By EDDIE OSIFELO
LEADER of Independent Group, Robertson Galokale highlights that corruption is still high despite the establishment of Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption recently.
Speaking on the debate on the Speech from the throne delivered by the Governor General last Monday, Galokale said in 2018, Solomon Islands scored 44/100 and ranked 70/180.
This was based on the Global Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International which ranks 180 countries around the world each year by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a 0 – 100 scale where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
Galokale said this showed some improvements in that they gained 15 points up on ranking compared to 2017.
He said it goes without saying “corruption is rampant in all levels of our society”.
“Fighting it is a huge but highly important task for all Solomon Islanders, SICAC alone cannot be our final answer to tackling corruption in our society.
“We face many corruption challenges in terms of our geographical features, weak institutions, low state interventions, specific governance challenges, weak political system, outdated public service systems and so forth,” he said.
Galokale said corruption also manifests itself in many forms in their society, ranging from petty corruption, embezzlement, grand and political corruption, get-rich-quick money scams and various forms of nepotism and patronage networks.
He said corrupt practices in the management of natural resources are specific areas of concerns given the current prospects of transitioning from a logging to a minerals-based economy in the coming years, which as far as he can see, the country is ill-prepared for this transition.
“Hence the work of SICAC must start immediately to mitigate some of these concerns.
“But most importantly, SICAC must be given independence and autonomy to operate and conduct investigations that are not subject to any influence or interference of politicians, government officials, political parties, wantok system, or the government of the day itself,” he said.
Galokale said this is essential to ensure that it fulfils its intended objectives and to ensure public confidence is maintained.
Parliament has adjourned to Monday, August 26.