PM’s priority is to eradicate graft

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, August 10th 2011

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has promised to completely weed out corruption by jailing people and penalising companies which have illegally benefited from the state coffers.
“Graft and corruption are serious issues and they merely represent the extent of rot and decay that has been building up over time in key sectors of the nation’s governance and administration structure,” O’Neill said
“We will attend to the rot and decay, we will cleanse the system.
“We will take the excesses head on and correct them promptly.
“We will turn complacency into assertiveness and forthrightness.”
He said the government would immediately make some hard decisions and spearhead legislative initiatives to ensure that the public service was more accountable and productive by weeding out unproductive
and non-performing elements.
“We will revamp the Public Ser­vice Management Act by making some legislative and regulatory amendments that will enable us to zero in on specific fraudulent activities within the government overall public service and financial management system.
“To underpin our resolve, my go­vernment will introduce the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Bill to establish ICAC.
“The powers of ICAC will go beyond the Leadership Code. It will cover those in both the public and private sectors.
“In other words, we will zero in on all perpetrators of graft and corruption everywhere in the community and not just those that hold public office.”
He said the government was mindful of the public outcry over rampant corruption and mismanagement of money.
“I will move decisively to appoint a special prosecutor to immediately investigate, charge, prosecute and jail persons, groups and companies who have illegally benefited from state’s coffers,’’ he said.