MP Elias Hankache on Monday fired back at MP Ibrahim Kanaan's criticism against the Kataeb party's proposal to form a parliamentary probe committee that would investigate the illegal hires that were uncovered recently in the public sector.
The Parliament's Finance and Budget committee, headed by Kanaan, has been examining the hiring of about 5000 people during a job freeze that came into effect in August 2017, noting that the illegal employment was mostly done ahead of the parliamentary elections in May 2018.
Hankache said in a statement that ordinary parliamentary committees do not have enough prerogatives to hold to account ministers who are no longer in office, while probe committees enjoy extended judicial powers that enable it to pursue current and former ministers, as well as public servants.
"Ordinary parliamentary committees can examine whether or not there were illegal hires, while failing to take any measures to hold those who violated the law to account," Hankache pointed out.
"Knowing that what is needed is to enforce accountability against those who exploited their posts for electoral, sectarian and partisan motives, the Kataeb party has demanded the formation of a probe committee with judicial power that allow it to report its findings to the Higher Council to try presidents and ministers; a prerogative that is not bestowed on ordinary parliamentary committees."
"What we need in this case is not only to find out whether illegal hires had actually taken place or not, but also to know the people who were employed and their political affiliations," Hankache stressed.
"What is needed is to move to enforcing legal and judicial accountability against those responsible for these hires," he concluded, calling on parliamentary blocs, that are really eager to fight corruption, to join forces with the Kataeb in order to press the formation of a probe committee.