Parliament today approved a decision by the Finance Committee to instruct the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate alleged violations of public finance law by the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO).
The decision was made in a report (Dhivehi) forwarded by the Finance Committee after studying violations of the Public Finance Act and regulations under the law flagged in the PGO audit report for 2010.
Reviewing audit reports and recommending measures to be taken by the relevant authorities is part of the mandate of the public accounts oversight committee.
The Finance Committee decision was approved with 51 votes in favour and two abstentions.
The audit report found that the PG office spent a total of MVR 145,596 (US$9,706) in violation of the Public Finance Act.
Among the cases uncovered in the audit that the ACC was asked to investigate, the PGO was found to have spent MVR 40,745 (US$2640) in additional expenses for interior design after moving to its new offices, without an agreement on price and quality of the work as required by section 8.21 of the public finance regulations.
Moreover, the PGO spent MVR 45,938 (US$3000) on an official dinner to participants of an e-crime conference participants in June 2010 without a publicly-announced bidding process.
The Finance Committee decided to send both cases to the ACC for investigation and inform the PGO to take measures to remedy the matters identified in the audit report.
The committee also decided that the Prosecutor General had breached article 17 and 20 of the constitution on non-discrimination and equality before the law as the office has prosecuted cases where the public finance regulations were similarly violated.
After the committee report was passed at today’s sitting, some MPs contended that Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizz would have to be removed from his post due to the decision.
However, Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim – also chair of the Finance Committee – said that Muizz would not be dismissed as the process specified in the constitution had to be followed to remove appointed officials at independent institutions.
Meanwhile, in a press release last week, the PGO said it would “always welcome” investigations by other state institutions into alleged violations of the constitution and laws by the office.
The PGO’s statement also assured that the office would provide “full cooperation” for the investigation.