income, shares, stocks & bonds, and loans. The form requires officers to list the individual asset and provide information about each that allows ODPOD to identify and verify the nature and value of the asset. The form also requires officers to list their debts (liabilities) including the value, to whom it is owed and the re-payment plan and well as their business interests.
What Happens if Someone Doesn’t Declare?
Under the Declarations Act if an LPO does not submit an Initial or Annual Declaration Form they can be dismissed from public office and subject to a fine. ODPOD monitors submissions to make sure LPOs are completing the declaration forms and where there are gaps, either failure to submit or incomplete forms, works with the officers to complete these before resorting to official penalties.
How Do You Know if the Information is True?
One of ODPOD’s key functions is to confirm that the information provided in the forms is complete and accurate. It does this by 1) confirming ALL Declarations are completed, 2) For a sample of declarations, checking the information on the form against the facts on the ground by visiting properties, valuing vehicles, interviewing associates, confirming account information etc..
Are Declarations Public?
The objective of the Act is to support transparency and accountability so the general principle is that the information should be available to the public. Annual information from the Declarations is routinely available through the Gazette and this includes: who has submitted, who has not, and a general summary of the number of assets, liabilities and business interests submitted by listed public officers. The public has a legal right to request further information about Declarations and the Director of ODPOD will aim to provide access to everything possible that does not infringe on the privacy of individual LPOs.
What Do I Do if I Have a Concern About an LPO?
If you feel that any information provided is incomplete or inaccurate, or if you know of an LPO who has not submitted a declaration you can contact ODPOD. Your communications with ODPOD will be anonymous and ODPOD will protect the information it gets in keeping with whistleblowing provisions.
Why Should I Declare?
Well done! You are a Listed Public Official (LPO) which means you have a public service role and a responsibility to be accountable to the public. Not every public officer has to complete and submit a Declaration – the list is developed by looking at high profile officers, or those most likely to fall under suspicion for corruption. The Declaration of Assets, liabilities and business interests is one of the ways that you can be transparent about your service and protects you from undue suspicion.
What Do I have to Do?
When you first take up a post that is identified by the Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations (ODPOD) 2013 Act, you will complete and submit an initial declaration form no later than three months after assuming duties as a listed public officer. Thereafter you will complete and submit an annual declaration update form within thirty days after the commencement of each fiscal year until you leave the post.
How much Work is it?
The form can look daunting, but it won’t be that difficult. Before you start to complete the form, it helps if you can gather all your financial, assets and business information (bank account information, loans, property titles, businesses etc.) for easy reference. Make sure you have the personal and contact details of members of your immediate family and if necessary, ask them to provide you with their assets information so you can include it. Once you have all of the information gathered the Initial Declaration form should take no more than 30 minutes to an hour to complete depending on number of assets, financial information and businesses that you have. Make sure you keep a copy of the form in a safe place so that you can quickly refer to it and indicate any changes to the assets on your annual declarations in subsequent years. The Annual Declaration Form should take less than 15 minutes to complete. Once you have submitted your form, ensure you obtain a receipt from ODPOD to show that you have submitted your declaration form. This can be an individual or organisational bulk submission receipt.
Who Can Help Me?
If you have questions, your organisational Declarations Desk Officer is a good person to speak with as they have experience in completing forms and assisting others. Most of the information requested in the forms is self-explanatory but some key terms are defined below. If you have general questions about the Public Officers Declarations Act, how the information is used, or any concerns please get in touch directly with ODPOD.
Glossary of Terms
Asset – holdings of value, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, including cash, property, goods, savings, investments, equipment, as well as other quantities possibly having no market value, pre-paid expenses, or goodwill.

Business interests – means participation with any individual in a commercial enterprise or venture, or participation in any association, institution, organization or entity, whether of a
commercial nature or otherwise, regardless of whether a pecuniary benefit or other assets are derived from such participation.

– means a present obligation of the public officer, his or her spouse or member of his or her immediate family arising from past events the settlement of which is expected to result in
an outflow from the public officer, his or her spouse or member of his or her immediate family, of resources embodying tangible or intangible benefits.
Member of Immediate

Family – spouse and any biological or adoptive child who is below the age of eighteen or any biological or adoptive child whose means of support is wholly or partially from a public officer irrespective of age.

Source of Finance – How did the individual pay for the asset? Loan from bank of family, inherited etc.

Registered Owner – Who is (or should be) listed in the Registry as the owner?
Actual/Estimated – What is the actual OR estimated cost of the asset?

Stage of Development – has any work been done on the plot? Connected to utilities, farming, buildings etc.?

Partner /close associate – any person whether related or unrelated by blood or marriage, who holds or will hold any financial power, for or on behalf of a public officer.

Affiliated – do you formally belong to any organisation or group e.g. a service club, religious organisation, alumni association etc.

Declaration period – Refer to immediate previous government financial year (from the time the government financial year started to when it ended).
What Does it Mean that I am a Declarations Desk Officer (DDO)?
Congratulations! Being a Declarations Desk Officer means that you are an important part of the Government’s transparency and accountability team. Your key role is to support the Listed Public Officers (LPOs) in your organisation as they prepare and submit their Declaration forms; establish list of staff eligible for submitting declarations and determine compliance of the listed public officers with the declarations law. You will also assist The Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations (ODPOD) in ensuring that all Declarations are complete and submitted on time, and with any follow up issues that may arise.
What Are My Key Tasks?
Each Declarations Desk Officer should:
1) Submit a staff return for the ODPOD to create a list of all LPOs in the organisation.
2) Inform all LPOs of the submission deadlines and ensure LPOs get blank forms for completion at least a month in advance.
3) Assist LPOs in completing declaration forms.
4) Compile forms for submission to ODPOD:
• Check that all LPOs on list have submitted.
• Confirm that all forms are completed and signed.
• Ensure all declaration forms have been signed by a commissioner for oaths.
• Send Declarations and covering note to ODPOD including list of LPOs, forms submitted and note any outstanding Declarations and provide contact information for these Officers.
6) Assist ODPOD in any follow up requirements
7) Provide handover notes to successor DDO, including current status of Declaration Process
How Do I identify LPOs in My Organisation?
The ODPOD Act of 2013 has a schedule indicating the key positions and categories of Officers required to submit Declarations, so as a starting point you should check whether any of the named positions are within your organisation, e.g. the Auditor General. In addition to the specific Officials mentioned, check if any of the general categories of officers apply, e.g. Immigration Officers. Make sure you include the identified organisational roles like Accounting and Procurement Officers. If you are in doubt about who should be included get in touch with ODPOD.
What Information Do I Need to Give LPOs?
To support the LPOs in completing the Declaration Form you can give them the LPO FAQs produced by ODPOD. It is also good to remind officers that if they are in doubt about something it is always better to declare than not!
Where Do I Go For More Help?
If you have any questions, suggestions to improve the Declaration process, or want to check anything just get in touch with our Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Tiyamike Phiri at ODPOD on +265 995 121 423 or tphiri@declarations.gov.mw.