Two press conferences yesterday evening placed more information relative to the oil commissions scandal in the public domain, just a few hours after two other businessmen were arraigned in Court.
With four men in court on charges of corruption, bribery and money laundering the two press conferences resulted in various other declarations which would result in a queue of resignations in any civilised country.
There seems to be anticipated delight in the pot calling the kettle black.
In this scenario, a number of omissions by those elected to Parliament over the years assume additional significance.
One undoubtedly queries the lack of a Whistleblowers Act which if enacted in accordance with electoral commitments would have established long ago clear parameters to be followed by those divulging information on economic crime (corruption, bribery and money laundering). In its absence we are still dependent of the elected politicians’ use of the instrument of “state evidence” on the basis of ad hoc criteria.
Alternattiva Demokratika yesterday focused on another important point: the manner in which appointments to public office are made. To date the powers of Parliament have been usurped and transferred to Cabinet such that it is the Prime Minister or his Minsters who appoint members of Boards or Authorities.
Parliament should reclaim its responsibilities as it should be Parliament that should decide on the appointment of Boards and Authorities of a national importance. Nominated members of Boards of Public Authorities as well as the senior officials of such Authorities should be scrutinised by Parliament either directly or through its committees in order to ascertain that those nominated can truely serve the country and not the political interests of the political party in government.
Parliament should moreover be in a position to monitor the functions of Boards and Authorities on a continuous basis and should seek explanations from the Boards of Public Authorities and their Senior Executives on their method of operation. Parliament should ensure that whenever the operations of any public authority are scutinised by the Ombudsman his recommendations and their implementation should be discussed by Parliament.
Parliament should reclaim back from government its role of overseeer of the governance of public institutions. Unfortunately over the years a two-party Parliament has siphoned off Parliament’s responsibilities and assigned them to a government made out of just one political party.
AD in Parliament will ensure that Parliament reclaims back its functions and holds government to account continuously.
Originally published in di-ve.com on 22nd February 2013