SSD Legislative Lethargy: Allegations of Government Corruption Soar as Parliament’s Teeth Remain Blunt
In a striking illustration of the apparent powerlessness of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), a member of this body raised concerns on Tuesday regarding the alleged impunity of government officials who hold assets in foreign nations, suspecting these assets to be the ill-gotten gains of corruption.
Representing Tonj North County in Warrap State, Nyibol Bol Matiop openly accused certain government officials of engaging in shadowy enterprises and corrupt practices instead of fulfilling their duty to serve the citizens.
Matip pointed out a glaring inconsistency within the Conduct of Business of Parliament, which ostensibly restricts high-ranking government officials from participating in government contracts to prevent corruption. However, she expressed dismay at the widespread perception that many ministers were embroiled in corrupt dealings and the misappropriation of public funds.
“In accordance with the Conduct of Business, only ordinary members are permitted to conduct business transactions, while ministers, chairpersons, or their deputies are prohibited,” she asserted. “Yet, it appears that ministers have taken control of all aspects, including the signing of deals and contracts.”
Matip made these remarks during the deliberation of the Anticorruption Commission 2009 Act (Amendment) Bill 2023.
She further alleged that numerous enterprises, including the Freedom Hall where TNLA convenes, are purportedly owned by government officials who transfer funds to their overseas-based families.
“Any minister who is derelict in their duties should not attend cabinet meetings. Today is supposed to be a day for ministers to be in parliament, yet many of them are conspicuously absent, preoccupied with trips to Dubai and South Africa, as if they were ministers of those countries,” she decried. “They seldom visit their constituencies and choose to establish residences in East Africa instead.”
Matip passionately called upon parliament to establish a committee tasked with investigating senior government officials whose primary residences are located abroad, with the objective of ascertaining the origins of their wealth.
“As soon as a new minister assumes office, it seems their first priority is to acquire properties in the UK, America, and Singapore,” she asserted. “These overseas properties should undergo thorough scrutiny, and we will form a parliamentary committee to ensure that the findings are meticulously documented.”
Matip also criticized the country’s leadership for what she perceived as the appointment and reappointment of individuals tainted by corruption to high-ranking positions, highlighting a worrying trend where even those dismissed from office find their way back into influential roles.