OC Warns Current MPs on SIP Funds
BY MATTHEW VARI
THE Ombudsman Commission (OC) has sounded a warning to current MPs contesting for the 9th parliament to not meddle with development funds of their districts and provinces as it issued directives to various public organisations and the banking sector to adhere to.
Its directives will see a conditional freeze being taken on accounts earmarked specifically for development in provinces and districts under the Services Improvement Programs (SIPs) for districts (DSIP) and provinces (PSIP) and all development grant funds.
Chief Ombudsman Michael Dick, in a press conference informed of the decision to impose the condition freeze that will see a committee set up between key departments of the State and the OC to vet all funding payments and claims during the duration of the 2017 election process beginning yesterday.
“We have these directions that we have just issued which are becoming subject of much talk especially with the MPs- we need to inform the public and the MPs on the stand and nature of the directives,” the chief ombudsman said. “The direction is a lawful direction under the law and any of the persons that is named in the direction is required to comply.”
“Failing that is subject to prosecution and that is the thing that persons to whom we issue the directions need to take note that this is a lawful direction and we need to take note.”
Those included in the direction includes all provincial and district MPs with their respective budgetary committees, administrators and district CEOs- also ministers for finance, treasury, national planning, rural development, and their respective department heads-and also the governor of the central bank and all heads of commercial banks.
The chief maintained that the conditional freeze would not hinder the needs for district and provinces to continue their development endeavors, however, maintained that scrutiny was vital both to protect money that belongs to the people and also protect current sitting members that may face scrutiny after the polls if they are not scrutinized in the use of development funds.
“The accounts from which all these funds go through the provincial governments and district administrations is for them to note that this is a conditional freeze in the sense that we the ombudsman commission are not going to put any permanent stop to any development process.”