Face to face, no other means

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Reporting corruption cases requires physical presence: AG

By Gary Hatigeva

THE government was questioned if the Anti-Corruption Bill 2017 has any provisions that looks at the nature of which complaints on corruption matters are reported, other than the current form.

This was raised as there were concerns over issues of accessibility and distances, which most from both the Opposition and Independent groups share similar sentiments.

According to Clause 35, which looks at how corruption complaints are made, sub section one of it explained that a corruption complaint may be made by any person to the Commission, either directly or through an integrity officer.

But the Aoke/Langalanga Member of Parliament, Matthew Wale questioned whether there were other provisions that provide for other forms of reporting of complaints to be made.

“Especially, for those in the rural areas or where there is lack of accessibility to both the commission and integrity officers,” the Aoke/Langalanga MP said.

Wale further asked if other means have been looked at especially with regards to usage of technology to report complaints on corruption, especially in the usage of mobile phones and emails.

However, when responding to the questions and concerns, Prime Minister Rick Hounipwela explained that the points are well noted, unfortunately, for the time being, what’s highlighted are the only means factored to be used.

Hou suggested that maybe sometimes in the future, things as such, including usage of videos and other forms, are incorporated.

But in the case of reporting orally, as questioned by the Member of Parliament for Northeast Guadalcanal, the Attorney General explained that complainants must report matters in the sense they must appear before the commission or the integrity officer.

The Northeast Guadalcanal MP during his contribution in the proceedings of the Anti-Corruption Bill, was asking whether reporting orally as stated in the Bill (Act) also covers reporting of complaints through phones.

It was explained that the information given by parties implicated could be exposed or tempered with and therefore the physical presence of complainants on corruption is important, but the government is confident that after its passage, areas highlighted can be added if needed or necessary.