13 November 2012

Ethiopia: How the House Supervises Government Institutions?

Closely following up and controlling the respective undertakings of a range of institutions is one of the various duties and responsibilities the House of Peoples' Representatives has been granted by the constitution.

It is well recognized that the House is entitled to control government bodies. It has also given the authority, as stipulated in the constitution article 55, to control and closely states in which human right violation is out of control or when they are incapable of managing it accordingly. It has also scrupulously followed up whether public properties are pumped for the intended target and activities in government sector offices are run in line with the benefit of the society as well as keeping the laws and procedures. It has also closely investigating and following up sector offices whether democracy, good governance, citizens rights are properly respected, the presence of firm cooperation among and between government bodies and at what level they are entertaining fair and rapid development.

Controlling means

Based on the authority granted by the Constitution, the House of Peoples' Representatives urges government bodies to present a report about their activities undertaken so far to the House or to the concerned committee in person at least once a year. When the House wants to scrutinize the report it usually fore-brings experts working for institutions, witnesses, documents, ministries. When it also wants to clarify institutions budget flow, it orders relevant bodies to hold financial investigation on the respective institutions. The HPRs has also incorporated tips and exposure from the government bodies, committees, non-governmental bodies and the public at large with a view to fostering its control and supervision.

Reports presented to the house

The House, in advance, prepares the way it can properly listen to the various reports and help it come up with commendable results. Next, the house speaker notifies the sector offices when and where they would present their reports at least a month before. The one who is going to present the report to the House should be a chief, head or director. If the head would like his colleagues to be with him or support him or whom he wants them to take part in the meeting, he is expected to annex their manes with the report a day before the date of the report. If he/she has come across difficulty not to present the report he/she has to notify the house speaker in advance. If the request is convincing, as far as the House speaker in concerned, he/she will be allowed to delegate someone. This means, the report is allowed to be presented by the vice head or the representative. The report presented by the institutions should be in accordance with the code of ethics of the House. Hence, the institutions prepare their reports revolving around their work activities including the undertaken ones and action plan, budget performance, human resource administration, attained outcomes, challenges encountering the institutions in due course of running various activities. Finally, they submit the report incorporating head's signature to the house speaker in advance at least ten days before the deadline given to them. The report would be transferred to the concerned body through the House speaker. If the House needs the report assessing a single issue, the report is presented in a way that can appraise the whole idea. And if the House suspects that the report is not full as expected and if finds basic problems that need to be addressed well, it passes order to the concerned committee for further scrutiny. If it feels otherwise, steps would be taken as per the House code of conduct.

Auditing and investigating evidences

The House employes documents investigation and listening to witnesses to address the challenges appeared on a certain institution. And the concerned body whom the House identified to present the document is ordered with a letter. So, it urges the identified body to present the document be it the original or the copy one. The individual who is going to present the document is requested to pay an oath for conformation of the authenticity of the document he/she is going to present. Next, the House continues investigating or confirming the documents listening to witnesses by itself of through committees. This process is held either in written aspects of question and answer fashion. The eye witness is provided with a chance to explain his ideas if he/she does have something crucial yet unmentioned. At last, having accomplished the investigation of the required document, it is brought back to the concerned body. When the House guesses that a certain sector office has misused the budget allocated to it, higher budget abuse or being extravagant is witnessed, the federal auditor general or another body it represents is ordered to hold auditing in the institution. Listening to the report, as per the regulation and laws for activities flow, the House would take appropriate measures.

Acceptable tips

The House accepts ideas concerning affairs that might have caused, might cause, damage on public and government properties, which might obstacles of the government policies, strategies and directives, the potential area that can arouse conflict among or between people. Ideas revolving around human right violation, huge property damage or life loss and great man made or natural catastrophes are also quite acceptable. Any tips and ideas to be presented to the House should have written evidences, the name of the tip provider, full address and signature. Tips without all these could not be acceptable. The House is duty-bound to keep the name of tip providers confidential. After the decision has passed on the tips, the tip provider will be informed about the verdict.

Steps to solve problems

The House takes the following steps of resolution on the challenges and problems widely witnessed in government bodies or sector offices.

1. If the problem emanates from the laws, the House gets the bodies helped by the law or gets the law bridges bridged.

2. The House has taken appropriate correction measures on the problems in relation to budget affairs.

3. The House has again provided the sector office with guidelines to get it notified about the problem or work hard to get the problems corrected.

Then the House would make sure that the problem is corrected in line with the feedback given. If the problem could not be corrected and is the fundamental one, the house would get measures taken upon the countable body through the prime minister. It also follows up the proper implementation of taking steps accordingly.

For understanding

Authorities or officials elected, assigned and whose assignment is endorsed

According to the constitution, the House elects, assigns, appoints, or endorse the assignment of the following officials

1. The House speakers and deputy house speaker

2. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Prime Minister

3. FDRE supreme court president, vice-president and other federal courts judges

4. Ministries

5. Commissioners

6. Federal auditor general

7. Members of the electoral board

8. Members of the population census and other officials whose assignment should be confirmed by the House

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