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Boko scorns at Government’s oversight model

Publishing Date : 12 August, 2019


Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Advocate Duma Boko has dismissed Government’s oversight and accountability model of appointment of senior Government officials by the head of state.

He said the secret code between the appointing authority and the appointed office bearers create room for abuse of office and non-accountability as no one knows the terms and conditions to which an officer has been appointed. Advocate Boko was speaking at the UDC’s public lecture on the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Bill, 2019 at Oasis Motel on Monday evening following his party’s rejection of the bill in parliament.

He said that as UDC they reject the bill because in its current form, the Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is the custodian of the disclosures yet the president makes his appointment on such “sweetheart terms and conditions” as only he the president deems fit.

Advocate Boko noted that the UDC rejects the bill and calls upon all citizens to reject it and demand to be taken seriously. He said Batswana have not been consulted on the bill but it is already in parliament being debated, adding that if not rejected it will be published. He said instead of institutionalising corruption, Government must be alive to the pressing need to institutionalise public participation as an integral part of oversight function.

He said his Government would take Batswana serious by making sure that government officials are people of integrity, are transparent and accountable as this strengthens oversight institutions. He stated that it is time oversight institutions are “freed from the shackles of the executive” and be made fully accountable to parliament. He further said as members of parliament, they must be resolute in asserting parliament’s oversight role to enhance democracy.

Boko noted that when institutions of governance are not well structured, no amount of money would save it. Reflecting on the institutional repertoire of the DCEC, the Leader of Opposition said the DCEC have failed miserably since its inception and therefore cannot be entrusted with the declaration of assets and liabilities bill. “ We are lumping more responsibilities on an institution that is already failing,” said Boko.

 “The Director General is the pivotal person in the disclosure of assets when his appointment terms and conditions are secret. The president must first disclose the terms and conditions of such appointment and that is the missing link from the legislation,” he said. He further pointed out that the legislation as it is simply wants officials to declare without scrutiny to ascertain the disclosures as accurate, and the information remains secret between the Director General and the declarant. He said Government could not purport to have come out in the open when whoever will come across the information will be charged and imprisoned since the information is meant to be secret.

“Why do we declare and remove the information from the public eye, why is the declared information hidden under lock and key?” he asked rhetorically. He further reiterated that declaring for concealment is not any means to take the nation to where it wants to be. Boko said in applying the means-end calculus logic to the legislation, it is clear that the means with which the bill seeks to achieve the curbing of corruption and illicit enrichment by senior government officials and politicians will not yield the intended objective.

“Where is the scrutiny to ensure that the tendency for corruption will be eliminated, what do we use to detect corruption by those who have the power to engage in it?” he asked, emphasizing that the legislation should include some form of investigation so that unexplained and unexplainable wealth can be easily be identified and forfeited to the state. He emphasized that the secrecy to which Director Generals across all government oversight institutions are appointed has collapsed accountability and transparency, which the bill seeks to achieve.



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