Dar es Salaam. Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai assured the new Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Mr Charles Kichere, of the legislature’s support on Monday, 04 November 2019, saying the two bodies depend on each other.
Delivering a speech during an event where President John Magufuli swore-in the new CAG, judges, chairman and the deputy chairman for the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, Regional Administrative Secretaries and Tanzania’s ambassador to Kuwait, Mr Ndugai named a number of parliamentary committees whose tasks depend on the CAG’s audit reports.
“We have PAC [Public Accounts Committee], Local Authorities Accounts Committee and Public Investments Committee that depend on your audit reports,” said Mr Ndugai.
He said even other committees, including the Budget Committee will do better by working closely with the CAG.
For the good part of the year 2019, the relationship between Mr Ndugai and outgoing CAG, Prof Mussa has been frosty.
It all started in January when Mr Ndugai ordered Prof Assad to appear before the Parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee for interrogations over a statement he (Prof Assad) made in the US which the Speaker said was undermining the supremacy of the Parliament.
While in the US, Prof Assad held an interview with the United Nations’ Kiswahili Service, where he said his institution (the CAG’s Office) prepares audit reports – portraying that some money has been misused in some areas - which are to be worked on by the Parliament.
“If we are producing reports yet no action is being taken, to me, that’s the weakness of the Parliament….I believe it is a challenge that will be worked on….The Parliament is failing to exercise its responsibilities effectively” he said.
Following Mr Ndugai’s order, Prof Assad was grilled after which, Mr Ndugai announced that the Parliament would not work with him (Prof Assad).
It was against such a background that some analysts were quick to question the appointment of the new CAG on Sunday even as Prof Assad’s first term was indeed expiring on November 4, 2019.
According to Section 6 of the Public Audit Act, 2008, the CAG shall hold office for the fixed term of five years and shall be eligible for renewal for one term only.
It states that unless removed in office through a legal procedure that’s outlined on Article 144 (3) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, the CAG shall only vacate office upon attaining the age of sixty five (65) years.
He may also vacate office when he resigns; by giving a six months’ notice; on account of medical grounds or any other grounds which the President considers sufficient.
Mr Assad, who worked as Associate Professor in the Department of Accounting at the University of Dar es Salaam’s Business School before his appointment as CAG, was born on 6th October 1961. This suggests that until November 3, 2019, Prof Assad was 58 years and 28 days old.
Article 144 of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania states that the CAG shall be obliged to vacate office upon attaining the age of sixty or any other age which shall be prescribed by a law enacted by Parliament.
In this case, the law, enacted by the Parliament obliges the CAG to vacate office upon attaining the age of 65.
Article 144 (2) of the Constitution however says the CAG may be removed from office only for inability to perform the functions of his office (either due to illness or to any other reason) or for misbehaviour or for violating the provisions of the law concerning the ethics of public leaders.
Should the need to remove him from office arise, then the President shall have to appoint a Special Tribunal to probe the reasons behind which the CAG is to be removed from office.
The Special Tribunal shall comprise of a Chairman and not less than two people. The members are to be person who are or have been Judges of the High Court or of the Court of Appeal in any country within the Commonwealth.
Article 144 (4) of the Constitution reads: “If the Special Tribunal appointed in accordance with the provisions of sub-article (3) advises the President that the Controller and Auditor-General be removed from office on grounds of inability to perform functions of his office due to illness or any other reason or on grounds of misbehaviour, then the President shall remove him from office”.