On 21st March 2022, a number of online platforms, including Zed Diary and Mwebantu, carried a video in which the Director and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Information and Media, Mr. Thabo Kawana claimed that asset declaration documents by Cabinet Ministers had been filed with the “Office of the Filer”. Mr. Kawana’s statement was a response to a question on whether Cabinet Ministers had declared their assets and where these documents were filed. This statement, especially the mention of Office of the Filer, generated a lot of public interest online.
The iVerify fact-checking process has determined as misleading the statement by Mr. Kawana that declaration of asset documents by the Cabinet Ministers and public officers were filed at the Office of the Filer. In a phone call with iVerify, GEARS Executive Director Mr. McDonald Chipenzi clarified that all documents on the declaration of assets by public officials are filed with the Registrar of Courts under the Chief Justice’s office. Mr. Chipenzi said that the office of the filer does not exist. Article 263 of the Zambian Constitution, Act No. 2 of 2016 requires all persons holding public office to declare their assets and liabilities in the register submitted to the Office of the Chief Justice before assuming or leaving office. iVerify further cross-checked the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, which states; Section 10(2) An Officer shall (a) within thirty days after his appointment; and (b) within thirty days after each anniversary of his appointment to the office concerned; submit to the Chief Justice an annual declaration of assets, liabilities, and income in accordance with this section. Therefore, the statement by the Director and Spokesperson Mr. Kawana that files are under the filer’s office is false and misleading.