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.