July 9, 2019

Commission of Inquiry an interim arrangement, once ICAC is set up: PNG Deputy PM

The establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (COI) is an interim arrangement that will cease once the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is set up, Papua New Guinea deputy Prime Minister Davis Steven, says.


Steven, the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, said because ICAC was unlikely to be established this year, it was decided to have a COI on the Union Bank of Switzerland loan issue.

Its first term of reference is to look into the loan.

The second is to look into the causes and effects of corruption in the country.

“It’s a general broader term and we are opening the opportunity now for people or entities with complaints to register your complaints,” he said.

Steven said the COI would conduct a straining process when the complaint was lodged to see if it was a leadership or police matter.

“If it’s a leadership matter, it goes to the Ombudsman Commission. If it’s a police matter, it goes to prosecution,” he said.

“We will structure it in a way where we will have officers from the police assigned to the COI and the Ombudsman Commission reporting mechanism in place, plus all the other relevant agencies.

“We don’t want it to be just one COI where we spend money and time and nothing happens.”

Steven said the commission would decide whether it should prepare itself the file for ICAC.

“We will bridge the period between now and when the ICAC law is passed,” he said. “The files that are appropriate for ICAC will be prepared and once it is established under law, the commission ceases and ICAC takes over.”

Meanwhile, he said all government departments would be checked on the status of their legal reforms.

“For too long, the social sector has been seen as a spending sector. Now we want to make them responsible and generate revenue.

“Our priority is to improve our labour law reforms to work with the Immigration and Foreign Affairs departments,” he said.


SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS/ONEPNG
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