PRIME Minister Rick Hou on Monday called on the nation to stand together to fight and eradicate corruption.
He made the call at an event organised to mark International Anti- Corruption Day, as well as the historic launch of the Anti- Corruption Act 2018, and the Whistle-Blowers Act 2018 in Honiara.
“Today 10th of December 2018 is a historic day in our country as it represents another step in our collective effort to curb and ultimately eradicate corruption from our country,” the prime minister said.
“I am proud to announce as the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands that I have signed the official gazette Friday last week,” he added.
“The official commencement of both the Anti-Corruption Act 2018 and the Whistle-Blower Protection Act 2018 was Friday last week.”
Mr Hou further added that the bringing into effect of these two landmark legislations through the signing of the official gazette instruments touched his heart and soul.
“The Anti-Corruption Act is a major step forward for the country.
“It is not perfect, as no legislation regardless its intent is perfect.
“The Act criminalises the giving of or taking of bribe and there are no exceptions regardless of who we are or where one walk be it in the public domain or the private sector.
“The Act also decriminalises the abuse of positions and forbid officials to use their power to obtain benefits for themselves or their network.”
Mr Hou stated that the Act calls on all citizens of this country to be united in the fight against corruption.
“It calls on any and all institutions and agencies with access to information on corruption and how to prevent, report and fight against corruption should share information freely.
“The Act also spells out the role of the government in fighting corruption,” he added.
The establishment of the Solomon Islands Commission Against Corruption (SIICAC) was also stipulated under the Anti-Corruption Act.
Meanwhile, the Whistle Blowers Protection Act 2018 ensures protection for those that often put themselves in harms way by reporting corruption.
Mr Hou said together these two pieces of legislations provide the yardstick against which success or otherwise in the fight against corruption in Solomon Islands will be measured.
“The two legislations provide a unifying platform for our people, our country to rid our country of corruption.
“They will not only deter corrupt practices but they will also shame those that practice corruption.”
The event was witnessed by members of the public, the NGOs and the donor partners at the National Auditorium.
By ANDREW FANASIA