Sunday, September 27, 2020

Parliament is within its powers to investigate BDC

At the risk of sounding monotonous and turning the whole thing into a clich├®, we want to applaud parliament for its decision at appoint a select committee to investigate allegations of corruption at BDC.

What parliament has done cannot escape the attention of the public.
It is public duty at its finest.

We also want to commend parliament for sidestepping attempts by some members of cabinet to shoot down the investigations.

As we have previously maintained, the committee’s role or duty will not in any way prejudice the ongoing investigation by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

Rather, parliament investigations while independent and parallel to those of the DCEC will in the final analysis complement each other.

In that respect, we are inclined to borrow from the Ikalanga proverb that “tjinyunyi babili, nkomba woga tjo wuluka” literally translated to mean that complimentary efforts yield better or solid results.

Therefore any insinuation that the parliamentary select committee probe would jeopardize or prejudice DCEC investigations is not only ill-advised but also ill-founded if not out-right disingenuous. Such a belief is completely misplaced.

In the past, complaints have been common place that parliament was always under the shadow of the executive, unable to prove or show its independence.
That seems to be coming to an end.

We are glad that this parliament is bold enough to use the suite of powers brought under its ambit by recent law reforms.

As an oversight institution, it would have been a terrible and unpardonable abdication of authority on the part of parliament not to develop a keen interest in what is happening at BDC.

We are inclined to believe that even the DCEC should be glad to have parliament come to its assistance because at the end of the day, they will be in a position to scrutinize the findings of that committee and compare it with their own going forward in reaching a conclusion on whether any wrong(s) had been committed.

If there is anything that is known by any of the disaffected cabinet ministers who do not want parliament involvement at BDC we advise them to share such information with the parliamentary committee that will be seized with investigating BDC.

As Sunday Standard we are extremely delighted that parliament stood its ground and shot down such side distractions coming from ministers whose objectives are still to become clear.
Such a bold show of independence and maturity is all what we have always called from our legislators.

BDC is a wholly owned government company funded from public coffers.

Our memories are still fresh with instances of how just a decade ago both parliament and cabinet were compelled to put in more money as equity into BDC because the corporation was not able to meet its obligations.

That is public money and there is simply no way parliament cannot have a keen interest when there are such strong allegations that such resources may actually not be used in the best interest of the public.

It is parliament’s duty to jealously safeguard public funds against abuse or looting by anyone, including by cabinet ministers and or BDC executives.

The recent laws on the powers and privileges of parliament are clear that no individual, no company and or corporation, especially those owned by government, are above parliament scrutiny.
As we pride ourselves with our “zero tolerance for corruption” campaign, all our actions should definitely show that we will never be compromised in our zeal to fight corruption.

We have to maintain the international accolades that we have earned as the least corrupt country in Africa. We can only do so if we are seen to fight corruption from all fronts, including from the highest office in the land, that is, the Office of the President.

To President Ian Khama, we implore on you to assist in whatever way you can as the Head of State to ensure that the rot at the BDC is stemmed out and the culprits brought to book for their wrongdoing(s) if ever there is any.

Your official and private support in this particular case is implored and we humbly seek your indulgence.

To parliament, we once again say well done.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.