The ICAC law has come a long way and will not be delayed any further, it is ready to be passed in the August parliament session.
This is the stance of the Chairman of the Parliamentary committee, Sir Peter Ipatas following concerns of duplication raised by the Ombudsman Commission yesterday.
If amendments are to be made, it will be catered for after the Bill is passed in the August session.
Interim ICAC Chairman, Thomas Eluh remains optimistic that the new law does not infringe on the work of any constitutional office, rather it complements it.
The public hearings into the new ICAC law ended yesterday. Yesterday also saw Ombudsman Commission appearing before the committee and highlighting certain sections of the new bill they claim either duplicate their work or takes away functions from them.
“The law must give due consideration to harmonizing any law that is being developed,” said Chief Ombudsman Richard Pagen.
Today Chairman of the committee Sir Peter Ipatas while considering Pagen’s response to the bill, said the public hearing ended yesterday and they will now take this to parliament.
While it is up to parliament to decide on whether amendments should be made, he said they will ensure the bill is passed first thing in the next sitting which is in August.
“Like all laws, all the laws are not perfect. You know, you pass the law and then make sure that you do amendments as required. So ah, the main thrust of the ICAC law or bill has now got to be passed so that we go and establish the commission”.
Interim Chairman of ICAC Thomas Eluh maintained his stand that the law does not take away any functions or powers from any constitutional office but is designed to investigate serious systematic corruption.
“It is more or less to add value to what they’re already doing because the level of corruption has sky-rocketed and everyone is talking about corruption both within and internationally. Our reputation is so bad, so are we going to just keep quiet about it and continue on the way we’re doing business?”
Eluh said the Ombudsman Commission was invited twice earlier to attend a briefing by the parliamentary committee but failed to turn up in the earlier hearings.
He added that the new ICAC law not only looks at investigating corruption but also covers areas to deal with education and prevention.
Meantime, Sir Peter Ipatas is adamant the bill has come a long way from the 90s and it must be passed in the August session.