Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga yesterday hit back at Attorney-General (AG) Johannes Tomana accusing him of interfering with his ministry’s operations.
This follows a recent directive by Tomana seeking to stop the arrest of Members of Parliament accused of abusing the Constituency Development Fund allocations.
On March 5, Tomana wrote to the Acting Permanent Secretary in Matinenga’s ministry alleging the latter had submitted “clumsy” reports to the AG’s Office.
“No law obliges the ministry to report to you,”
Matinenga said in written response to Tomana.
“I fail to understand how you would have believed that you have the mandate or authority to direct what the ministry can and cannot do. As your directive is obviously unlawful, this ministry will simply ignore it.”
Matinenga said the AG was reported in the State media saying his ministry had submitted “clumsy” reports to the AG’s Office, but denied his ministry ever directly communicated with Tomana regarding any audit or investigation.
Matinenga said Tomana cited a wrong section arguing his ministry had complied with the Public Finance Management Act in the audit reporting procedures.
“Where an audit suspects criminal conduct, the audit passes that information to a criminal investigator be it the Anti-Corruption Commission or the police,” Matinenga said.
“The investigator presents the results of the investigation to you for consideration as to whether a prosecution should follow.”
Matinenga said his ministry was fully aware of its responsibilities to account for public funds and would continue carrying out the audit exercise and co-operate with relevant institutions if any audit observation so demanded.
“At the end of the day, all parties should seek to conduct themselves in a professional and non-partisan manner. Gratuitous interference will not enhance this,” Matinenga said
“I do not hold any brief for the Anti-Corruption Commission or the police. I note, however, that whilst you can instruct the Commissioner-General of Police to investigate (not to stop an investigation) any matter in terms of Section 76 (4a), you cannot do the same to the Anti-Corruption Commission — an independent constitutional body.”