Press statement, Tuesday 19 July 2011 The Case of Energy Ministry: Investigate all Parliamentary Standing Committees! The withdrawal of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals' budget during the Parliamentary debate is evidence that the responsible Parliamentary Committee either intentionally or unintentionally, did not perform their prerogative role of scrutinizing the budget well. An independent investigation inquiry should be set up to look into the possibility that Parliamentary Standing Committees may have been bribed by the government in order to approve ineffective public budgets. The media is awash with reports that the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, shelved the budget for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals for three weeks following a fierce debate over the current power and mining crisis. Lately, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, David Jairo, had written a letter to agencies and institutions under his ministry directing them to contribute Tsh 50 million each in order to facilitate smooth tabling of his Ministry's budget. This seems to have been the usual tradition as part of the letter states "...kama ilivyo kawaida wakati wa kuwasilisha hotuba ya bajeti Dodoma..." although this time business turned out to be not as usual, rather a saga. It was also reported in the media in the past few weeks that the Parliamentary Standing Committee responsible for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals may have been bribed to approve the Ministry's budget in Dar es Salaam. The feeling among the public is that the case of the Ministry for Energy and their respective Parliamentary Committee is not an isolated one. Apparently, similar trends have been observed regarding other ministries. For example, most public institutions usually organize for seminars with the Parliament before the budget debate for their respective ministries. These seminars may possibly be meant to pay MPs in order for their budget loopholes to go unchallenged. Tanzania is faced with perennial problems emanating from poor oversight of the government by the Parliament. Some of these problems include unprofitable business contracts, grand corruption scandals, public budgets fraught with unnecessary expenditures, poor public financial management, and abuse and misuse of public funds. Since both the Parliament and Government are implicated in this bribe scandal, an independent body should be tasked to form an independent probe committee to investigate these allegations of the government bribing the parliament. Corrective measures should then be taken against those found responsible. Mr. Irenei Kiria Executive Director of Sikika, P.O.Box 12183 Dar es Salaam, Tel: +255 222 666355/57, Fax: 2668015, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.sikika.