Nation Assembly approves supplementary estimate, amendments to several Bills |15 December 2021
Members of the National Assembly yesterday morning voted 22 votes for, none against and with nine members abstaining to resolve the House to approve a supplementary estimate of
R86,895,362.15 for the year 2020 laid before the Assembly in accordance with Article 154(6)(b) of the Constitution.
In its sittings yesterday, the National Assembly also tabled several amendments to a series of laws related to corruption, money laundering, seized, forfeited or confiscated properties among other related laws.
When tabling the motion, the leader of government business Bernard Georges noted that it follows a complete audit to regularise the surplus expenses amounting to the sum mentioned made by the government during the year 2020.
He said the sum relates mostly to grants that the government recorded in 2020 of which some were not budgeted and therefore budgetary provision were in some cases not enough to cover the expenses.
“Expenses related to grants have no impact on our fiscal position as these are not expenses made from the consolidated fund,” Hon. Georges explained.
He went on to detail the expenses as follows:
- R24,589,036.17 went to the department of trade. The overspending relates to the 11th EDF project which is a grant project financed by the European Union and expenditure for the year was more than the initial projection.
- R5,920,690.47 went to the department of defence. The overspending relates to the radar coastal surveillance project financed by the government of India through a grant.
-R46,305,394.63 went to the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation. The overspending relates to the SBC House project which is a grant funded by the government of China, the actual expenditure was more than what was forecasted in the budget as grant expenditure for the year 2020.
-R7,105,287.09 went to the Seychelles Energy Commission. The overspending relates to the democratising of the Solar PV project funded by the government of India.
-R1,471,690.12 went to the Public Health Authority and the overspending relates to a child development study project which was funded by the Rochester University.
-Regional Centre received a sum of R1,322,460.13 which were spent in relation to two foreign grant projects. Reflex training project was funded by UNODC and the maritime coordination at sea was funded by COI/EU.
-R170,124.67 went to the office of the Mayor of Victoria and the overspending relates to the lighting up of Victoria project which is a local grant account.
-R10,678.49 went to the National Bureau of Statistics and the overspending relates to a grant the bureau received in 2020 from the UN for the post Covid-19 impact assessment.
- R0.38 went to the Seychelles Human Rights Commission and the overspending relates to the amount of money transferred to a commercial bank account as a result of a round-off.
Following the presentation, two Assembly members sought more clarifications on the management of the grants and the leader of the opposition Sebastien Pillay has called on Finance, Economic Planning and Trade Naadir Minister Naadir Hassan to make available such details and more specifically on what and how the extra money has been spent in excess to the allocated budget allocation to these entities.
Meanwhile, Minister Hassan in the same Assembly session proceeded to present a series of amendments to different Bills namely the Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Second Amendment) Bill, the Licenses (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Custody Management and Disposal of Seized Forfeited or Confiscated Properties Bill, 2021 as amended.
Minister Hassan presented all the different amendments for Assembly members’ consideration and subsequent approval.
With regards to the Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2021, Minister Hassan noted that the Anti-Corruption Act 2016, established the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS) to carry out investigations, to detect and to prevent corrupt practices. The law was amended in 2020 to allow the ACCS to investigate cases related to money laundering as well as corruption.
“The Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2021 will provide for the ACCS to investigate offences under the Penal Code which include corruption practices. An amendment to Section 64 of the law will bring it in line with international norms while other amendments being proposed will improve coordination procedures between other authorities and the ACCS,” Minister Hassan explained.
Furthermore, he noted that the amendments will give powers to the Registrar General as well as other public authorities not to register or stamp documents which are related to any properties if there is information that the properties or property owners are being investigated by the ACCS.
Minister Hassan said the Registrar General will have to work more closely with other public authorities to enforce the procedure.
Debates on the different amendments to the series of Bills lasted the whole afternoon before receiving the approval of Assembly members.