PM says ACB priority

By Gary Hatigva

PRIME Minister Rick Houenipwela has reiterated his government’s commitment to see that corruption is dealt with at the strongest measures possible.

The Prime Minister made this known when addressing the local media at a press conference yesterday where he outlined his government’s set of priority legislations to address, based on their legislative calendar and schedules, which includes the much anticipated Anti-corruption Bill being one of the key priorities for his government.

Prime Minister Hou said this commitment is also reflected in the government’s policy and priority strategic outcome documents, which sees to ensure the tabling of the Anti-corruption Bill 2017 and have it passed to help this country fight corruption head on.

He said following its withdrawal a thorough review was done on it, got reintroduced in parliament last year and is now before the Bills and Legislative Committee awaiting reports for its presentation in the Committee of the Whole House for thorough scrutiny.

According to the PM, the Bill was put to review with amendments done to certain provisions and clauses in the draft.

He said some of the clauses needed clear directions and guide as they are merely repeating what is being said in the constitution.

The ACB was introduced in Parliament during the Sogavare-led DCC Government’s term but then later withrew it based on recommendations for amendments and thorough review.

It was later brought back to parliament in October last year where it was tabled and put before the Bills and Legislative Committee to draw up reports on it before it makes it to the Committee stage, but before it did, Sogavare was voted out as Prime Minister, leaving the bill in shadow.

However, the new government under Rick Hou’s leadership chose to carry on with what’s been described as unfinished wok on such an important piece of legislation, and factored it into his government’s priority programmes.

Parliament is currently at a special adjournment to allow for the Public Accounts Committee to look into the 2018 Budget and is hoping that when parliament resumes, will expect to go through the Budget Appreciation Bill and then others including the Anti-Corruption Bill 2017.

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