Parliament surrenders accused lawmakers for investigation

By Bida Elly David

The national parliament (R-TNLA) has lifted immunity of eleven (11) Honorable members of parliament who were suspected of committing serious (19) criminal cases of different kinds making them prone to investigation for the law to either prove them guilty or set them free.

In an investigative report compiled by the specialized committee on legislation and justice, five (5) members among the suspects accused are however no longer active legislators.

The lawmakers have been accused of various graft allegations. They consisted of; Alley Osura Tanam, Achol Marial Deng, Simon Malual Deng, Deng Tong Kuol, Juma Ali Malou, and Joseph Ojukwu Ikarak respectively.

But, according to the legal position of the committee per South Sudan Constitution 2011 Article 67(1) and (2), no criminal proceedings shall be initiated against a member of the TNLA or council of states or their belongings without permission from the speaker except being caught in an offense and arrested without warrant.

The same article also says, in case a member is charged with a serious crime, the appropriate house may waive the immunity of the member concerned.

“Considering the provisions of Article 67(1) (2) of the Constitution 2011 as amended, no criminal proceedings can be taken against any member unless the information or complaint is brought before the police against a member and there in after police determination believing that there is a crime committed either in TNLA or council of states,” the article reads.

The report according to the article cited has mandated the house legal rights to waive immunity of the suspected parliamentarians until the plaintiffs’ legal documents or letters are presented before the TNLA.

However, the speaker of the parliament Jemma Nunu stated that the honorable members once found guilty after presentation of the documents shall be sentenced to 6 months imprisonment.

Speaking to the media after the parliamentary sitting yesterday, John Agany the chairperson of the information committee said some of the lawmakers were accused of external unpaid monetary debts that they failed to pay while others face charges of cheque forgery.

“As honorable members, you should not indulge yourselves. There is no way the August house will help MPs who took money from individuals. They must pay since they have salaries, belongings where they came from since it is a debt,” he said.

Agany said it is shameful for a parliamentarian to indulge into crimes while being a prominent figure serving citizens at the high level.

“As people representing people, we need to keep our image clean. We should not allow people to intrude into our angle and begin murmur about it. We need to be clear that if there is any case, you clear your things and continue with the sitting,” he said.

The assembly spokesperson advised the suspected parliamentarians to be cautious while addressing their issues before their cases graduate into certain level of suspension.

The 5 members beefed off list of the Parliament (MPs) at the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) have been recommended for investigation after they were allegedly implicated in numerous graft cases.

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