Is the legislature (or the appropriate legislative committee or members of the legislature) given full information for the budget year on the spending of all secret items relating to national security and military intelligence?


SCORE: 0/100

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There is no evidence that parliament receives a full briefing on expenditures on secret items relating to national security and military intelligence. The websites of both chambers do not provide any information (1), (2).

The areas of national security and intelligence are mainly under the authority of the executive. According to Art. 91 of the constitution, the President of the Republic is responsible for national defence. The presidents of both chambers have only a consolatory status (see Art. 105 and Art. 109) (3). In 2016, President Bouteflika restructured the Department of Intelligence and Security (Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité, DRS) and established a new security agency, the Direction of Security Services (Direction des services sécuritaires, DSS), which is reportedly now under his control (4). The DSS was established by an unpublished presidential decree (5), (6), underlining how secret the service works. There is hardly any information available about the intelligence services.

This indicator has not been assigned a score due to insufficient information or evidence.

There is no publicly accessible information the budget for secret items relating to national security and the intelligence services. For instance, the 2018 State Budget Law stipulates that security-related public services integrated into the National Security System are subject to a special regime, funded by the Special Financial Security Funds that are under the sole control of the president (Art. 12) (1).

The military budget given to the legislature for adoption does not mention any information of spending on secret items, and there is no evidence of military expenditure on secret items (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6).

Although there is a Defence Committee in the National Assembly, the Committee remains inactive. In addition, the Ministry of Defence does not give details of secret items bought, as these items and activities are often considered strategic and secret and therefore not to be made public [1] [2]. According to one interviewee, it is believed that making this information public would more or less constitute exposing your strategy to your enemy [1].

According to the 2016 Constitution, the Assemblée Nationale (NA) has several mechanisms to oversee government policy, including amendment rights over expenditure in the annual Budget Law. However, the NA lacks explicit formal rights to monitor the defence budget and much less to co-determine spending on secret items related to national security and military intelligence (1). According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), oversight of national defence policy is exercised solely via the Commission Sécurité et Défense (CSD). However, it is also not entitled to examine and co-determine annual spending on secret items related to national security or military intelligence (2). “The Security and Defence Committee has the general powers accredited to committees, i.e. of inquiry and information. The composition of the Commission reflects the numerical strength of each party in the parliament. The parliament controls national defence policy when the finance bill is being examined” (2).

The Coordination Nationale du Renseignement (CNR) created on October 18, 2012, via Decree No. 2012-1016, is the official coordinating body for intelligence matters. It is not subject to NA or CSD oversight. The CNR is directly attached to the Executive and is headed by the President’s brother, Birahima Téné Ouattara. The organizational structure of the CNR is as a fully centralized agency devised by the president himself and his then Minister of Defense Alain Richard Donwahi. On the official website of President Ouattara, the CNR appears under the subheading “Les Affaires Présidentielles”, and appears to be accountable only to the minister of presidential affairs and the Directeur de Cabinet (Chief of Staff), a powerful position in the government hierarchy (3). “As per this hierarchy, the Presidency has become the heart of the entire Ivorian security system. In effect, it became a veritable control tower supervised at the time by the Secretary-General, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, and Birahima Téné Ouattara, aka “Photocopy”, the Minister of Presidential Affairs… The centralization of information oversight at the Presidency and under the “authority” of the Head of State is certainly true on paper. However, in reality, this power is in the hands of the President’s brother Birahima Téné Ouattara, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, who also holds the office of DAF at the Presidency and Treasurer of the RDR, the ruling party” (4).

The legislature is not provided with the information; it is only provided with the topline total figure (1), (2), (3), (4). Only representatives of the Defence Committee of the Parliament are allowed to join the discussions on the budget in the NDC (5). It is important to note here that the parliamentary committee on defence is headed by a senior military officer.

This indicator has not been assigned a score due to insufficient information or evidence.

There is no evidence available that states that the legislature is provided with information on spending on secret items (1), (2), (3), (4).

A former auditor said in an interview (1) that information relevant to secret defence expenditure items/allocations should be tabulated within the earliest draft of the federal budget law. Full information on secret and publicly disclosable allocations are made known to the budgetary committee, which is headed by the minister of finance, for the objective of reviewing the draft, must be presented before the law is deferred to parliament for ratification (2), (3) As Article 78 of Iraq’s Constitution (paragraph 17) stipulates (4), the CoR is charged with formulating the final draft budget (3), following consultations and sessions with the relevant ministries. Preparations involve the gathering/collation of relevant information and figures that are disclosed to Iraqi ministries only (5), (6), (7). The distribution of this information among the parties involved in formulating and reviewing the Budget Law is impossible to verify.

The legislature in Jordan is expected to receive forecasted budgets by the end of the year to approve spending for the next financial year, and there is evidence that the Jordanian Parliament has received forecasted budgets for 2018, also known as the Budget Law for the Fiscal Year 2018 [1]. There is also evidence that the Audit Bureau provides the Parliament with an annual audit report by the end of the year [2] and that the Ministry of Finance also provides annual financial accounts to justify expenditure from the previous financial year [3, 4]. Those reports, however, are lacking in detail whenever military or defence expenditure is listed, and in some instances, they do not include any information on defence sector expenditure at all, let alone information around the spending on secret items by national security and military intelligence. The budget of the ministry of defence is presented in a lump sum without any details, and many members of Parliament avoid discussing the MoD budget as it is sensitive, and its budget is closely linked to the King [5]. The legislature is provided without information about spending on secret items.

The defence committee receives the full budget for secret items, but it is generalised into vague categories and with few explanations, both a lawmaker and officials said (1, 2, 3 and 4).

the defence committee, and Parliament, has the right to be provided with extensive information on all expenditure by the security agencies without any redacations, however, the officials and activists (5 and 6) say they rarely attempt to exercise that right — and when they do, they do not follow up on it.

This is because most members, especially the ones on the defence and security committee, are pro-government and have ties to the royal family, they said. As a result, they do not push the security agencies into revealing information, even though they could threaten to cut funding for their projects and can call for a no-confidence vote on the ministers. In part, this is because there is an element of fear in their decision-making process given that the Emir can easily dissolve the Parliament if they insist on exercising their rights, using article 107 of the constitution (7).

Even if the lawmakers demand the information, the security agencies can easily ignore their requests because the Emir can dissolve the Parliament.

The state budget law proposal includes the defence budget, which indicates the amount of expected spending on secret items (1). Under the parliamentary rules of procedures, the Parliament has to approve the state budget (2). Thus, the Parliament is provided with very limited information, merely the total expected amount, on secret item spending (1).

The published budget of the armed and security forces does not include the intelligence service, whose annual spend is kept entirely secret.¹ There have been no mentions of intelligence spending in recent annual budgets or defence plans.² ³ ⁴ There is no standing parliamentary committee vested with any responsibility or power for overseeing DGSE operations, organisation, budget or activities.⁵
Moreover, the World Bank’s 2013 study notes that the maintenance of a special account for operations in the country’s “Northern Zone” is a major source of vulnerability.¹ Parliamentary oversight of this special account is non-existent. This account has no de facto spending ceiling, the purpose and operating conditions of the special account are not adhered to, budget charges display anomalies and lack transparency, and the controls performed on expenditures from the special account are less rigorous than the country’s normal budget procedures.¹
Even these do not always function as they should. For instance, in 2016, Mali’s authority for regulating public sector contracts and spending (ARMDS) found that it was wholly unable to audit the Ministry of Defence’s finances for 2014 because of the lack of documents provided by the ministry.⁶ The controversial off-budget purchase of a new presidential jet for USD35-40 million without parliamentary approval demonstrates the National Assembly’s irrelevance when it comes to extra-budgetary spending.⁷
The military sector in Mali holds a highly privileged position compared with other sectors when determining the allocation of resources. Arms acquisition requests need include neither justification nor full costing. Hence why it was possible for the government to overspend on military equipment by about CFA40 billion in 2014.⁷ This glaring example highlights that SIPRI’s analysis from more than ten years ago still holds true.
SIPRI’s study from 2006 notes that “the legislature frequently receives even less information on the defence budget than on budgets for non-security activities, and input from the public on spending priorities is actively discouraged or ignored”.¹ It asserts that the main reason for producing a comprehensive budget is that it allows the National Assembly to have a complete picture of government income and expenditure in a single document, so as to be able to exert control over spending. “However, regular resort to extra-budgetary spending has left the National Assembly uninformed about true government financial operations. The various sources of off-budget income described above are beyond the reach of the legislators as they have little or no say in the management of the armed forces, including policy development”.¹
A member of the CDSPC confirmed to the assessor that the committee has no oversight function over the activities or the budget of the intelligence services.⁸

In general, no evidence was found suggesting that the legislature is entitled to receive information on spending on secret items was found (1).

No evidence was found to suggest that the Parliamentary Commission on Foreign Affairs, National Defence, Islamic Affairs and Moroccan Residents Abroad was given access to information on spending on secret items : the only case in which defence-related issues were discussed was the approval of a military cooperation agreement between Morocco and China (2)(3).

The legislative framework formally allows members of the National Assembly to have oversight over the defence budget, even though this oversight is limited due to the nature of the data provided. The National Assembly has a Security and Defence Committee that is formed at the beginning of each legislative cycle (Art. 30 of the National Assembly’s Internal Rules) (1). Composed of 24 members from various political parties, the committee is responsible for overseeing the work of the ministries in charge of national defence and security policy (1). It is competent in, “general organisation of defence and security; defence cooperation policy; state of emergency and state of siege; status of military personnel and of the security forces; subjections imposed in the interest of national defence and public security on citizens in their person and their property; laws of programs and military plans, national service; military service; military justice” (1). 
According to its mandate, in law, the committee may be granted full information access for the budget year on the spending of all secret items related to national security and military intelligence. However, in practice, the committee members are provided with limited information on secret items, and the expenditure on secret items is aggregated (2).

The legislature is provided with limited information concerning secret items of spending. Secret items are given limited descriptions which are used for security purposes. Although the Ministry of Defence and the security agencies are mandated to appear before the legislature to defend their budgets, the members of the National Assembly do not have sufficient information to question department heads effectively (1).

The consultative body, the al-Shura has no authority to discuss any military and security issues. Therefore, information on secret spending is not available for institutions outside the sultan’s office (1), (2). The semi-legislative bodies the al-Shura and the al-Dawla cannot address issues of national security, according to the BTI report (3). News articles highlight the al-Shura’s discussions on the annual state budget; however, no reference is made to discussions around defence and security or scrutiny of defence expenditure (4), (5). In light of the BTI report, and other factors discussed previously, it is highly unlikely that the al-Shura receives information about annual spending concerning secret items relating to national security and military intelligence. Moreover, the clear demarcation of the Omani intelligence services under the Royal Office hint that the service has a separate budget under the sultan himself (6). It is paramount to stress, as laid out in sub-indicator 1A-C, the legislative body is severely limited and lacks the power to draft law, which lies with the sultan, who is both head of state and government (7). Due to the lack of information provided to the legislative branch on secret items and defence generally, this sub-indicator has been scored at zero.

As the legislature has been inactive since 2007, and the executive took over legislative roles, no committee or any member of the legislative are informed or receive reports on the budget. The budget is usually ratified by the executive without having public consultations or debates (1). According to an Aman report, the Human Rights Center reports that the executive has taken the role of the legislative unconstitutionally (2). More recently, an HRW report criticised the actions taken by the executive concerning arbitrary and HR violations by military/security agencies (2).

The Qatari Advisory Council, as a semi-legislature, does not have authority over the budget, which ensures the defence budget remains confidential. The Council does not have access to information on the annual budget, annual expenditure, or secret items purchased for national security and military intelligence. Additionally, matters related to the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of the Interior, and security are considered highly confidential, and are mostly handled by the Emir, who has direct control over these governmental bodies. No information is provided to legislative bodies or committees on defence expenditures [1,2].

According to our sources, the Consultative Council’s Committee on Security Affairs is not given any information relating to spending on secret items for national security and military intelligence. No committee or body has the authority to review secret items or the budget of the secret items (1), (2). Though the council technically has powers to review laws and question ministers (3), (4), including those of the defence sector, it does not have oversight or scrutiny powers over military budgets. National security and defence policy are directly under the purview of the Crown Prince, Minister of Defence and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, who also heads key security agencies such as the Council of Political and Security Affairs – which replaced Saudi Arabia’s National Security Council in January 2015. Under the highly centralized and unilateral structure in place in the current regime led by bin Salman, it is unlikely that sensitive information such as budget allocations for secret items in the military would be shared with the Consultative Council. According to regional expert Neil Patrick, the authority has become “highly centralized under Mohammed bin Salman’s almost exclusive leadership” (5).

According to our sources, the Parliament has the power to ask for information on secret items and defence purchases. However, there has not been any cases where the legislative were provided with reports on secret items (1,2). Theoretically, the Defence and Security Committee or the Finance Committee within the Assembly of People’s Representatives can ask for explanations if it considers that it is necessary (3). However, it is unlikely that this committee would ask for information about secret items – none of its reports mention such requests (4). The legislature is only given general information about the budget (5).

As the country does not have a functioning legislative council (the FNC is not a functioning parliament that has oversight committees), there is no committee or any similar institution or entity that could exercise any scrutiny on military expenditures, budget or forecast (1), (2).

Country Sort by Country 27. Sort By Subindicator
Algeria 0 / 100
Angola NEI
Burkina Faso 0 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 0 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100
Ghana NEI
Iraq 25 / 100
Jordan 0 / 100
Kuwait 25 / 100
Lebanon 25 / 100
Mali 0 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100
Niger 25 / 100
Nigeria 25 / 100
Oman 0 / 100
Palestine 0 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100
Tunisia 0 / 100
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100

With thanks for support from the UK Department for International Development and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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