ECOWAS Speaker accuses financial controller of hampering legislative activities
Seeks clarification on approving authority
The Speaker of the Parliament, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Moustapha Cisse-Lo, has decried the attitude of the ECOWAS Financial Controller in the execution of its budgetary provisions.
The Speaker, at a meeting of the 2nd Extraordinary Session of the Parliament, yesterday, raised the question on who decides the size of a mission of the Parliament, given that its missions are contained in the budget.
He expressed the need for clarification on the issue with the authorities of the ECOWAS, saying: “We are elected representatives and all represented here are elected. The ECOWAS Parliament is a special privilege and it is envied by all parliamentarians in their countries. We were sent here to work and we passed a budget to do our work. The financial controller has no right to not approve.
“The role of the financial controller is to not authorise a mission or disbursement of funds, but just to check whether what we are doing is contained in our programme, and whether the funds are available for the mission,” Cisse-Lo said.
The Speaker went further to give examples of two trips on which the Financial Controller had wrongly acted on.One of such trips was a visit to Vienna, Austria, where the Speaker and his Communication Officer, were refused payment of their mission entitlements, as the Financial Controller insisted that only the Speaker was invited on the visit.
“If I am invited somewhere, and to the United Nations at that level, it is up to me to determine who should accompany me to say what on behalf of Parliament.”
In another development, the Speaker said the two Chambers of the Moroccan Legislature invited him and some other colleagues at the Parliament. However, the Financial Controller refused to authorise the mission.
“What right does he have to say that considering that the funds were provided for in the budget? To this moment, we have not even executed our budget 65 per cent. What is the point of passing a budget if you cannot execute it?
“At the Commission, they even go as far as the United States with as much as 20 people, and it is approved.“Should we be a Parliament that is at the mercy of the Financial Controller? No, that is unacceptable, and we are going to fight this to the finish at the Council of Ministers, and at the Summit,” the Speaker further said.
At the close of the session, the Parliament adopted that a Resolution on the Attitude of the Financial Controller, proposed by the Speaker, be examined by the Parliament’s Committee on Finance and Budgetary Control, to look into the issue and advise the Parliament accordingly.
Final deliberations on the Resolution would thereafter be submitted to the authorities of ECOWAS including the Council of Ministers of the Community.
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