Parliamentary committee summons MDAs

 

The Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs has summoned controlling officers in government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to appear before it from July 2 to 4 for non-compliance with recent determinations by the Ombudsman.

This follows a request made by the office of the Ombudsman to the committee.

The Ombudsman has, since last October, released three reports outlining unresolved social injustices, namely Malawi’s Unhealed Wounds, issued in October 2017, Out of Sight, Out of Mind in December 2017, and Painful Processes which was released in January this year.

Thyolera: It is unfortunate

In an interview yesterday, Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Maxwell Thyolera confirmed the development.

He said: “It is very unfortunate, but they should not forget that it is a constitutional office and failure to comply is a violation of the Constitution.”

Ombudsman spokesperson Arthur Semba said on Tuesday they decided to engage the Legal Affairs Committee as their mandate is to report to Parliament.

He said: “We are specifically focusing on the systemic reports that we issued. There was the Workers’ Compensation Tribunal, the Bwaila Mental Health Unit and the National Compensation Tribunal.”

Section 123 of the Constitution gives powers to the Ombudsman to investigate any and all cases of alleged injustice where it does not appear that there is remedy reasonably available in courts.

In a separate interview, Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi, who is also government spokesperson, said government respects the office of the Ombudsman.

He said: “The Ombudsman works closely with government departments and agencies to understand determinations so if there are any challenges there will be thorough discussions.

“I do not think it can reach an extent to be seen as not listening to determinations or confrontational.”

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