PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare plans to bring six Anti-corruption Bills in the upcoming Parliament this year.
He revealed this during the International Anti-Corruption Day in Honiara last year.
The six proposed anti-corruption bills are:
1. Anti-Corruption Bill
2. The Integrity Whistle Blower Bill
3. The Ombudsman (Special Provisions) Bill
4. The Leadership Code (Further Provisions) Bill
5. The National and Provincial Election (Further Provisions) Bill
6. The Freedom of Information Bill
Mr Sogavare said the Anti-Corruption Bill is the government’s top priority, which will be brought to parliament in the first quarter of 2016.
“This will be the first comprehensive legislation consolidating old and new offences of corruption with revised levels of penalties.
“The Solomon Islands Independent Commission against Corruption (SIICAC) will be established by way of this law,” he added.
The Integrity Whistle Blower Bill, Mr Sogavare said, is the second highest priority bill put forward by this government.
“This new legislation will primarily protect any person who report in good faith suspected act of corruption, maladministration or improper conduct of officials from discrimination and retaliatory actions,” he explained.
The Ombudsman (Special Provisions) Bill, Mr Sogavare said, is another high priority for his government, which will be tabled in parliament by mid 2016.
“In the new Ombudsman Act the powers of the Ombudsman have been re-emphasised and a requirement that the finding by the Ombudsman must be acted upon without delay and will now be part of the new act,” the prime minister said.
The Leadership Code Bill, Mr Sogavare said, is another high priority area of his government.
He explained the new Leadership Code Act will clarify which officials in the public sector it will concentrate on given its overlap in jurisdiction with that of the Ombudsman.
“The new Act will also establish the Leadership Tribunal to hear cases of the misconducts in offices.”
Work on the National and Provincial Election Bill has already begun early last year and the government hopes to table it in parliament mid this year.
“The new Election Act will provide for the new election system in which the 2018 General Election will be conducted under where a new anti-defection measure will also be provided by way of this new Act,” Mr Sogavare said.
Mr Sogavare said the Freedom of Information Bill aims to promote and exert transparency measures making available government information for public consumption as well as rights of citizens to have access to official information from any government agency.
“The bill will be enacted by the parliament towards the end of 2016,” he said.
Apart from the six bills, Mr Sogavare said the government is also reviewing the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014.
In providing for these new laws, Mr Sogavare said the government is fully aware that they are themselves not enough to make us effective in our collective fight against corruption.
He said the government will be producing the National Anti-Corruption Strategy not later than six months after the Anti-Corruption Bill is enacted.
BY EDDIE OSIFELO