The government, through the Ethics Secretariat that administers ethical conduct of public leaders, plans to table a Bill in parliament that seeks to separate Business and Public Leadership, the National Assembly Speaker, Mr Job Ndugai, has said.
Mr Ndugai also pointed out that the strain on the public to contribute to various events, including paying school fees, contributing to funerals and other social events in constituencies, place MPs in a position to easily fall into the trap of corruption.
Mr Ndugai said before the Bill is tabled, MPs will be sensitised on its importance in addition to the need to separate business and public leadership, which is meant to ensure the integrity of public leaders.
He urged all MPs, “including those who usually do not like reading documents presented in parliament to make sure they read and understand the Bill so that they do not regret when it receives parliament endorsement”.
He added: “In developed countries, when one is appointed to take up public office, they hand over the running of their business to someone else and after the period of leadership is over they go back to managing their business.
“In our case you hand over your business to someone else after five or ten years, I don’t know if you will find it still running,” he noted, adding that the Bill has very good intentions that will ensure integrity in public leadership.
Mr Ndugai was speaking during a one day seminar here on the role of Parliamentary Network against Corruption (APNAC) Tanzania chapter in fighting corruption and promoting good governance and strengthening parliamentary oversight in battling corruption.
The National Assembly speaker said some MPs are forced to fall into corruption following the many contributions that they were forced to make in addressing challenges facing members of their constituencies, including paying school fees, contributing to construction of classrooms, desks and funerals, which sometimes leaves an MP broke.
“Such a situation would force a public leader to find other means to get money, including using corrupt ways…. however as MPs and public leaders, you are responsible to be at the forefront in helping to combat corruption,” he pointed out
In assisting the government in the fight against corruption, Mr Ndugai told the MPs to ensure the laws that they endorse do not provide loopholes for corruption as well as refraining from corruption themselves to show a good example to the public.
He called on the MPs to ensure institutions that fight corruption are allocated enough funds to help in fighting corruption. The Speaker said the 5th government was keen on combating corruption in the country and will not spare anyone, who will be implicated regardless of their public standing: “Anyone who will be implicated in any corruption deals will be taken to task, no one will be spared.”
Mr Ndugai said his office acknowledged that the work done by the members of parliament is more important compared to monetary compensation, noting that his office is finding ways to improve the current situation.
He noted that according to the Global Organisations of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC) report, a total of 50 billion US dollars is siphoned from Africa every year in illicit financial outflows. “This is a lot of money leaving the continent each year, which would have gone into uplifting the lives of the majority who are poor,” he said.
The Minister of State in the President’s Office (Public Service Management and Good Governance), Ms Angela Kairuki, called on the MPs to be an example by leading the fight against corruption.
“As MPs, we need to be a good example to the public, we are supposed to be above any accusations of corruption…. we should be at the forefront leading by example in the fight against corruption,” she noted.
She acknowledged that the laws on corruption were not providing stern legal measures against culprits of corruption, noting that a Bill to amend the law will soon be tabled in parliament, asking the MPs to support the amendments. When contributing to the discussion, Mr Ally Keissy (Nkasi-CCM) said corruption would not be combated in the country because judicial institutions mainly the courts are still letting culprits of grand corruption work free, calling on PCCB to conduct investigations into some of the country’s courts.
Right after the seminar, some MPs noted that they would not let the Bill that wants to separate Business and Public Leadership go through because to some of them, business was the major means of livelihood.
“Many of us here are business people; that is our livelihood…. this is difficult to comprehend. I do not think this Bill will go through if what my colleagues’ position is anything to go by,” said one of the MPs who declined to be named.
Source: All Africa