Tuesday 14th July 2020, Port Moresby – The wording on the Bill for the Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) ensures that it will be a fully-empowered anti-corruption agency. This was made known in an oral presentation on Tuesday 14th July by Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) to the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Laws, Acts and Subordinate Legislations, which is chaired by the Governor for Enga, Grand Chief Sir Peter Ipatas. In its presentation, TIPNG highlighted that the challenge once the Bill is voted on and passed in its 3rd reading in Parliament, will be ensuring that the regulations that will guide the office, implement the spirit of the Legislation.
“As an overall assessment, the proposed Organic Law to establish an ICAC in Papua New Guinea meets TIPNG’s expectations of being full empowered to significantly address corruption. As such while TIPNG does not have any major amendments to be considered we do have substantive recommendations for the ICAC’s accompanying regulations, guidance notes and policy papers to ensure that the body is able to operate with the intended intent of addressing corruption in Papua New Guinea,” said founding Director of TIPNG Mr. Richard Kassman in an oral presentation to the Permanent Parliamentary Committee.
For the purpose of the presentation, TIPNG’s position was based on the draft of the ICAC Bill that was published in National Gazette No. G843 on 17th October 2019. The assessment by TIPNG in the oral and written submission focused on two primary thematic considerations in the Bill:
- The Powers of the ICAC in 5 areas; Definition of Corruption, Investigation, Arrest, Prosecution and the Proceeds of Crime
- The Independence of the ICAC in 6 areas; Appointments, Appointments Committee, Funding, Prime Minister’s Powers, Oversight, High-Profile Cases
The Prime Minister at the Launch of the 2019 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) Results by TIPNG made a public commitment to ensure that a fully-empowered ICAC would be enacted in 2020. Following the First Reading of the Bill in February and the Second Reading in June (which was also the first of two constitutionally-required votes in Parliament), the ICAC Bill is now with the Parliamentary Committee for review before the Third Reading scheduled in August where it will be tabled and voted on for the last time. The deadline for written submissions to the Parliamentary Committee is Friday 17th July 2020.