By Yang Ater Yang
Chairperson of the Specialized Committee for Health in Lakes State Transitional Legislative Assembly has been suspended by the acting Speaker over allegations of corruption.
Commissioner of Lakes State Revenue Authority had accused the chairperson of collecting taxes illegally from the private clinics and pharmacies in Rumbek Market.
According to the letter, Hon. Samuel Mawuor Majak was suspended for allegedly breaching code of conduct, as stipulated in Article 56(2) of the Lakes State Transitional Constitution 2011.
Chairperson of the specialized committee for information, Hon. Zeckariah Puoric Matuong, said the decision was taken in an extraordinary meeting called by the acting speaker.
“We presented the document written by the commissioner of the Lakes State Revenue Authority that has accused the chairperson of the health specialized committee of collecting money in the market,” he said.
Hon. Puoric said the collection from the clinics and pharmacies in Rumbek reached around 111,500 SSP, according to the commissioner’s report.
The state revenue authority commissioner, in his report, then requested the legislative assembly to settle the corruption case.
The assembly spokesperson said they sat as assembly leadership and asked the health committee chairperson about the accusations, which he dismissed.
Mr. Puoric said the Parliamentary leadership resolved that the case be solved in two ways.
“First, the accused MP was to apologize to the assembly, and second, he should have to tender his resignation from being the chair of the assembly specialized committee for health,” he added.
However, Samuel Mawuor Majak refuted the allegations and instead accused the assembly leadership of working against him.
He turned down advice, asking him to apologize to the leadership of the assembly, challenging his accusers to produce tangible evidence to prove their claims.
“Yes, I have been suspended, and this suspension is not according to the law. It is based on the interest,” he protested his suspension.
Mr. Mawuor acknowledged going to Rumbek Market to carry out an assessment of all private clinics and pharmacies, which is within his mandate.
He claimed that the assessment followed public outcry that hospitals ran out of drugs and reports of government drugs being sold in private clinics and pharmacies.
“I asked permission from the speaker who allowed me to go to the market to do an assessment, and eventually I found all the government medicines available in the private clinics and pharmacies” he said.
According to the lawmaker, he reported the issue to Juba, and the leadership is working on it.
He said the people selling government drugs in their private clinics and pharmacies got angry and wrote letters to the state assembly accusing him (Mawuor) and his team of having collected money.
Mr. Mawuor further stated that the state revenue authority commissioner also wrote another separate letter addressed to the assembly, alleging that the committee of health has collected taxes in the market.
“The word tax cannot be used because if you are taxed, then you give the document. A visible document to those clients, and when people ask about the tax, you presented that document,” he defended himself.
“You cannot accuse a person or a committee without a visible document,” Mawuor stressed.
According to the lawmaker, when there is something that happened concerning the leadership of a committee, any decision to be passed will need a 2/3 majority vote of the leadership.
He reasoned that the decision also should involve the legal advisor and minister of parliamentary affairs.