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The Role of Parliament in Curbing Corruption

The Role of Parliament in Curbing Corruption

The first major step of parliament is to prevent corruption in parliament is to build a parliament that is accountable to any wrong doings in office.

When parliament is accountable to acts or even just threats of corruption, the people recognize that it is dangerous. As a result, many nations have instituted laws and policies to help curb corruption or opportunities therein in parliament and other bodies of government.

Indeed, this is an emotion that is taken seriously at all levels of parliamentary organizations.

Legislative Role:

  • Parliaments have the authority to create the legal framework needed to prevent and curb corruption, for example laws against inappropriate behaviour by citizens, businesses, and other organizations.
  • In addition, parliaments can bolster integrity in governance by establishing incentives to public officials and transparency and accountability.
  • In order to be effective, laws must follow a key set of principles in clear language to minimize areas of discretion, and adapt them to the local circumstances and should address some issues such as conflicts of interest, nepotism, and statures of limitation — not only to provide for the necessary punitive measures but also to promote an administrative and social environments adverse to corruption.

Oversight:

  • Parliaments can also curb corruption by holding the government accountable.
  • This can be achieved through effective participation in the budgetary process, the exercise of parliamentary oversight through anticorruption commissions, cooperation with supreme audit institutions, and promoting a media-friendly environment.

Financial Control:

  • Parliament also plays a key role in the budgetary cycle; financial integrity is central to anti-corruption efforts.
  • The budget cycle is comprised of drafting, legislation, implementation, and audit. In most countries, the ultimate control over the national budget rests with parliament.
  • This power of the purse constrains governments to tax and spend in only specific ways and seeks to ensure management of funds, disciplined reporting and transparency.
  • It also provides a means for parliamentarians to be heard on how money is to be obtained and spent. Parliament also considers the audit findings and provides recommendations for the next budget.

Other oversight practices employed by parliament include mandatory executive reporting and the authority to question ministers publicly on the operations of their departmental and program performance by calling for witnesses and documents and doing all of this in a transparent fashion in cooperation with outside bodies.

Also, in some countries parliaments have the authority to review and approve appointments of certain public officials.

Specialized Agencies:

  • Parliament is also involved in the functioning of the major oversight tools of specialized agencies. The second major specialized agency is an anti corruption agency.
  • To work successfully, anti corruption commissions must be independent, part of a broader anticorruption strategy, embedded in a reporting hierarchy encompassing the legislative and executive and have the government enact its recommendations.

Representation:

  • Representation, which occurs through a number of different channels such as the participation of civil society or the formation of political parties, is an important parliamentary instrument for building integrity in public governance.
  • It can have the effect of empowering citizens to reject corrupt practices and expose politicians and officials who engage in corrupt activity providing a role for parliamentarians in helping to establish public standards for appropriate behaviour.
  • A good parliamentarian will travel back regularly to their home regions to organize forums of discussions, listen to their constituents, understand the causes and effects of corruption, include this information in the anticorruption policies, and monitor their impact.

Parliament and Civil Society:

  • Parliament can also help to channel the interests and concerns of civil society into an open debate and help create political will to fight corruption.
  • This will allow parliament to gain credibility and legitimacy thereby extending support for anticorruption efforts.                          The Role of Parliament in Curbing Corruption

Corruption in Political Parties and Parliament:

  • Politicians must first tackle corruption within their own ranks through political party financing, and codes of conduct for parliamentarians.
  • In many systems political parties have become a potential agent of corruption compromising legitimacy and integrity of democracy of political parties.
  • Parliamentarians must also adhere to ethical behaviour through such means as ethical regimes, which cover everything from conflicts of interests and the disclosure of assets to rules on post governmental employment and nepotism, codes of conduct, and codes of ethics.
  • Internally, ethics regimes improve the behaviour of legislators.
  • Externally, they restore the often shattered public confidence in parliamentarians.
  • To be effective such codes must be accompanied by enforcement mechanisms and be based on a shared understanding by parliamentarians of what is appropriate behaviour and what is not.

 

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