Parliamentary Investigation as a Means to Control the Executive Power in Kuwait and Egypt
Dr. Wafaa Bader Al Malek Al Sabah
Assistant Professor – Law Department – College of Business Studies – PAAET – Kuwait
This paper deals with the study of one of the Parliament’s monitoring functions over the performance of the Executive Authority. The monitoring function of the Parliament represents the most important aspect of its activity in the modern state. Indeed, the Parliament, as some may agree, is above all a society to monitor the work of the government. This task is considered more important than adopting legislations. Monitoring the government through supervisory means is, in its essence, a fundamental guarantee of the rights and freedoms of individuals.
There are many means of parliamentary control over the work of the government. Its effectiveness varies according to the power granted to it, its effect on the Executive Authority and its consequences. These means are: ministerial responsibility, which is one of the most dangerous means given by the legislator to the Parliament in monitoring the Executive Authority, through which it can bring down the ministry. This is in addition to some other means that are not less important, such as the right to pose questions to the Prime Minister and the ministers, the right to question the Prime Minister and the ministers, as well as the parliamentary investigation.
Accordingly, we have examined the Parliamentary Investigation, which is one of the means by which the Parliament exercises its competence to control the work of the Executive Authority. It is a recognized right of the Councils of Deputies in all the parliamentary States. It is one of the established principles on which the opinion has also been based in the presidential states. It is one of the rights upon which consensus has been established in the parliamentary and presidential states.
In order to identify the parliamentary investigation as a supervisory mechanism of the executive authority in the State of Kuwait and Egypt, this section is divided into three sections. The first topic is the concept of parliamentary investigation. The second topic is: The formation of the parliamentary investigation committees, their scope and their powers in Kuwait and Egypt. The third topic is: the reports of the Parliamentary Investigation Committees in Kuwait and Egypt.
This study concluded that the right to request the formation of truth commissions in Egypt is owned by the General Committee of the Egyptian People’s Assembly, the substantive committees of the Council, and a group of members of the People’s Assembly no less than twenty members.
As for the request for the formation of Parliamentary Investigation Committees in Kuwait, it shall be at the request of at least five members, and the committees and organizations of the Council shall not have this right. The study also concluded that there may be strong justifications for a parliamentary investigation into a matter that has already been investigated by the Parliament, as new evidences or facts may be revealed that have not been known to the previous committee, and would have influenced the investigations if they had been revealed previously. Despite the importance of this matter, the Egyptian and Kuwaiti legislatures have not yet addressed it.
The study also found that neither the Kuwaiti Constitution nor the National Assembly’s charter referred to the right of the investigation committees to conduct field visits. It is true that ministers and all state employees must submit the required certificates, documents and data, however, they have stopped at this point, and did not address the right to conduct field visits.
The study also found that the selection of specialists with experience as members of the Parliamentary Investigation Committees leads to benefitting from useful and productive opinions, and enables the avoidance of the pitfalls of ignorance and implicating charges against innocent people. However, the Kuwaiti Constitution and the internal regulations of the Kuwaiti National Assembly have failed to mention this requirement.
The study also concluded that the powers granted to Parliamentary Investigation Committees are deficient and inadequate, especially in relation to calling witnesses and experts. Although the Parliamentary Investigation Committees have the right to call witnesses and experts, they do not have the authority to compel them to appear before them. They do not also have the right to impose a criminal penalty on those who fail to attend, or to swear or testify.
Finally, the study concluded that the Parliamentary Investigation Committees do not have the authority to raise the political responsibility of the ministry. This is limited by informing the parliament of the problem only, without being able to hold the political official (the minister or the prime minister) accountable for mistakes or shortcomings within the limits of his constitutional responsibilities.