MPs want OP relieved of excess baggage

Nicholas Mokwena - BG reporter
Wednesday, 06 March 2019
MPs want OP relieved of excess baggage

Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Nonofo Molefhi says it would be a long process to fully make some institutions under his ministry independent. The minister told Parliament that to move from Office of the President, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Ombudsman, Auditor General and Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) will take time as processes for their transfer to be independent would take time.

“Independence that the Members of Parliament are talking about will be a process. It would not happen within three (3) months as some suggest. I would have to engage in legislative process which takes time. It cannot just be an announcement that I make. What is happening now is that all these institutions have administrative and operational independence,” said the minister.

Molefhi pointed out that if DCEC could not undertake investigations in any case, the organisation would be failing the nation because it has operational independence. He said Batswana should be encouraged to continue to report corruption. The minister was responding to queries by MPs when debating the budget for his ministry. The MPs indicated that the time is now for the aforesaid institutions to be moved out of the Office of the President. They argued that even if there is administrative independence which they doubt exists, it is important for the institutions not to be under the control of OP.

The minister revealed that in an effort to fight corruption the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Bill will be tabled during the July session. He said the Bill is awaiting re-submission to Cabinet following a benchmarking visit to Rwanda by the DCEC.
“In pursuit of refining the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, which will be used to improve monitoring and evaluation of anti-corruption programmes now and in future, the DCEC has benchmarked with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and National Strategy Office.

The Directorate is in the process of finalising the framework to facilitate utilisation by Monitoring and Evaluation Unit”. MP for Gaborone Central Dr. Phenyo Butale said there is need for clear change of thinking and the institutions should be moved from OP. The legislator pointed out that if government wants to talk about legislative reforms but still has DCEC, Auditor General and Ombudsman and other institutions under OP, no achievement will be realised.  He said the institutions can be supervised by Parliament. “We can benchmark with other Parliaments and have these institutions to be accountable. We need to be consistent as government in what we want to do,” he told Parliament.

MP for Gantsi North Noah Salakae said the current government does not take Batswana seriously. He also expressed concern about the expenditure of the presidential ministry.  He said this is one ministry where wastage of funds is rampant. He wondered why the Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo continues to allow such spending at the presidential ministry. Salakae stated there is nothing that President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi is fixing as he is making Batswana to believe.

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