Monuments and Relics Act
- Commenced on 14 March 1991
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2014.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated in the Fifth Revised Edition of the Laws of Malawi (L.R.O. 1/2018), by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice under the authority of the Revision of the Laws Act.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Monuments and Relics Act.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—"Chief Antiquities Officer" means the person appointed as such pursuant to section 3 and includes any officer subordinate to him;"collection", in relation to relics, means a permanent collection thereof;"conservation" means measures taken to prevent destruction, deterioration or loss of cultural and natural heritage of Malawi;"Council" means the Monuments and Relics Advisory Council established under section 5(1);"excavation" means the removal of any overburden deposit or the exposure of any buried or partially buried material in Malawi;"listed monument" means a monument which is included in a list compiled under section 22 or 23;"local authority" means the owner of a monument or relic, or an institution or organization, whether a company, or a district, municipal or city council, a church or other religious body or any other organization, whether corporate or unincorporate, which has a claim to ownership of a monument or relic;"maintenance" includes the fencing, covering, repairing, restoring and cleansing of any monument or relic and the surroundings thereof, and the doing of any act which may be necessary for the purpose of maintaining a monument or relic or securing convenient access thereto;"monument" means—(a)any area of land which has distinctive scenery or which contains rare or distinctive vegetation;(b)any structure, building, erection, ruin, stone, circle, monolith, altar, shrine, pillar, statue, memorial, fortification;(c)any grave, tumulus, cairn, place of interment, pit dwelling, trench, excavation, working, rock, rock-shelter, midden, mound, cave, grotto, rock sculpture, rock painting and wall painting;(d)inscription or any other site or article of a similar kind or associated therewith which is of archaeological, palaeontological, ethnological, prehistorical, historical, artistic or scientific value or interest;(e)any remains of the matters and items referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d), including—(i)the site on which any monument or group of monuments was discovered or exists; and(ii)such portion of land adjoining such site as may be required for the maintenance of or otherwise for the conservation and preservation of such monument or group of monuments;"preservation" means the taking of such actions, including salvage, as are designed to record and maintain the cultural and natural heritage of Malawi;"protected monument" means a monument which is protected under section 11 and includes a group of monuments protected under that section and any single monument in such group;"protected relic" means a relic which is protected under section 11 and includes a collection of relics protected under that section and any single relic in such collection;"qualified person" means any person who has demonstrated competence to study archaeological sites or monuments, ethnology, social and physical anthropology and oral history;"relic" means—(a)any fossil of any kind;(b)any artifact, implement, coin, document and manuscript;(c)any chiefly, religious or war regalia;(d)ornament or article (not being a monument),which is of archaeological, palaeontological, geological, anthropological, ethnological, prehistorical, historical, artistic or scientific value or interest;"rescue archaeology" means a systematic examination, including excavation, of any area of land, place, monument or relic threatened to become irretrievably destroyed by natural phenomena or action of man or animal, including development of such land, place, monument or relic, for purposes of assessing the cultural and natural significance of such action before it is taken;"site museum" means a place that has been developed to exhibit material evidence of man and his environment for purposes of study, education and enjoyment;"site record" means documented observations undertaken as an aspect of systematic examination or controlled recovery or discovery of prehistoric or historic places or objects, including locational records, photographs, notes, charts, drawings and descriptions of situations and materials;"systematic examination" means the process by which the information content of prehistoric places or cultural material is realized for the purpose of conservation or preservation.
Part II – Administration
3. Chief Antiquities Officer and other staffThere shall be appointed in the public service an officer to be designated as the Chief Antiquities Officer and other officers subordinate to him who shall be responsible for the administration of this Act subject to any special or general directions of the Minister.
4. Duties of the Chief Antiquities OfficerThe Chief Antiquities Officer shall, subject to this Act and to any special or general directions of the Minister—
Part III – The Monuments and Relics Advisory Council
5. Establishment and composition of the Council
6. Secretary to the CouncilThe Chief Antiquities Officer shall act as secretary to the Council.
7. Functions of the CouncilThe functions of the Council shall be to advise the Minister in all matters affecting the collection, protection, conservation and preservation of monuments and relics.
8. Meetings of the Council
9. Members not deemed public officersA member of the Council shall not, by virtue only of his membership to the Council, be deemed to be an officer in the public service.
10. AllowancesA member of the Council, who is not an officer in the public service, shall be paid an honorarium determined by the Minister and shall be paid his reasonable travelling expenses and subsistence allowance while engaged upon the business of the Council at the rate prescribed by the Minister.
Part IV – Declaration, conservation and preservation of protected monuments and relics
11. Protected monuments and relics
12. Acceptance of monuments and relicsThe Minister may, on behalf of the Government, accept any monument or relic, or relics or any estate or interest therein, which the owner desires to give or has bequeathed to the Government.
13. Prohibition on alteration, etc.
14. Structures, buildings, erected in contravention of this ActAny structure, building or other work erected, established, or planted in contravention of the provisions of this Act or of any regulations made under this Act shall, at the directions of the Minister, be demolished or otherwise determined removed at the expense of the offender and the cost of repairing any damage caused to any monument or relic shall be bore by the offender.
15. Agreements for conservation and preservation of monuments and relics
16. Owners who are under disabilityIf the owner of any monument or relic is unable, by reason of infancy or other disability, to act for himself, the person legally competent to act on his behalf may exercise the powers conferred upon such owner by section 15.
17. Enforcement of agreements
18. Compulsory acquisition of monuments or relics
19. Limitation on powers of compulsory purchase or acquisition of monuments and relicsThe powers of compulsory purchase or acquisition of monuments and relics pursuant to section 18 shall not be exercised—
20. Custody of monuments and relicsThe Minister may remove or cause to be removed to a museum or place of safe custody any monument or relic acquired or purchased under section 18, which is not the subject of a subsisting agreement entered into under section 15.
21. Maintenance of monuments and relics
Part V – Listing of monuments of national or local importance
22. List of national monuments
23. List of monuments of local importance
24. Demolition, etc., of listed monuments
Part VI – Ownership, discovery, collection, excavation and removal of monuments and relics
25. Ownership of monuments and relics
26. Transfer of ownership, etc., of protected monuments or relics
27. Notification of discovery of monuments or relics
28. Authorization for archaeological research
29. Rescue archaeology
30. Archaeological permits
31. Obligations of the holder of an excavation permitThe holder of an excavation permit shall have the following responsibilities—
32. Excavation permits not transferrableAn excavation permit shall not be transferrable without the consent of the Minister.
33. Government to refrain from certain acts of publication, etc.The Minister shall—
34. Cancellation of excavation permit
35. Research co-operation
Part VII – Dealing in monuments and relics
36. No dealing in monuments and relics unless licensed
37. Dealer’s licence
38. Cancellation of licence
39. Prohibition of fraud in monuments and relics
Part VIII – Exportation and importation of monuments and relics
40. Export licenceNo person shall export any monument or relic, whether or not such monument or relic is registered, unless he is a holder of a valid licence issued under this Part.
41. Applications for an export licence
42. Validity and duration of an export licenceAn export licence issued under this Part may—
43. Export levyThe Minister may, by order published in the Gazette, impose a levy on exports of monuments or relics and the rate of such levy may relate to the estimated local or export value of the monuments or relics or to the quantity of the monuments or relics.
44. Value of monuments and relics for purpose of export levyThe value of monuments or relics for the purposes of an export levy under section 43 shall be the value declared by the exporter:Provided that where the Chief Antiquities Officer considers, upon reasonable grounds, that the value declared by the exporter is markedly lower than the actual or potential value, he may make his own determination of the value and the export levy on those monuments or relics shall be computed on the basis of the value determined by the Chief Antiquities Officer.
45. Parking of monuments or relics for exportA person licensed to export monuments or relics shall pack the monuments or relics and seal the packages thereof in the presence of the Chief Antiquities Officer and shall affix on the sealed packages a manifest bearing the official stamp of the Chief Antiquities Officer and stating the number and date of issue of his export licence.
46. Seizure of monuments or relics exported without a licenceA customs officer or a police officer shall seize any monument or relic being exported in contravention of the provisions of this Part and shall send the items seized to the Chief Antiquities Officer indicating—
47. Offence for illegal exportsA person who exports any monument or relic without a valid licence or otherwise in contravention of this Part shall be guilty of an offence.
48. Temporary export and import permitsNotwithstanding any other provision of this Act to the contrary, the Minister may grant permission for temporary exportation or importation of monuments or relics for purposes of study or official exhibition of such objects.
49. Recovery of smuggled monuments or relicsThe Minister shall within the terms laid down in agreements, treaties and recommendations of international organizations, arrange to recover monuments or relics smuggled or otherwise taken out of Malawi and may assist in returning those brought into Malawi from other countries.
Part IX – General
50. Right of accessSubject to the provisions of any regulations made under this Act, members of the public shall have a right of access to any monument or any relic which is kept in a place of safe custody under the provisions of section 20.
51. Relinquishment of control over monuments and relicsThe Minister may, where rights have been acquired by the Government in respect of any monument or relic under this Act relinquish the rights so acquired to the person who would for the time being be the owner of such monument or relic as if such rights had not been acquired.
52. Removal of protectionThe Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, declare that any protected or listed monument or a protected relic shall cease to be a protected or listed monument or protected relic.
53. Publication in the GazetteThe Minister shall cause to be published in the Gazette—
54. Public donations
55. General offences
56. General penaltyAny person guilty of an offence under this Act shall be liable to a fine of K10,000 and to imprisonment for three years.
57. No suit against public officers, etc.No suit for compensation and no criminal proceedings shall lie against any public officer, local authority or officer of a local authority in respect of any act done or intended to be done, in good faith in the exercise of any power or performance of any duty conferred under the provisions of this Act.
58. RegulationsThe Minister may make regulations for carrying this Act into effect and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such regulations may, in particular, provide for—
Part X – Repeal and savings
59. Repeal and savings
History of this document
31 December 2014 this version
14 March 1991