Government has tabled a motion that will force Parliamentarians to declare their annual earnings and assets.
According to Notice Paper # 55, released by the Parliament Office yesterday, the motion will be tabled by Prime Minister Sam Hinds during the next sitting scheduled for June 13 and June 14.
Hinds, the Minister responsible for Parliamentary Affairs, is asking that defaulting Members of Parliament” be sanctioned by the House, according to established norms of ethics.
“They should also be brought before the Committee of Privileges,” the motion proposed.
Should the government have its way on this motion; Parliament will have the powers to conduct an annual voluntary monitoring exercise to ensure compliance by Members of Parliament.
The motion will also ask the House to have the President disclose to the Speaker annually the names of those Members of Parliament in default.
There have been growing questions over the assets of several politicians with a number of them reportedly owning mansions with pools after just a few years in office.
The Prime Minister in the motion explained that the Integrity Commission Act was passed in the House in 1997 and made into law on September 24, 1997 as the Integrity Commission Act 1997, Chapter 19:12, Act No. 20 of 1997.
The Commission and support staff were established shortly after and all persons in public life in high office were expected to be in compliance with this law.
The Act empowers the Commission and the President to publish the names of persons who are not in compliance in the Gazette and in the daily newspapers. It also addresses the offences and penalties for failure to comply which include fines and imprisonment.
The government motion said that “all elected officials, and more so, Members of Parliament in particular… are expected to be standard bearers of ethics in public office and uphold the Code of Conduct outlined in the Act and in Schedule II.”
Hinds is also seeking to have the House recognise the “lawful and legal obligation of Members of Parliament to submit annual declarations and call on all Members of this National Assembly to submit their declarations in accordance with the law.”
Failure or refusal of Members of Parliament to submit declarations will become a violation of the law and a gross indictment of those Members of Parliament and vicariously on the integrity of Parliament,” the motion said.
Meanwhile, the Parliament Office announced yesterday that the sitting of the National Assembly which was scheduled for June 7 has been postponed to June 13 and June 14.
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