THE FUTURE OF ‘WATCH DOG’ IN QUESTION
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape has assured Parliament that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is now in operation in parallel with the Ombudsman Commission.
ICAC was established by law in November 2020.
He said in a media statement this week that the Ombudsman Commision would remain, adding OC would be subject to review of its roles and responsibilities.
PM Marape was speaking in Parliament when answering questions from Moresby North-East MP, Hon. John Kaupa, on when ICAC would be established and what would happen to the Ombudsman Commission as a result of ICAC.
He said the Whistle Blowers’ Act (2020) and Proceeds Of Crime Act (2022) would complement ICAC in the fight against corruption.
PM Marape said MPs from both sides of Parliament were concerned about corruption, hence, their overwhelming support for ICAC, Whistle Blowers’ Act and Proceeds of Crime Act.
The process of selecting the commissioner and two assistant commissioners of ICAC has been completed,” he said.
The process of selecting the commissioner and two assistant commissioners of ICAC has been completed.PM Marape.
“Because of concerns that Papua New Guineans should not run ICAC, on the grounds of impartiality, the commissioners were selected independently of the Executive Government.
“We appointed Transparency International to supervise the selection process, so that we start the work of ICAC on a clean slate, right from day one.
“Transparency International, under the chairmanship of Mr. Peter Aitsi, supervised the process of appointing the commissioner and two assistant-commissioners.”
PM Marape said two Australians and a New Zealander, all with vast experience, had been selected and had taken up the offer. He said the Chief Justice, Opposition Leader and himself as Prime Minister were on the committee that made the appointment.
“ICAC will be operational very soon with funding already set aside. We are fully committed to get ICAC up and running at the earliest,” he said.
PM Marape said ICAC would not take over the role of the Ombudsman Commission.
“The Ombudsman Commission will focus on those of us who come under the Leadership Code,” he said.
“As we set up ICAC, and it becomes fully operational, we will look holistically at the role of the Ombudsman Commission.
“There is an outstanding issue of ‘double jeopardy’, which we will look at, so that leaders do not have to come under the scrutiny of different offices to prosecute them on alleged corruption that may arise.
“The Ombudsman Commission’s role will not be diluted, however, there should not be two different organisations doing the same task. This makes it such that matters are progressed and not stalled.”
PM Marape encouraged the people not to make accusations against leaders on social media, but rather, report to ICAC, Ombudsman Commission or Police.
“Take your allegations to Ombudsman Commission, Police and ICAC. Facebook is not a police station, Facebook is not an Ombudsman Commission office, Facebook is not ICAC,” he said.
“It is our collective responsibility to report corruption.”
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