WORK PROGRESSING ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AGAINST CORRUPTION

Work is progressing into the establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) with the second meeting for this year held by the ICAC Appointments Committee in Port Moresby yesterday, Wednesday 26 January 2022.

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape called attention to the absolute need for the Government to address the “cancer of corruption” in the country and hastened the Committee to immediately move the process along before Parliament rose for the National General Elections this year.

Hosted by the Department of Justice & Attorney General (DJAG) at its WNB Haus office and chaired by the Prime Minister, the meeting discussed the composition of the Commission, its check and balance and administrative mechanisms, its reporting structure, and various other administrative and legal requirements, including recruitment for its composition.

Prime Minister Marape also pointed out the Undisclosed Wealth Act and the Whistle Blowers Act – the supporting legislation that will assist to operationalise the work of the Commission when it is up and running.

A very stringent process has been agreed to by the Committee, details of which will be released at a later date when the Commission is ready to launch.

These efforts by DJAG continue at the back of a record number of legislation sponsored by the department and passed by Parliament last and this year which have contributed to an improvement in PNG’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by Transparency International, report of which was released recently.

ICAC Interim Chairman Thomas Eluh, while providing a brief, said PNG has dropped from 142nd placing out of 180 countries to 126th place in the 2021 Corruption Perception Index.

"This is a massive drop in one year, highlighting the positive and strong efforts of the Marape Government in tackling rampant corruption in the country, " said Eluh.

"The full operationalisation of ICAC will further improve PNG’s grading on the CPI."

Prime Minister Marape encouraged the Appointment Committee, the ICAC team, DJAG and other integrity organisations to strive to reduce PNG's ranking on the CPI to double digits, adding that the 2021 CPI ranking is very encouraging for the Government and the country.

He also urged DJAG to use the three years before the country turned 50 in 2025 to strengthen the legislative and administrative mechanisms to “clean up the country” in time for the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The meeting was attended by the Chief Justice Gibbs Salika, ICAC Interim Chairman Thomas Eluh, Attorney-General Dr Eric Kwa, and various key members of DJAG.