FPAC represented at the Sadcopac meetings and training in Zimbabwe |30 March 2022
The Southern Africa Development Community Organisation of Public Accounts Committees (Sadcopac) in collaboration with the Parliament of Zimbabwe hosted a Governing Council Meeting and two-day training from March 23 to 25, 2022 in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The sessions organised were attended by the vice-chairperson of the FPAC, Hon. Terence Mondon, Hon. Churchill Gill and the deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, Alexandria Faure, who is also the secretary to the Committee.
Hon. Mondon in his capacity as the vice-chairperson of the FPAC, accompanied by the deputy Clerk, attended the Governing Council Meeting of Sadcopac whereby they actively participated in discussions surrounding the strategic development of Sadcopac, reviewed audit reports and agreements, as well as discussed matters concerning the programme of activities for 2022/2023.
The delegation pushed for further collaboration with international entities to build the capacity of the SADC Public Accounts Committees in illicit financial transaction investigations.
The delegation also met with the chairperson of the Sadcopac, Hon. Warren Chisha Mwambazi, MP and discussed pertinent matters relating to the context of the FPAC in Seychelles and reaffirmed the need to continue strengthening the organisation for the benefit of the SADC member states.
On March 24 and 25, 2022, the delegation participated in the two-day training which involved the attendance of chairpersons and members of the Public Accounts Committees (PAC) of the different member states, as well as the Committee Clerks of the respective Committees. Presentations and discussions on conducting efficient public hearings; writing reports and the implementation of resolutions involved different parliaments showcasing their best practices and procedures of their respective PACs.
The delegates heavily discussed the importance of independent institutions and ways to improve their respective parliamentary procedures to strengthen the impact of the PACs.
Hon. Mondon said: “I was particularly interested in the presentation on Transfer Pricing and Illicit Financial Flows. It is estimated that Africa is losing USD 89 billion yearly due to illicit financial transactions and that makes me wonder how much Seychelles is losing through those activities. So, the issue of Transfer of Pricing is an area which FPAC should also be focusing on this year and for us to be effective in the oversight of such transactions, we need to ensure that FPAC members and support staff build up their capacity to understand the subject. We need to have a greater insight on how these transactions can be properly addressed and learning from the experience of other SADC member states through Sadcopac is a way to achieve this endeavour.”
The members present addressed pertinent questions on practices for public hearings, bi-partisanship and the chairmanships of the PACs. Debates ensued on certain matters relating to accountability and reporting mechanisms.
In addition, the importance of continuing the practice of the leaders of the opposition/opposition members chairing the PACs was highlighted, as well as the importance of bi-partisanship towards the work of the Committees as crucial oversight mechanisms.
While participating actively in the sessions Hon. Gill mentioned that “The discussions were very candid and of a very high level, which demonstrates the strategic level that Sadcopac intends to go. One thing is certain, that all the countries present do agree that African countries need to consolidate all its efforts for the betterment of individual countries and Africa as a continent. As for Seychelles as a country it was clear that to a large extent we are ahead on many of the issues highlighted”.
During the debate on the important role of the PACs in promoting the Office of the Auditor Generals to be independent, it was tabled that South Africa and Seychelles were the only countries present that ranked highly in the Supreme Audit Institutions Independence Index 2021 Report by the World Bank.
The Offices of the Auditor Generals of Zambia, Lesotho and Namibia made presentations on their mandates, public debt management and case studies of each countries mode of operation.
Sadcopac is an autonomous and independent association of Public Accounts Committees from SADC states established to promote mutual support; foster the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and experiences; act as a recognised voice of Public Accounts Committees within the SADC community; and promote accountability, good governance and transparency in the SADC states. The member states are: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Press release from the National Assembly secretariat