PNG Independent Commission Against Corruption should be in operation by 2023

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The Papua New Guinea Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) top priority now is the appointment of the commissioner and deputy commissioners before operation by 2023.

ICAC interim chairman Thomas Eluh said since the passage of Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption last year, it has taken ICAC more than 12 months to continue to progress the development and establishment of the organisation.

Apart from its setting up, other factors that need to be addressed are office building to accommodate senior officers, staff funding, resources and recruitment.

The technical team is working on creating an effective legitimate recruitment, selection and appointment of the positions. while external expert assistance will be required to facilitate it.

He said most of the handling of the applications will be done online in order to take the human elements out of the process.

Eluh said ICAC cannot be operational until the appointment of the commissioner and deputy commissioners are made, the involvement of the new leadership as possible in many organisation and management decisions is required to launch the new agency.

“Not everyone will appreciate the time required to create a new and important agency from scratch.

We expect to hear citizens grumbling about delays in starting up ICAC, given the fact that the country is deeply suffering the consequences of corruption which is described to be systemic,” Eluh said.

He said the government, NGOs and citizens have lost confidence in law enforcement agencies like police, Ombudsmen Commission, public prosecutor and others while the only hope lies on ICAC.

Eluh appealed to the citizens for their understanding and patience in establishing an ICAC from ground up, as is not an easy task in a country like ours with more than 800 different tribes and traditions, wantok system and other which makes the country fertile for corruption.

He said ICAC needs the support of other law enforcement agencies to effectively fight corruption.

Eluh said it will be suicidal to rush ICAC into operation prematurely with the Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (OLICAC) Bill passed last year. It is a new untested law with no precedence set by the courts compared to other laws.

“We will engage consultants to do a desktop review on all the other pieces of legislations that interplay with the OLICAC to ensure that it is not in conflict with other pieces of the relevant legislations and that it sits comfortably with them and enables smooth operation with the laws,” Eluh said.

“Secondly, ICAC cannot afford to fight corruption without the support of the other law enforcement agencies such as the police, Ombudsman Commission, the Public Prosecutor and judiciary and others.”

He said it is critically important that the other sister law enforcement agencies are corruption free, efficient and effective, otherwise our fight against corruption will not achieve its purpose.

Eluh said ICAC has successfully accomplished passage of OLICAC, approval of ICAC structure and endorsement of the National Anti-Corruption Plan of action by the National Executive Council which will be launched soon.

Eluh said activities in progress are; regulation writing, code of ethics, duty statements, procedure manuals, corporate plan, case management system, recruitment procedure manual, financial, HR and IT system and others to come into full operation in 2023.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS