Port Moresby, 27th September 2018 – The reported re-established interim Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Committee is not an independent investigative body for corruption. TIPNG calls on the National Executive Council (NEC) to clarify the legal basis for the interim committee to investigate corruption matters, especially when the investigations appear to be politically directed.
The NEC re-established the interim ICAC committee and issued directives for all files and assets of the Taskforce Sweep to be transferred to the Interim Committee and immediate investigations to be conducted into the operation of PNGSDP (Cloudy Bay), Community College Project and the National Agriculture Development Plan. Added to this, the interim ICAC will investigate any case directed to it by the NEC.
To date, no ICAC bill has been passed. The original ICAC Bill is still overdue for tabling in Parliament, it has been six years too long. Papua New Guinea deserves an ICAC that is independent and effective. TIPNG urges the Department of Justice & Attorney General and other agencies responsible for processing the ICAC Bill to facilitate wider public consultation. This process needs to be executed immediately and thoroughly, especially when it was reported that the Government was looking at modifying the Bill to remove powers of the proposed ICAC.
The ICAC is intended to be an independent constitutional body that will have powers to investigate, arrest and prosecute cases of corruption in both the public and private sector. The ICAC is envisioned to work alongside existing law enforcement agencies. Its successful implementation is a requirement for Papua New Guinea after the government ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) over 10 years ago.
Previously in Decision 191/2014, on 18th June of 2014 when the Taskforce Sweep was disbanded, the NEC established the interim committee to be “responsible for the establishment of the ICAC”. However instead of fulfilling its initial terms of reference, it is now trying to do the work of the delayed ICAC, at the directive of the NEC.