No compromise with PCCB - Sitta THE Speaker of the National Assembly, Samwel Sitta, has asserted that no compromise has been reached with the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) over the controversial probe into parliamentarians expenses. According to Sitta, the issue was not even part of the agenda during Tuesdays much-hyped meeting between himself and PCCB director-general Dr Edward Hoseah in Dodoma, where the National Assembly is currently in session. �It was just a brief meeting...we did not even discuss the matter,� the Speaker told THISDAY when reached for comment yesterday. Photographs of Sitta and Hoseah in talks at the Bunge office in Dodoma were splashed on the front pages of several local newspapers yesterday amid speculation that the two had managed to work out a mutually-acceptable way forward for the MPs expenses investigation. But Speaker Sitta maintained yesterday that he still opposes arbitrary interrogation of MPs by PCCB officials in the course of investigating reports that some lawmakers have been receiving double payments of allowances for official tasks. He said proper protocol and procedures need to be adhered to by the PCCB in its interactions with parliamentarians, who are representatives of the wider electorate in the National Assembly. A number of MPs have complained of being subjected to humiliating questioning by representatives of the government anti-graft watchdog body, leading to speculation in some quarters that the whole thing could be an attempt to intentionally harass or intimidate legislators. �It is important to distinguish between what an MP does out on the street and what the legislators as a whole do as part of their work in the National Assembly,� Sitta said. He acknowledged that MPs are indeed not above the law, but stressed that PCCB is also required to work within the bounds of the law. �No one can just arbitrarily conduct an official inquisition into the workings of parliament as a whole, or a specially-designated or standing parliamentary committee, without liaising with the Bunge office,� the Speaker emphasized. On the MPs expenses probe in particular, he said the Bunge office is presently awaiting further word from the government on how it should be handled. �As parliament, we have already registered our complaint to the government. We understand that the PCCB director-general also had a long meeting with the prime minister in Dodoma yesterday (Tuesday), so we wait to hear from the government,� he explained. Although there was no immediate word from Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda yesterday, senior government functionaries who have already spoken on the subject include the Minister of State in the Prime Ministers Office responsible for policy, coordination and parliamentary affairs, Philip Marmo, who faulted PCCB for its approach. According to Marmo, himself a former deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, PCCB should have conducted its investigation in a quieter and less public fashion, without naming names where not necessary. �The way the Bureau has gone about this matter has caused considerable embarrassment to those MPs who have been publicly named as being part of the investigation, and subjected to questioning,� the minister remarked. He said the government has already intervened in the matter and is looking at ways of rectifying the situation, but did not elaborate. On Monday - the day before he travelled to Dodoma - Hoseah told a news conference at PCCB headquarters in Dar es Salaam that the Bureau�s investigation was based on various reports that MPs were being paid double allowances for doing the same work. The PCCB boss said according to the reports, legislators who are members of various parliamentary committees are being paid allowances by both the National Assembly itself and the various government ministries, state-run corporations, and government agencies under their committee portfolios. This, he said, was illegal, hence the investigation. The PCCB boss said the Bureau is only enforcing the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act of 2007, which was approved by parliament itself.