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June 24, 2021
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ICAC Bill Update

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The much-anticipated Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill, and related Whistle-blower legislation should be introduced on the floor of parliament early next year.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Davis Steven, whilst the intention of government has been to fast-track the tabling of these important bills, the efforts of bureaucracy, especially in regards to the Whistle-blower legislation has been disappointing, with NEC still awaiting legal clearance from respective offices responsible, which is a concern.

Inline with the Marape-Steven Government’s efforts to combat corruption, the Independent Commission Against Corruption bill is set to go be tabled in Parliament when Parliament resumes in February next year.

Speaking to National EMTV News, Deputy Prime Minister & Attorney General, Davis Steven confirmed this, adding that proper process was now being followed in having this important bill distributed to all MP’s before its tabling on the floor of parliament.

The ICAC Bill, one that has taken several years to table.

“So ICAC is already ready, only (a) one month mandatory notice has been given in the gazette. So that’s all complied with now that we’ve got the rules in parliament for circulation, that should be compliant within the ….succeeding months before the next parliament, and then it is our intention that ICAC will be introduced in the February sitting, so that’s something we are working with the (parliament) clerk to improve on”

The related “Whistle-blowers Legislation” is also expected to be tabled in Parliament together with the ICAC Bill.

However, despite the legislation already approved by the National Executive Council, the Attorney General has raised concerns as to the commitment of the bureaucracy in drafting the act – with the Attorney General unhappy with perceived affords to delay work on this legislation.

“With the whistle-blowers legislation, cabinet has already endorsed it – the delay is with the drafting by the first legislative council, the FLC, has been sitting on it – I say on the record, I don’t know why but he’s been sitting on it , I myself have found it very difficult to even bring in the whistle-blowers legislation – our leaders are mindful, they want to pass it but they are also saying well if you are going to use the whistle-blowers protection, to protect yourself and go and make false allegations , you must be punished. So that was I think a fair input onto the draft that we received and just a small amendment to be inserted, it’s taken few months now”

According to the Attorney General, there needs to be urgency in ensuring these legislation’s are completed – with the bureaucracy urged to ensure they are in tune with government efforts.

By Meriba Tulo, EMTV News, Port Moresby

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