January 23, 2018 / 6:05 PM / 3 months ago

New Zimbabwe leader orders top officials to declare assets

HARARE, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has given cabinet ministers and senior government officials until the end of February to declare their assets as new President Emmerson Mnangagwa seeks to foster transparency and fight corruption.

Mnangagwa, 75, took power after Robert Mugabe was toppled by the military. He immediately promised to tackle corruption, especially in public institutions.

Misheck Sibanda, chief secretary to the president and cabinet, said in a statement that it was now mandatory for cabinet ministers, their deputies, senior government officials and bosses of state-owned businesses to declare their assets.

The officials will be required to disclose details on their real estate, other property valued above $100,000, and shareholdings in businesses by Febraury 28.

“The president expects the full and urgent cooperation of all the affected office bearers,” Sibanda said.

Mnangagwa, who is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, the first time by a Zimbabwean president, is trying to break with past policies of Mugabe in a bid to lure foreign investment and end the country’s international pariah status.

Under Mugabe’s near four-decade rule, few government officials were arrested for corruption.

When the military announced it had put Mugabe under house arrest on Nov. 15, it said it was targeting criminals that surrounded the 93-year-old leader.

Since then, three former government ministers and allies of Mugabe have been arrested and charged in court for criminal abuse of office. The trio denies the charges and say they are being persecuted for supporting Mugabe and his wife Grace. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Peter Graff)

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