Dodoma. National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai yesterday said the decision whether the 2017/18 Controller and Auditor General (CAG) report would be tabled in Parliament for discussion or not would be made after receiving the document.
“I can’t speak about something (CAG report) that is yet to reach my office. Let’s wait,” said Mr Ndugai during a press conference in Dodoma.
Last week, Prof Assad submitted his 2017/18 audit report to President John Magufuli at State House as required by law.
According to Article 143 (4) of the Constitution, the CAG is obliged to submit his audit reports to the President, who then is required to direct its forwarding to Parliament within seven days during the first sitting of the National Assembly.
The Speaker’s response on the fate of the CAG report, follows a question posed to him on whether Parliament will be ready to receive the report, which was signed by the CAG, Prof Mussa Assad, whom Parliament resolved to stop working with.
Mr Ndugai insisted that Parliament did not resolve to stop working with the CAG, as an institution, but rather with Prof Assad.
He said, his Parliament was and would continue working with the CAG officials as it used to.
“CAG is not a person, but an institution that I have great respect for. We don’t have a problem with its officials. We will even cement our working relationships further,” said the Speaker.
He said no single Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Local Authority Accounts Committee (LAAC) meetings were being held in the absence of CAG officials.
He wondered why Prof Assad was undermining Parliament yet he was an integral part of parliamentary proceedings.
“We expected that a person of his kind to present his concerns to Parliament despite looking down at it (Parliament),” noted Mr Ndugai.
However, Prof Assad has drawn support from stakeholders following Parliament’s resolution.
The institute that advocates public accountability, Wajibu, which was founded by former CAG Ludovic Utouh, has warned that the ongoing tussle between Parliament and and Prof Assad could ruin the continuity of transparency and accountability in the country.
The comment issued by the institute’s board says that according to article 143 (4) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977 (as amended from time to time) and section 34 (2) of the National Audit Act No. 11 of 2008, the President will direct the presentation of CAG report within seven days of the first sitting of Parliament, which is held after he has received the report.
“If Parliament has resolved not to work with the CAG, it means that they have refused to fulfil one of its key responsibilities, which is holding the Executive accountable,” said Mr Harold Sungusia, an independent lawyer based in Dar es Salaam, in an interview with The Citizen.
For his part, Mr Hamza Jabir, another lawyer, said it was impossible to separate Prof Assad, as a person, from the office he is holding because he is the chief executive of the office.
“Only the President has the mandate to remove the CAG from office as per Article144 of the constitution, which provide procedures for removal of the CAG from office,” observed Mr Jabir.