Thursday, May 6, 2021

Parliament investigates corruption better than government ÔÇô MP

Holding up investigatory reports on the Botswana Meat Commission and the Botswana Development Corporation as examples, Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi, has asserted that parliament is better suited to the task of investigating corruption than the government.

Mmolotsi said this when contributing to a motion tabled by his colleague from Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane, who wants the government to investigate the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) for allegations of corruption made against some of its leaders. Such support notwithstanding, Mmolotsi said that such investigations should be done by parliament because it has a good track record in that regard. In the last parliament, he tabled a motion calling for the investigation of a petition launched by a group of Francistown residents to stop a bye-election because of irregularities around the process. The petition was later exposed to be fraudulent, with names of deceased people being used in it. Although the motion won passage, no headway has been made in the matter.

“That is why right now I have a problem with government investigating this matter. I would rather want this matter be investigated by this parliament because we know in the past this parliament has successfully investigated matters like the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), matters like the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) very successfully. The reports are out and therefore, that is why I am saying I support Honourable Moswaane’s motion, but I have a problem with government investigating because … ultimately the report will not be brought to this House and ultimately Honourable Moswaane would be made to forget that at one point he brought a very, very important motion to this honourable house,” Mmolotsi said.

However, this suggestion was strongly opposed by the Leader of the House, Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, who said that parliament was now in trouble as a result of investigating BDC. The report on the latter implicated the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, who took the matter to the High Court to exonerate himself and won. As a result of this outcome, parliament now has to pay costs of the suit. Rising to buttress Masisi’s point, Lobatse MP, Sadique Kebonang, said that “When the court orders that the Speaker of the National Assembly must pay costs, that is Parliament being in trouble.”

That was still not enough to dissuade the opposition that parliament should steer clear of investigating organisations suspected of corruption. Getting his turn on the floor, Bonnington South MP, Ndaba Gaolathe, moved an amendment “That this Honourable House requests a Special Select Committee of Parliament to investigate reports of corruption and maladministration at BNYC and the Minister to suspend all employment contract interventions for employees until the investigations are completed.” However, when the matter was put to a vote, the proposal was defeated and thus the wording of the motion was not changed.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper