This was one of the key messages delivered by the Taskforce on Political Integrity and Stability to the Premier’s Conference in Kira Kira last week.
The Taskforce recommended that the LCC should be brought under the control of a new Independent Commission Against Corruption, a move that TSI has long advocated for.
TSI believes that the LCC will never be able to function effectively while it is a part of the Office of the Prime Minister.
How can a body investigate the leaders of the country fairly and transparently, when it is funded, housed and supported by the office of our most important leader?
TSI recently requested a copy of the LCC’s judgment in the matter of Hon. Danny Phillip after the former PM was found guilty of misconduct over the sale of government property to the MP for West Honiara, Namson Tran.
The LCC has since refused our request saying, “the Commission is not obliged to give a copy of its determination to the public or a person who is not a party to its inquiries as they are not public hearings.”
They told us that “the Commission is only obliged to give publicity such publicity as it consider(s) desirable to its action in any particular case”.
In short, the LCC has a choice and it choses secrecy.
How can the public have any confidence in an organisation that operates in this way?
The Taskforce on Political Integrity and Stability has suggested sweeping reforms that would bring the LCC out of the shadows, give it real power to investigate and prosecute those that have done the wrong thing.
Some of the suggested reforms include:
- Amending the Leadership Code Act to insert ‘good leadership’ principles that reflect the standards of people of Solomon Islands
- Establishing a Leadership Tribunal to hear cases
- Reviewing the definition of ‘public leaders’ covered by the Leadership Code Act
- Reviewing the punishments that the LCC can hand out
- Focusing the Leadership Code Office primarily on investigating and assisting prosecutions for breaching the Code
- Establishing the Office of the Ethics Adviser.
- Changing the Constitution to stipulate that a Member of Parliament shall also lose his/her seat for breach of the Leadership Code.
The Taskforce has also recommended a complete overhaul of the RCDF that would see the controversial fund removed from the direct administration and management of members of Parliament.
TSI fully supports the recommendations of the Taskforce that move towards openness, transparency and meaningful punishment for leaders that break the law.
By Daniel Fenua
Research & Communications Officer
Transparency Solomon Islands