District Multi-Stakeholders Forum for Constitution and Peaceful Coexistence POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE RIGHT TO TRANSPARENT GOVERNANCE

Policy Recommendation – 1: Constitutional and Legislative Reforms: 1.1. Suitable provisions in the Constitution should be incorporated to declare and ensure that transparency, not secrecy, shall be the general rule and norm which will govern the actions of the government, Executive (President, Ministers, other Ministers), the Public Service, including public sector institutions and those of other institutions in which the government has some interest, the Legislatures, and the Judiciary. Effective Checks and Balances procedures should be introduced through Constitutional Provisions among the three branches of the State- Legislature, Executive and Judiciary in order to prevent the abuse or misuse of powers vested with these institutions. Executive immunity provided in the Constitution should be removed and Chief Executive should be made accountable to the rule of law through a Constitutional provision. The proposed Freedom of Information Act should provide for the public officers to provide information when requested by any members of the public as well as mandate these offices to proactively display and publish critical information of their work, expenditure, etc on a regular basis, viz., once in six months or once a year. There should be effective sanction provided for failure to do so or willful neglect of these duties. The Constitution and relevant laws should be amended to encourage ‘Public Interest Litigation’ in matters of governance, whether relating to alleged abuse of power, corruption and/or bribery. Any purported action which undermines or compromises the Rule of Law in the country should be a proper concern of every citizen in the country and any citizen should be free and should have the right to bring such matters before the courts of law without any hindrance. All provisions of the existing laws, regulations, rules, codes, practices etc which militate against transparency and which foster secrecy or which are inconsistent with the letter and spirit the right to transparent governance be repealed once the Constitutional and legislative measures as enumerated above come into operation. A Freedom of Information Act should be enacted to enable public officers to provide information when requested by any members of the public as well as mandate these offices to proactively display and publish critical information of 1

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their work, expenditure, etc on a regular basis, viz., once in six months or once a year. There should be effective sanction provided for failure to do so or willful neglect of these duties. This act should incorporate the salient recommendations of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and World Bank Institute Study Group on Access to Information. Policy Recommendation – 2: Governance: 2.1. Institutions to Safeguard Transparent

An independent Institution, such as a National Integrity Commission be constituted through Constitutional provisions to deal with issues of anti corruption and bribery and to ensure the proper and efficient administration of the legislation related to transparent governance. This Commission should have adequate powers, authority, autonomy, human and financial resource and institutional capacity with regional branches to deal with issues of corruption and bribery in an effective and efficient way. The Office of the Auditor General should be made more independent and efficient. A National Audit Act providing for this as well as the establishment of National Audit Commission should be passed to give more powers for the Auditor General’s office to audit the activities of the Public Service on a continuous basis. The Parliamentary Oversight Committees, such as Committee on Public Enterprises and Public Accounts Committees must be strengthened and activated to perform its functions effectively and efficiently and in a transparent manner. Members of the public should be, as of rights, given access to the proceedings of these Committees as well as their reports and recommendations must be made available to the public without any delay. These reports should be deemed as public documents which need no approval from anybody for being published. The 17th Amendment should be implemented forthwith. And all the independent bodies envisaged in the Amendment should be established without any further delay. The Election Commission be established and election laws to be revised to ensure corruption is eliminated in the process of elections. The laws must be amended to ensure transparency of election process, in particular the polling and counting processes, subject to ensuring the confidentiality of voting. National Procurement Agency to ensure obtaining of services and goods for the Public Service should be done through transparent and efficient manner.

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Policy Recommendation – 3: 3.1.

Enforcement of laws:

Laws to ensure transparency, against corruption and abuse of powers should be enforced efficiently and effectively. Those who are found guilty of engaging in corruption and bribery in governance be dealt with severely in that they should not only be sent to prison but also be debarred from entering public service, whether as an employee or as a Member of Parliament, Provincial Councils, Local Authority or as a Minister or President for a period of at least seven years. Protection of whistle blowers and witnesses should be ensured to sustain an environment in which those come forward to reveal cases of corruption and bribery be protected from any form of reprisals. Annual Declaration of the assets of executive officers and representatives of public bodies should be made compulsory. The National Integrity Commission should be empowered to examine these asset declarations and to take actions for false declarations. A Transparency Index to be released by every Ministry and department.

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