PNG Parliament To Discuss Anti-Corruption Commission

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Chief secretary: ICAC will be independent of other agencies

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 23, 2013) – The proposed Constitutional Amendment to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has been certified, gazetted and will be tabled in Papua New Guinea’s Parliament by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill during the November session.

This was announced by Chief Secretary to Government Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc yesterday at his Morauta Haus office.

The purpose of this Constitutional Amendment is for the Government to embed in the Papua New Guinean Constitution, a law to investigate and combat corruption, that will educate on what constitutes corruption and the dangers of corruption, and to expose corrupt conduct.

"The overall intent of this initiative is to strengthen and promote accountability and good governance," said Sir Manasupe.

The commission will work in close consultation and collaboration with established institutions, particularly the Office of the Public Prosecutor, the Ombudsman Commission, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and the Auditor General’s Office.

"Queries have been raised on the commission’s independence, specifically in terms of budgetary support and political influence as a means in strangling its operability," Sir Manasupe said.

"I must emphasise that it will be embedded in our Constitution and that the performance of its functions and powers will not be subject to the direction and control of any person or authority."

The financial expenditure of the commission will be accounted through the Auditor General’s Office while all operations will be subject to administrative audits by an oversight committee, he said.

The composition of the oversight committee will be defined through a subsequent Organic Law. The commission will also table annual reports come March 31st each year.

Sir Manasupe also emphasised that a subsequent organic law is now being considered after regional consultations were concluded. The organic law will actually define the roles and responsibilities of the commission; the Constitutional Amendment that has been gazetted is only for the establishment of the commission.

The establishment of ICAC is part of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2010-2030 that was endorsed by cabinet as an overarching guide that defines a pathway to combat corruption and promote good governance.

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