· Government used its number to withdraw Anti-Corruption Bill
· Opposition described the decision a “disgrace”
· Members of public condemned decision
· Decision shows Sogavare’s hypocrisy
GOVERNMENT decision to withdraw the Anti-Corruption Bill is a total disgrace, Opposition leader Jeremiah Manele says.
“It’s a disgrace to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s expressed commitment to see the bill through parliament,” Mr Manele added.
“The prime minister has lied to the nation when he said he was committed to bring the bill through Parliament.
“But it is now clear that his words were mere political rhetoric to paint a good public image of himself.
“His lies have now caught up with him and he can no longer hide.”
Mr Manele appealed to constituents of the 31 government MPs who voted for the motion to consult their MPs and urge them to bring the bill back to Parliament.
Prime Minister Sogavare and 30 government MPs voted in support of a motion to withdraw the bill in parliament when parliament resumed.
The decision was greeted with nation-wide condemnation; many describing it as hypocrisy at its best.
The Anti-Corruption Bill 2016, which was tabled in parliament early last year but has since been deferred, was listed in the Parliamentary Order Paper for its second reading.
But when parliament resumed yesterday, Mr Sogavare moved a motion instead to withdraw the bill.
He claimed the Bills and Legislation Committee had recommended some more amendments be made to the bill before it could be brought back into Parliament.
But deputy Opposition leader Rick Hou said Mr Sogavare has lied because the committee had in fact recommended the debate and passage of the bill.
Although Opposition and Independent MPs opposed the withdrawal for the bill, they could not stand the weight of government numbers.
The 31 MPs who voted in favour of the motion were Prime Minister Sogavare himself, Peter Shanel Agovaka, Ishmael Avui, Jackson Fiulaua, John Moffat Fugui, Moses Garu, Samuel Iduri, Dr Kaitu’u Tautai Angikimua, Dudley Kopu, John Dean Kuku, Chris Laore, Manasseh Maelanga, Augustine Auga, John Maneniaru, Andrew Manepora, Samuel Manetoali, William Bradford Marau, Commins Mewa, Elijah Doromuala, David Dei Pacha, Dickson Mua, Bartholomew Parapolo, Danny Philip, Snyder Rini, Stanley Festus Sofu, Jimson Tanangada, Silas Vangara Tausinga, Bradley Tovosia, Milner Tozaka, Freda Tuki and Samson Maneka.
The nine MPs who prioritised national interest and voted to bring the bill to parliament for debate and subsequent passage were the Leader of Opposition Jeremiah Manele, Leader of the Independent Group Dr Derek Sikua, Rick Hou (Opposition), Bodo Dettke (Independent), Derek Manu’ari (Opposition), Connelly Sandakabatu (Opposition), Peter Tom (Opposition), Dr Culwick Togamana (Opposition) and Matthew Wale (Independent).
MPs who were absent from Parliament due to other commitments were Nestor Ghiro, Martin Kealoe (Government), Jimmy Lusibaea, Lionel Alex (Government ), Charles Sigoto (Government), David Tome (Government), Douglas Ete (Independent), Alfred Ghiro (Government), Steve Abana (Opposition), and Namson Tran (Government).
By AATAI JOHN