Mbabane: Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini said the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA) remains effective in spite of a motion passed by the House of Assembly which sought to suspend the operation of the legislation.
Speaking during a press briefing held at the Cabinet offices on Friday, Dlamini said the Executive has noted with concern the sentiments of Members of Parliament with regarding POCA. “Legislative process is a shared enterprise between the Executive and Parliament.” Dlamini said it became necessary for the Offices of the Prime Minister, Speaker, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Attorney General and House of Assembly Sessional Committee to meet and forge a way forward.
Dlamini said it is important to state, and the parties accept, that Parliament’s Constitutional mandate excludes the suspension of any legislation that has been passed into an Act. Parliament can only reject or amend a Bill and not suspend an Act. Therefore such any resolution purportedly suspending POCA is ineffective.
The Premier said for any law to be effectively amended, it has to go through three stages namely; the House of Assembly, the House of Senate and His Majesty the King.
Dlamini added that an aggrieved party should follow the court process to challenge the legality of any law.
Dlamini said the Kingdom of Eswatini is signatory to the UN Charter and therefore has signed a number of agreements and conventions to fight corruption and organized crime. The POCA enables the Kingdom to comply with many international obligations which include;
- The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988 (Vienna Convention). Article 5 calls upon state parties to put measures in order to provide for the confiscation of proceeds and instrumentalities of Drugs and related criminal activity.
- The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime signed in the year 2000. Article 12 of the convention calls upon state parties to the Convention to enact legislation for the retrieval and confiscation of proceeds of crime.
- The United Nations Convention against Corruption 2004 signed by the Kingdom on the 15th September 2012 which calls upon state parties to fight corruption using asset forfeiture.
Dlamini highlighted that the Executive will continue to engage with Parliament in addressing the concerns, their validity and otherwise, that the legislation impact negatively to the average citizen whilst balancing compliance with the International Conventions in which the country is a signatory.
Dlamini said government accepts and supports that the law must be applied equally to all citizens, and all law enforcement agencies should ensure this is the case.
Dlamini said government appreciate the work and efforts of the current Parliament. In supporting national development. He added they he continues to expect laws passed in Parliament to be in line with the national Development agenda to ensure that the country’s machinery grinds in harmony to uplift the standards of living for all Emaswati.
Dlamini emphasized emphasize that the rule of law is fundamental.
“In our monarchical democracy, underpinned by the doctrine of the Separation of powers.” Dlamini said.
The Premier added that the rule of law implies that every person is subject to law, including people who are lawmakers. Government Remains committed to upholding the rule of law and, to the fight Against corruption and crime in general.
“We will not flinch or hesitate to rid this country of the scourge of Corruption and crime, without exception, as we accelerate our economical renewal.” Dlamini said.