Thursday, May 6, 2021

Truant BDP MPs frustrate opposition led Public Accounts Committee

The ongoing session of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which is chaired by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is being paralysed by Botswana Democratic Party MPs who are playing truant
Accounting officers from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Technology together with Ministry of Trade and Industry who were scheduled to appear before the committee on Friday had to be sent back because the committee failed to form a quorum. The PAC is one of the Parliamentary Committees charged with overseeing the activities of the Executive. PAC is specifically responsible for overseeing government expenditure through calling ministries and parastatals to appear and account in accordance with Section 95(3) of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly of Botswana. MP Ignitions Moswaane is one of the members who have never attended the PAC session since the committee started examining financial books from government departments this year.
MPs Biggie Butale and Paulson Majaga only attended the session once since it started sitting; Guma Moyo and Shawn Nthaile are the only two BDP MPs who regularly attend the ongoing PAC sessions. Butale confirmed that he did not tender an apology during his absence. He said when the committee started examining the books of government departments a few weeks ago he was at a Pan African Parliament and he thought it was logical that the members of the PAC knew that he would be absent. “I am currently engaged with other political activities hence my absence at the PAC. I am not aware that PAC was unable to sit last week Friday because they did not form a quorum,” he said. Sunday Standard has learnt that the BDP members are allegedly being absent from the sessions because they want to make it difficult for a committee chaired by the opposition to achieve its mandate.
The committee is likely to be paralysed when Guma Moyo who has been one of the two BDP regulars at the committee attends a session of another committee probing alleged maladministration and corruption at Statistics Botswana. The committee is expected to start work this week. There are even claims that the relationship between the ruling BDP MPs and the opposition in the PAC is strained.Reports indicate that after being absent from PAC session and after completion of the examination on government department financial books the same BDP MPs reject the report compiled by the committee. In 2010 Members of Parliament of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party rejected a report the committee made in which it was found that the government misappropriated money from the National Disaster Fund to establish the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS). Efforts to get comments from other members of the committee were unsuccessful. The chairman of the committee, Abraham Kesupile’s phone also rang unanswered.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper