Speaker sends Finance Minister to Privileges Committee

Speaker sends Finance Minister to Privileges Committee

Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Troman has ruled that Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh be sent to the committee of privileges over his decision to spend over 4 billion dollars from the consolidated fund that was not approved by the national assembly.

In his ruling, Trotman said sufficient evidence had been provided to have the Minister appear before the Committee of Privileges to be inquired by  the committee.

The Speaker in his said having regard to all the facts and circumstances, “it is my considered opinion that the issue of spending by the Hon. Minister of Finance does raise sufficiently serious questions of privilege such that the Committee of Privileges should inquire into”.

The Government is not happy about the decision and has already indicated that it is looking at a number of options to block the move. Among them, is a possible move to the high court over the speaker’s decision.

In a statement on Thursday evening,  Attorney General Anil Nandall said “while I am bound to be guided by the Speaker’s ruling, I do not consider myself restrained from expressing a view on the ruling, even a critical and outspoken one.  The issue raised in this Motion is purely a legal one. It concerns the interpretation of several provisions of the Constitution, including Articles 217 and 218. Article 217 essentially provides when, and in what circumstances, monies can be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund.”

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