Ms Liloqula made the call following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday that Cabinet had approved the recommendation from the Oversight Committee to extend the State of Public Emergency (SOPE).
“While TSI agrees with the extension of the SoPE, the government and the COVID-19 Oversight Committee must not use this as an excuse to recklessly spend COVID-19 funds.
“Robust mechanisms must be instituted to ensure funds spent are done in the most transparent and accountable manner and for the good of the country and its citizens,” Liloqula said.
She further stressed that the Oversight Committee must make sure that all COVID-19 funds must be spent on COVID-19 and health related matters.
“We cannot ignore corruption during the COVID-19 response,” she added.
It was understood that there were allegations of corruption during the awarding of contracts for COVID-19 related works recently.
The Oversight Committee under the Prime Minister’s Office said they will investigate it.
However, Liloqula said that it is near impossible to get to the truth since the Oversight Committee cannot investigate itself.
She added that the impartiality of the Committee to investigate itself is an issue in itself.
“Here the public needs to question the impartiality of such investigation,” she added.
Liloqula said what the Prime Minister’s Office and the Oversight Committee should do is that all emergency contracts should be published in full, shared as open data including terms of payment and delivery and value.
She further stressed that the government should use the country’s anti-corruption institutions to monitor or even investigate any COVID-19 corruption related matters.
“Given the enormous burden expected on the government to plan, respond and recover from the current pandemic, corruption must be considered as a significant barrier to a successful response.
“It is vital to focus on addressing those corruption risks which may most seriously harm the COVID-19 response in our country,” Liloqula expressed on Tuesday.
By ANDREW FANASIA