Leader of opposition Duma Boko has slammed President Ian Khama for authorizing huge expenditure under Presidential directives.
This followed an announcement that Khama through Presidential directive Cab 4(B) 2015 authorized an additional cash injection into Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) for the 2014/2015 financial year.
The Directive approved the issuance of a special warrant amounting to P826, 800,000 towards BPC’s immediate financial obligations.
The same directive also approved a cash injection to support Water Utilities Corporation operations. A special warrant of P560, 000,000 was issued to augment the Water Planning and Developments projects.
Boko who is also Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President said authorisation of such expenditure under a presidential directive was wrong. He said it was improper because it opened an avenue for the executive to spend outside the sanction of parliament and only come to Parliament to ratify it.
Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo came to Khama’s defence insisting that the President used a provision called special warrants from where the authority of Presidential directive emanates.
“You are talking about special warrants existing in your financial regulations and I am talking about the constitution and your special warrants exercisable pursuant is trumped by the constitution; it is not above the constitution,” Boko said.
The UDC President said it was wrong in principle and wrong in substance for the Presidency to sanction huge amount of money and only come to Parliament to seek ratification of such huge expenditures.
“P826 million and P521 million are huge sums of money and for the executive to have carried this out and only come here to seek ratification is singularly improper. It is something that we have to condemn and discourage,” said Boko.
He added that “It is wrong and improper for the executive to engage in huge expenditure without seeking an authorisation from Parliament and only come to Parliament for ratification.”
Boko said the constitution was not a document interpreted by picking one item; you cannot pick one vision and interpret it in an isolated manner.
Boko is of the view that the overall power to legislate and engage in appropriation is vested in Parliament and only in the most urgent and unforeseen circumstances Presidential directives can be used.
“The ideal situation is for the executive to approach Parliament which is the overall authority. For the executive to authorize by way of Presidential directive such huge amount is singularly improper. From now on the executive must be made aware that power to spend or authorize expenditure must come to Parliament first unless it was unforeseen circumstances,” he emphasized.
“Executive cannot spend billions in these manner, they are doing this Parliament and this country disservice,” Boko said.
Boko’s submissions got support even from the ruling party side; Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Member of Parliament for Nata Gweta, Paulson Majaga told Parliament that it was improper to just approve directives without scrutinizing them.
Majaga said time and again Parliament approved supplementary estimates of expenditure from the consolidated and development funds but no results ever come out of the planned projects financed by the extra money requested for by Ministries.