Solomon Islands has been a member of the United Nations since its independence. The United Nations designated 9th December as the International Anti-Corruption Day after the passage of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption on October 31st, 2003. This Convention entered into force in December 2005. The General Assembly requested the Secretary General (UN) to designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as the Secretariat for the Convention’s Conference of States Parties.
Solomon Islands through whichever Executive Government that is exercising government official power and as one of the State Party Member and a signatory to this Convention, commits itself to lead the fight against corruption here in Solomon Island. As such, citizens of Solomon Islands are looking to their government to take a leading role in policy and legislative reforms, educational and awareness activities in the fight against corruption, embracing and building coalitions with the citizens, the civil society organisations, individuals and concerned citizens and in particular the youths of today, whose opportunities and access to employment, high quality education is denied them because of corruption in the Public Sector. The International Anti-Corruption Day is a day where government, civil society and citizens come together to share what they have carried out during the year, what has worked and what has not worked, rooms for improvement, gaps that needs addressing and the list goes on.
The theme for 2022 International Anti-Corruption day is UNITING THE WORLD AGAINST CORRUPTION a theme most appropriate for Solomon Islands and for the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption. Transparency Solomon Islands calls on the Director General of the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption (John Kouni), the Assistant Secretary for Anti-Corruption Policy Overview & National Anti-Corruption of the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Philip Manakako), the (UNDP) Programme Manager for the Accountability, Transparency, Peacebuilding Project (Ms. Nanise Aune-Qaloewai) to use this day and the theme for 2022 IACD to advocate for UNITING SOLOMON ISLANDS AGAINST CORRUPTION being the organizers of this event. This day provides that opportune opportunity and avenue for all of us, Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption, Institutions of Accountability and Integrity, Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, UNDP, Development Services Exchange, Transparency Solomon Islands, Media (key stakeholders) concerned individuals and citizens come together and advocate for Uniting Solomon Islands Against Corruption, or the Pacific Region for that matter.
It is the day that the Public Institutions (paid by taxpayers) and civil society inform citizen of this country what we have done, what worked well, what needs improvement, what gaps exist, and where citizens can play a part in this fight, using radio, to reach as many people as possible and time for citizens to inform us if we are making any difference in this fight and in their lives. The United Nations designated this day as a day to raise awareness on corruption. It did not designate the week leading up to the 9th of December and that day as the only time each year that the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption Office, the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, carry out awareness in the provinces to the tune of $100,000.00. The rest of the year they remain dormant and waiting for opportunities to travel overseas. Awareness to the provinces, communities Transparency Solomon Islands believes should be a continuous activities of these government institutions, and of course Transparency Solomon Islands too. Not only an activity of the International Anti-Corruption Day as it is becoming now. TSI upon enquiry learned that the Director General of SIICAC and the Assistant Secretary for Anti-Corruption Policy Overview & National Anti-Corruption (OPMC) are responsible for organizing the program for the day but they have not informed their bosses either about what is to be the program for today.
As of yesterday (8th December, and last month) absolutely nothing has come from the three key institutions (SIICAC, OPMC, & UNDP) to inform the public, civil society and concerned citizens about any programme for the day. But corruption in public sector is a big problem. The key findings of the Global Corruption Barometer Pacific 2021 of peoples experiences corruption is a big problem in Solomon Islands.
Key Findings for Solomon Islands of the Global Corruption Barometer Pacific 2021
- 97% of the respondents see corruption in the government as a big problem
- 90% of the respondents see corruption in the business sector as a big problem
- 52% of the respondents say government not doing a good job fighting corruption.
- Public official engaged in corruption rarely or never face consequences.
Solomon Islands Corruption Perception Index since 2016 measuring how corrupt our public sector is and government’s effort to fight corruption has remained stagnant and says the same. Our public sector is highly corrupt and politicized.
|SOLOMON ISLANDS CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX|
Corruption in public sector remains a huge issue for Solomon Islands. It undermines development, peace, and security and here in Solomon Islands affects everyone, everywhere throughout Solomon Islands in one way or the other. It drains and diverts much needed resources away from economic infrastructure especially in provincial rural areas, it drains and allows for the illicit flow of resources from the exploitation of the country’s natural resources out of the country, resources away from schools, hospitals and the list goes on.
When it comes to those who should unite us against the fight against corruption promoting good governance, transparency, and accountability again the findings of the Global Corruption Barometer Pacific 2021 clearly shows us why we are not getting anywhere with this fight.
Global Corruption Barometer Pacific 2021 Key Findings for Solomon Islands – People say the Most Corrupt Institutions of Solomon Islands.
Members of Parliament – 55% of respondents
Companies extracting Natural Resources 53% of respondents
The Prime Minister and Officials in his office 45% of respondents
Business Executives 28% of respondents
Civil Servants 27% of respondents
Police 27% of respondents
The tubi saga, clearly verifies the relations between high officials of the government and loggers.
Therefore, the conduct, the non-performance or lack of consultative, uniting approach shown by the Director General of the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption, Assistant Secretary Anti-Corruption Policy Overview & National Anti-Corruption (OPMC) and UNDP responsible for organizing the program is unacceptable and should be reviewed. It has become exclusive as shown by their organisation of this year and last year’s International Anti-Corruption Day or the lack of it and is now used for Christmas fundraising for officers involved. For Solomon Islands to roll back and eliminate corruption a collaborative approach amongst all stakeholders is vital. If these responsible officers are unable to demonstrate that leadership Transparency Solomon Islands calls on the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to re-visit these appointments. Solomon Islands cannot afford to have officers that make the fight against corruption as an activity that revolves around themselves for their own personal agendas and not for the common good. It is very important that who occupies these important posts embrace the participation of all Institutions of Integrity and Accountability, Civil Society Organisations, citizens in proposed plans, policies, and activities, and build partnerships, coalitions, and networking that UNITES SOLOMON ISLANDS AGAINST CORRUPTION.
The Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption has been in operation now for almost 4 years. Very little work has been carried out due to no resources as shared by the Chairman of the Commission Sir Frank Kabui in one of the talk-back shows in previous year. Whilst Transparency Solomon Islands acknowledges this, for the Director General not to produce any information brochure etc. is unacceptable. There are somethings that can be done that do not need money, but it is not happening and this in TSI’s view calls for a performance assessment to be conducted. Transparency Solomon Islands calls on the Executive Government to re-visit these appointments as SIICAC and OPMC are important bodies that are mandated with providing the leadership towards UNITING SOLOMON ISLANDS for the fight against corruption.
Transparency Solomon Islands acknowledges that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime are the UN Agencies at the forefront of the efforts on the fight against corruption. Here in relation to the International Anti-Corruption Day Transparency Solomon Islands calls on UNDP to re-examine its approach in Solomon Islands in the fight against corruption and include all key stakeholders in project design and activities. Millions are poured into the country through UNDP for the fight against corruption, whilst the public institutions such as, the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption, and Institutions of Integrity are starved of needed resources (human &logistic support) to carry out their work in this fight. It is a concern that UNDP is beginning to act and behave like a second government in Solomon Islands. Transparency Solomon Islands as it reminds itself daily, reminds UNDP and all actors in this space that the sustainability of the fight against corruption promoting good governance rests with the Institutions of Integrity and citizens not in TSI or UNDP. Release those millions to support stakeholders anti-corruption advocacy and these institutions and stop supporting individuals who seem to be your favourite, and plans that has not been widely discussed.
In the absence of any programme other than UNDP’s talk back show, for this International Anti-Corruption Day Transparency Solomon Islands fully supports the theme for this year and call on all citizens of Solomon Islands to unite against corruption. Give those millions to organisations that are carrying out advocacy in this space, national organisations that can ask the hard questions of their government, say what must be said in this fight without worrying about their relationship with the Executive Government. Stop producing reports that build mountains out of anthills. It does not help the fight against corruption. Paints an incorrect image allowing corruption to thrive in real life. Shine a light on what other actors are doing in this space and stop misinforming funders that you are the only actor in this space.
To mark the day TSI is distributing anti-corruption sticker messages for computer, car office etc. You can collect this from our office.
LET US STAY UNITED IN OUR FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION SUPPORTING EACH OTHER AS WE BREAK THE CORRUPTION CHAIN.