THE chairperson of the parliamentary committee on commissions, statutory authorities and state enterprises, Patrick Amuriat, told accounting officers of these entities not to pay allowances to the Members of Parliament during inspection visits to their projects.
Amuriat was responding to inquiries from the accounting officers who, during a meeting with the committee, sought to know how the MPs should be handled on such visits. A top official from the National Forestry Authority (NFA) had earlier indicated that the organization had paid per diem and accommodation expenses for MPs on a tour of the projects undertaken by the forestry authority.
Amuriatâ€™s clarification has been long overdue. There have been reports that often when MPs are carrying out inspection visits on projects implemented by ministries or other state agencies, they ask for â€œfacilitationâ€ from these entities. Other reports have stated that state agencies at times host MPs at lavish hotels and pay them generous allowances calculated to compromise these MPs.
It is unacceptable for MPs to solicit or accept payments from ministries or other state agencies, which they are supposed to supervise.
This amounts to double pay, since MPs are adequately facilitated by Parliament to carry out their responsibilities. The reason MPs were given mandate, under the Constitution, to determine their remuneration is to ensure they are financially protected from inducements that could compromise them in their course of work. Thus, MPs get a higher pay compared to other public servants.
Parliament, as an institution, should rigorously enforce the MPsâ€™ code of conduct. Among other things, the code obliges MPs not to place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in performance of their duties. MPs must be above board in their conduct.
Members of Parliament must be above board