The workshop this week on the National Anti-Corruption Strategy which draws participation from the Government, Civil Society, the Private Sector, Integrity Institutions and Development Partners is an affirmation of the Government’s commitment to fight corruption in the country.
Since taking leadership in early 2015, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has announced to the Nation that his Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government will aggressively pursue policy directions and legislative reforms to battle corruption.
Today the Prime Minister has announced at the opening of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) Workshop a number of anti-corruption initiatives that the DCCG has prioritized to be delivered during its term in office.
These initiatives include the Anti-Corruption Bill, the Whistle-Blower Protection Bill, the Electoral Reform incorporated into a new Electoral Act, Reform to Strengthen the Political Parties Integrity Act, Reforms to Strengthen the Ombudsman and the Leadership Code Commission, Freedom of Information Policy as a precursor to the Right to Information Bill.
The proposed Anti-Corruption Bill, when enacted, will be the instrument by which authorities will investigate and prosecute corruption.
Once enacted, it will create the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption (SIICAC) – a specialized or independent institution that will be responsible for investigation and prosecution of corruption allegations whilst supporting civic education on the effect of corruption.
The Anti-Corruption Bill is nearing completion and will find its way back to Parliament soon.
According to the Prime Minister, the Whistle Blower Protection Bill is all set to go for enactment but it needs to be accompanied by the Anti-Corruption Bill because it was primarily designed to support the anti-corruption bill when enacted.
He said the agenda for the fight against corruption is obviously huge but efforts made so far by the Government and its stakeholders are moving ahead.
“There is no more time for reflection, there is no more time for rhetoric, there is only time for action,” the Prime Minister said.
This week’s workshop which is hosted by the Solomon Islands Government with support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), was designed to share with participants latest developments on national legislative programmes on anti-corruption.
The workshop is set to assist Solomon Islands to develop its own NACS with the ultimate aim to reduce opportunities for corruption as well as to increase the probability for detection, civic education and punishment.