Oxford dictionary of politics states that in a Westminster system where members of the executive are drawn from the legislature, ministers are generally responsible for framing government policy and for steering government bills through parliament. Following the 2014 General Elections, the Prime Minister decided to set up a Ministry of Good Governance giving to it wide powers including powers of investigation, a historical oddity. Cases involving Minister Lutchmeenaraidoo were, and those referred by Minister Sodhun are being, investigated into by the Ministry of Good Governance. In the above definition and also in Gerald Kaufman’s reference book “How to be a Minister”, a number of topics are covered ranging from “How to Make Policy” to “How to Leave Office Gracefully” but at no point is it mentioned that a Minister or for that reason a Ministry as having investigative powers. A Ministry of Good Governance similarly exists only in Sri Lanka and Tanzania, which are not the best examples to follow.

The Minister of Good Governance has been allowed to set up a Government within a Government. It defeats logic that from February 2015 to February 2016, the Minister effectuated 14 trips abroad costing a total of Rs 10.3 million to the exchequer with per diem to the tune of Rs 5.5 million. Ramgoolam may have had his defects but he would never have allowed such an abuse of public funds. To allow a Minister to travel with an adviser on 6 occasions is in fact adding insult to injury. The Ministry of Good Governance also employs twenty one persons on a contractual basis . The advisers earn from Rs 50,000 to Rs 105,000 and analysts from Rs 26,675 to Rs 35,375. One Ms Sameerah Shaikmamode works as PRO at the said Ministry. Is she not the same person who was previously working in the  Barrister’s office of the Minister? It would be interesting to know whether the said recruitments have been done according to the principles of good governance. Now, it is pertinent to note that the number of advisers at the Ministry of Good Governance exceeds by far the number of advisors at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The involvement of that Ministry in the BAI affair clearly does not fit within its mandate. Similarly, if the Minister of Good Governance is responsible for Heritage City project, what is the Minister of Public Infrastructure, who also holds a Doctorate in Town and Country Planning, expected to do?  The concerned Minister ranks 18th out of 23 in the Governmental hierarchy and yet contrary from established practice and unlike his other colleague Ministers, he benefits from a police rider and additional security making him first among equals.

The method of functioning of the Minister of Good Governance has  been detailed in the affidavit of Thomas Galet, of the Dufry Group and Simo Carevic, former Chief Executive Officer of Mauritius Duty Free Paradise . They relate inter alia  : Mr Bhadain  added that they had nothing against Dufry AG and would be more than happy to continue business with Dufry AG but sought their help in order to “destroy” the pervious Prime Minister. The affidavit of his colleague Minister Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo is all the more revealing. He states: Bhadain is managing his Ministry like the KGB with his arms spread everywhere in most of the ministries, is bent and minded to evict me from the present government in order to have a comprehensive control over “l’appareil de l’etat”,  Bhadain has prompted ICAC to initiate the enquiry and Bhadain is politically motivated by his personal gain and aspiration to run the affairs of the country. These are extremely serious allegations and had they been false, the Minister concerned would undoubtedly have made a declaration to the police against the persons concerned for swearing false affidavit.

The Minister of Good Governance recently unjustly referred  to the Director of Public Prosecutions as being a “monster”. In fact, by giving the Minister/Ministry of Good Governance such unlimited powers without adequate checks and balances, the Prime Minister might soon realize he has created a Frankenstein Monster.

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