n African Security Review - Parliamentary oversight of public expenditure management : a focus on the security services : feature

Volume 15, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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This paper argues for effective parliamentarian oversight of the expenditure of the security services. It discusses the general principles of public expenditure management and submits that, as the security services render a public service using public monies, they need to be subject to the same principles. The most important of these principles in relation to the security services are those of transparency and accountability. The security services are, however, involved in sensitive issues of state security and some modification in the application of these principles can be substantiated. Not detracting from the principles of public expenditure management and parliamentary oversight, special provisions regarding the management of security expenditure can be instituted. These include special legislation, the conduct of closed parliamentary committee meetings, and the institution of special parliamentary committees. The fundamental question is, however, 'who decides'. The paper argues that the answer to this question lies squarely in the domain of parliament, which should ultimately decide on any deviations and exclusions from these principles as related to the security services.

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