AT this time last year, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced to the nation the DCC Government’s plan to tackle corruption.
This was during the 2015 International Anti-Corruption Day event in Honiara.
Mr Sogavare was the guest of honour at that event.
The DCC Government, Mr Sogavare stated, has an ambitious agenda in the fight against corruption in 2016.
That fight, he told the nation, will be backed by six new bills, which the Government will bring to parliament during the course of 2016.
The proposed 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
Three more weeks and 2016 will be gone forever.
None of the bills Mr Sogavare promised this nation has been passed in parliament.
Two of the bills – Anti-Corruption Bill and the Integrity Whistle Blower Bill – have reached the floor of parliament.
But that’s about it.
Mr Sogavare could not take it further than that, citing lack of support for the bills by the Opposition and Independent groups in parliament.
The Ombudsman (Special Provisions) Bill is before the current parliament sitting.
The other three bills are yet to be seen.
Question is, is this Government serious in its promise to tackle corruption head-on?
We all know the negative impacts corruption has had on our beloved country.
It reduces us to what we are today –a poor and least developed country struggling to make ends meet.
Corruption undermines our democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to government instability.
It steals away public funds; denying our people of better health and education facilities.
These are the reasons why we must stand united to fight corruption.
Furthermore, any fight against this evil can only be effective when we have the backing of relevant laws.
Mr Sogavare promised the nation to bring on those laws this year. He hasn’t done that.
What will he tell this nation during the 2016 International Anti-Corruption Day event in Honiara tomorrow?