The return of Xavier-Luc Duval, leader of the opposition, to parliament after his suspension last week was overshadowed by incidents following a question on Dev Manraj, financial secretary. The controversy was already brewing before the parliamentary session with amendments made to the question by MP Aadil Ameer Meea.
In his initial question, Ameer Meea wanted to know the salary of Manraj, his travels and the number of boards he sits on along with subsequent remuneration. However, the last part of the question was removed. The member of parliament from the Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM) tried to raise a point of order and a point of personal explanation to seek clarifications on why the question was amended but Speaker Maya Hanoomanjee dismissed both attempts by citing provisions of the Standing Orders.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth revealed that Manraj was appointed back in 2013 with his contract renewed in 2015 and in 2017. He earns a basic salary of Rs 164,000 and an additional responsibility allowance of Rs 40,000. Manraj also has access to an Audi A6 car. Regardless of the persistence of Ameer Meea, the prime minister refused to give information on how much Manraj makes by sitting on the various boards where he has been nominated including the Financial Services Commission (FSC). As for the trips abroad, Jugnauth tabled the information.
MP Osman Mahomed also tried to get information over a trip to Kenya that Manraj might have made in relation to the Britam case. Before the prime minister was able to answer it, the usual insults from all sides of the National Assembly started. MP Rajesh Bhagwan eventually called out Speaker Maya Hanoomanjee for “protecting the prime minister”. The speaker did not take the accusation well and after asking him to withdraw the words a few times, she ordered him out and suspended session.
After a long break, Bhagwan made his way back to parliament and withdrew his words. The prime minister also removed comments he made. As a result, Hanoomanjee rescinded her ruling regarding Bhagwan and allowed him to stay. Moments later, she suspended the session again for lunch with only one question dealt with during Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQT).