15 April 2019

Tanzania: Speaker to Cag - Resign

NATIONAL Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai yesterday accused the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Prof Mussa Assad of 'continued contempt of parliament,' advising him to think of resigning.

The vividly infuriated Speaker charged that the house was not ready to remain tonguetied as the CAG continues humiliating the organ, which also comprises the president and his entire cabinet.

"The president is part of the parliament and most of the resolutions passed wait for his approval... ministers who form the cabinet also report to this body.

If Prof Assad is aware of this, then it is high time he rethought of his position as the country's CAG," said Speaker Ndugai.

He was briefing reporters in Dar es Salaam on the recent mix-ups that resulted from the parliament's decision against working with Prof Assad while the CAG's report was tabled and discussed in the house.

"The parliament decided against working with Prof Musa Assad (pictured) who has displayed professional arrogance, using demeaning words against everyone, including the people's representatives... we have no problem with the CAG as an office," he said.

It all started in January this year when Prof Assad was quoted by one of the foreign radio describing the parliament as 'too week' to hold the government accountable in various expenditures of public funds.

The statement aggrieved the parliament, prompting Speaker Ndugai to summon the CAG to the Parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee to justify his statement.

Mr Ndugai said Prof Assad has continually been using the word 'too weak,' which is contempt of parliament.

He affirmed that there was no way such negative remark against the law-making body could be entertained, wondering that even after Prof Assad appeared before the committee, he continued uttering the offensive words against the parliament.

Mr Ndugai wondered from where the CAG Assad was getting the courage to audit or evaluate the performance of parliament.

"The CAG or any other person has no jurisdiction to audit or monitor parliamentary sessions, his powers end with auditing of parliament just as an institution, especially on its finances, but not to evaluate its sessions and giving reports, this is so in all common wealth parliament systems," Mr Ndugai said, adding that the CAG works for the parliament, which intensively analyses his reports before directing the government on the appropriate moves.

He said the parliament has always been collaborating with the government to verify and implement the CAG's reports through various decisions without necessarily publicising its measures.

"The government is fighting corruption, laziness, theft and misuse of public property and offices, this fight succeeds by the fact that the parliament reviews CAG's reports, verifies reported queries and eventually proposes short, medium and long-term measures to the government," he said.

Speaker Ndugai said for sake of natural justice, after CAG report is presented in the house, the audit queries are assigned to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Local Authorities Accounts Committee (LAAC), which conduct due diligence and report back to the house for the rightful measures.

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