By Thoboloko Nts’onyane
MASERU – The newly elected Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Hope leader Hon ‘Machabana Lemphane-Letsie has said she will see to it that actions are taken against culprits that will be found wanting.
She told this publication on Sunday.
The incoming PAC Chairperson said they will see to it that there is an implementation of the committee’s recommendations after they have been tabled and adopted by the parliament.
Usually headed by men, the PAC will now be headed by a woman.
PAC was established through the Public Accounts Committee Order 19(2) (1), 1972.
It charges the PAC thus: “In its examination of accounts, the Committee will, inter alia, satisfy itself that there is adequate control over the collection of revenue and that [sums of money] voted have been applied only for purposes intended and enquire into such cases of unauthorised access on heads and subheads of expenditure as it deems necessary and investigate cases of wastage or extravagance brought to its notice by the Auditor General in the course of its deliberations.”
She highlighted that the PAC does not litigate but said the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) can even before the committee concludes its work. Hon Letsie said once there is a prima facie case, the DECO can approach the courts in such instances.
The PAC’s composition is made of its members being MPs (members of parliament), Auditor-General’s staff, police and DCEO officers.
She warned that if the parliament does not have measures in place to ensure that the appropriate action is taken against those found wanting by the investigations, then the whole exercise she said will be like “naming and shaming”.
She accused the 10th parliament PAC saying it was handling other issues that are outside ambit of its mandate.
The incoming Chairperson warned that if the committee derails from its mandate, it risks losing credibility as no one will likely appear before it when summoned. She referred to the instances where some officials petitioned court to interdict the committee from summoning them, saying if it loses such cases the committee’s “credibility is doubtful”.
As the committee she said it is critical that they appreciate the laws regulating the public servants and the public funds.
She also highlighted that the PAC will engage other portfolio committees when some ministries under their scope are suspected of irregularity.
Hon Letsie mentioned that they have a lot of work as the 11th parliament PAC as they will be working on the Auditor-General’s reports from that of 2017/2018.