Tuesday 2nd June 2020 – In June session of Parliament, when the Bill for the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is tabled for a second reading, the Government and elected representatives must ensure that the law being considered will create a fully empowered entity that is able to actively pursue corruption in Papua New Guinea. This was the call from Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) to the Marape-Steven Government and MP’s on the eve of the resumption of Parliament.
“The Government of Papua New Guinea has made a concerted effort since the gazetting of the ICAC Bill in October 2019, to enact this vital anti-corruption measure in 2020, and for their progress they should be rightfully commended. The ICAC Bill is now being brought for a 2nd Reading in Parliament all Papua New Guineans who value good governance, will be watching closely to see if the proposed ICAC will have the full powers of Investigation, Arrest & Prosecution required to be effective in addressing the scourge of corruption,” said Peter Aitsi, Chairman of TIPNG in a media statement.
“TIPNG welcomes Prime Minister Marape’s recent public commitment on getting ICAC to a third reading in Parliament, and so to assist the public to keep track of the process of enactment, TIPNG has produced a visual guide to the ICAC enactment process.” Mr. Aitsi said. “TIPNG also acknowledges the role of the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Laws & Acts and Subordinate Legislation, as they collect views from the Department of Justice & Attorney General (DJAG) and others to ensure the law for the ICAC, gives it the full powers of Investigation, Arrest & Prosecution in order to give this watch dog teeth. It is our hope that Sir Peter Ipatas, as Chairman of the Permanent Parliamentary Committee, will table a report next week in Parliament supporting a fully empowered ICAC for PNG.”
In terms of parliamentary process, the ICAC Bill will need to be read a second time, followed by a period of adjournment if there are changes and then read a third time in Parliament. Members of Parliament will vote at each of the readings of the Bill, if they are in favour or against the proposed ICAC. TIPNG urges all Papua New Guineans to inform their MP to support the fully empowered ICAC, and to take note of how their MP votes on this essential anti-corruption law next week.