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Bill to give DCEC more powers, autonomy

GOITSEMODIMO KAELO
Keorapetse
Member of Parliament for Selebi-Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse has notified the National Assembly of his intention to table a Bill to amend the Corruption and Economic Crime Act (CECA), which established the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

According to Keorapetse, the purpose of the Bill is to make the DCEC more independent and improve its powers, effectiveness and efficiency and appear before the Public Accounts Committee for examination of its books of account.  This will also see the DCEC have, amongst other things, the powers to prosecute and broaden its scope to cover offences such as insider trading that clearly prohibit ministers and all civil servants above rank of Director and parastatals CEOs or their close family from doing any business with government or parastatals they work for. On the letter he wrote to the Parliamentary Counsel, Keorapetse indicated that he wants the DCEC to be an independent legal entity and for its Director to be the appointing and disciplinary authority.

“Moreover, I want the DCEC to account directly to Parliament,” he said.

According to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) legislator, the DCEC should be run and be overseen by a board known as the Anti-corruption Board consisting of the following: the minister responsible for justice or any representative appointed by the minister, three MPs appointed to reflect party representation in Parliament, BOCONGO, Law Society, UB Law Department (HOD), Business Botswana

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and DCEC Director General as an Ex-Officio member.

“This will ensure that the DCEC becomes an organisation that possesses clout and is separate from the government, but whose activities serve the State, this board is to be appointed by minister responsible for justice in accordance with the provision of the Act,” he said.

He added that the DCEC should directly account to Parliament through the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Governance and Oversight.

“It’s report should come straight to Parliament and be presented by the Board Chairman and DG to the Portfolio Committee on Governance and Oversight, then Chairman of the Committee present this report to Parliament,” he said. Keorapetse also want the DG to appointed by the Board on a non-renewable term of 5 years, with tenure security similar to that of the Director of Public Prosecutions and or Auditor General.

In addition, he wants Section 15(2) of the Act to be deleted to eliminate any potential by the President to interfere with DCEC investigations.

Moreover, he is of the view that Section 44 should include a role of investigative journalism cater for it and not criminalise journalists as is the case now.



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