PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the fight against corruption is one of the top priorities of his government and is committed to get rid of this scourge in the country.
Sogavare said corruption is a cancer and its biggest danger is where it becomes so strongly ingrained that it represents a new norm in our society.
“That is when where our institutions are undermines, our core principles and beliefs seriously jeopardised, our governance getting weaker and our nation’s economic and political future is compromised to the extent that we seemingly allow the future of our children and future generations to be sacrificed for short-term gains,” he said.
He said the danger of corruption as stated should not be entertained or allowed to happen in the country.
Sogavare said the government has made tremendous progress in implementing the Anti Corruption Act (2018) with some of the key milestone such as:
- The commencement of the Act a year ago during the 2018 International Anti-Corruption Day
- The establishment of the Nominating Committee, to nominate the members of the SIICAC in late 2019,
- The establishment of the Anti-corruption Working group to help develop the Terms of reference for the SIICAC Secretariat, assist with the securing of the SIICAC operational needs when it is established,
- The engagement of a local consultant to help review the 2017-2019 National Anti-Corruption formulate the National Anti-Corruption Steering Committee formulate the New Anti-Corruption Strategy that aligned to the Anti- Corruption Act 2018.
He said now that the inaugural Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption (SIICAC) has been formed, it will be the hope for the country in terms of eradicating corruption in the country.
Sogavare said with the establishment of the inaugural members of SIICAC, his ministry will be submitting to the Ministry of the Public Service the proposed structure for the SIICAC.
“We will then proceed to recruit the staff catered for the 2020 Budget to support the newly established Commission do its work- and lead our fight against corruption.”
He said role of SIICAC includes prevention and awareness but importantly it also has an investigation and prosecution role for corruption offences.
“These roles will help the Commission curb, halt and reverse the increasing culture of corruption in our country.
“SIICAC will be assisted in its work by our existing Integrity Institutions including –the leadership Commission, the Ombudsman, the Auditor General, the CID brand of the Ministry of Police, National security and correctional services, the Parliamentary Entitlement commission and of course our Judiciary and Legislature,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sogavare said addressing the cancer called corruption is everybody’s business and not the government’s alone.
“The government cannot do it alone.
“Even the new Independent Commission Against Corruption cannot do it alone.
“We are dealing with a malignant and invasive tumour, a malignant cancer that needs to be eradicated.
“We simply cannot allow it to continue to grow unabated,” he said.
By IAN M.KAUKUI