What the BLC says on the Anticorruption Bill

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BY CAROL-ANNE SULEGA

THE Report on the Anticorruption Bill clearly states that the oversight model proposed in the Bill may not be the best to combat corruption in Solomon Islands.

According to the Report, the Committee believed the Bill was hastily drafted and did not go through a thorough and robust consultation and that a better and more effective model was not considered in the consultations.

The Bill proposes   to establish   the Solomon   Islands   Independent   Commission   against   Corruption (SIICAC).

It is an authority   that is tasked to receive, process, investigate   and refer for prosecution   any corruption   complaints referred to it by the public and or whistleblowers.

The report states that some of the clauses proposed   in the Bill could weaken the integrity of the Commission.

Examples given were the membership   of the nominating   Committee   who   are politicians   or politically   appointed   and   the process   for their   appointment,     the   non-inclusion   of provisions   against   unjust   enrichment,   the vulnerability   of the Commission   as a result of the necessary budgetary   process and resourcing,   and the use of custom as a defense.

The Committee made sixteen (16) recommendations   under this Bill and urged the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) as the sponsors of the Bill, to seriously consider the recommendations and make the necessary amendments.

The Bills and Legislation Committee   (the Committee)   completed   its inquiry into the Anti-corruption Bill 2016 and was received   by the Speaker on the 31st   of March.

The Committee conducted   hearings on it from the 20th to the 23rd of April last year.

The Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare used these as reference to the Bill’s withdrawal based on the recommendations given to them by the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) and questioned why the sudden disagreement to the withdrawal when the Government was only following what Members of Parliament from the Opposition and Independent bloc who too make up the BLC, strongly recommended in their report.

The Prime Minister recently released a statement over the weekend stating the Anticorruption Bill will be brought back in the next sitting.

Parliament has been adjourned to October 9.

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