ICAC to strengthen government’s anti-corruption efforts

Tuesday 9 June 2020

The proposed Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), will complement and  strengthen the Government’s broader efforts in combating corruption in the country.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Davis Steven, when presenting the draft Organic Law to Parliament on June 4,2020, said the establishment of ICAC will assist  in strengthening  Papua New Guinea’s ability to prevent, reduce and combat corruption.

“It will assist in restoring institutional integrity and raise  public confidence in the various government institutions and services, and at the same time,  assist in implementing  the  country’s international commitments to tackle corruption under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. (UNCAC).”

Papua New Guinea will be subjected to the second cycle of review of its implementation of UNCAC by the United Nations, in particular its implementation of Chapter II, on Prevention and Chapter V, on Asset Recovery.

Mr Steven said it was mandatory to establish an anti-corruption agency that will help prevent and combat corruption, following Papua New Guinea’s ratification of   UNCAC in 2005.

Many countries  globally  have already established such institutions in their respective  jurisdictions.

“PNG through the establishment of ICAC will be seen as a progressive and responsive in preventing corruption in the global community as well as complying with  its international commitments,” Mr Steven said.

Mr Steven  highlighted several factors from lessons learnt from consultations and international best practice,  that for an anti-corruption  agency to be effective, the following must taken into consideration: be independent from the Executive Government (appointments, operations, decision-making, staffing powers); be well resourced ( including high integrity staff); have strong whistleblower protections (to encourage public confidence to report corruption); have strong investigative powers; strong accountability framework; and  cooperate effectively with other agencies.

Mr Steven also thanked Members of Parliament who supported the passing of the Whistleblower Bill in the last session and further advised that the  Whistleblower Act has been certified by the Speaker and  is being gazetted before it is enforced.

“Having the whistleblower legislation complements the Government’s effort in its fight against corruption where witnesses  can make protected disclosures without fear of retaliation,” Mr Steven said

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