Marat: Body against corruption should be independent

Islands, Normal

The National, Tuesday August 6th, 2013

 MEMBER for Rabaul, Dr Allan Marat believes that the proposed Independent Commission Against Corruption policy must work independently without political interference.

He was speaking last Friday at the New Guinea Islands consultation on the proposed Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) at Gazelle International Hotel in Kokopo, East New Britain.

“I would like to see the ICAC be totally independent from Government like the Central Bank which is created by legislation but given total independence from the government,” he said.

“The government has no control, power or direction over the central bank and only seeks views and consultation from it (central bank).”

“The ICAC must not have a shred of government involvement in it,” Marat stressed.

“I do not want to see this ICAC bill, when passed, to commence operation on the day it is ascertained to or approved by the speaker of parliament but it must be taken back to Sept 16, 1975, because I believe that some corrupt activities today will have connection with corrupt activities in the past.

“I know that this is the reason why this bill was not passed during Sir Bill Skate’s time and I want this ICAC law to have impact.” 

Marat said if a deadline was put to ICAC with the commencement of the approval by the speaker, then all corrupt activities would be cut off and if ICAC were to investigate future corrupt activities, they would in a lot of cases refer back to corrupt activities in the past.

“If there is a cut-off date, ICAC will be useless.”

Marat said when the bill was to be given notice of in parliament, he made sure this retrospective was included but was withdrawn by the current government.

“If this ICAC wants to be credible it has to have retrospective power back to 1970s and it must be able to investigate anything that it considers necessary to further its objectives and have no limit.”

Marat suggested that ICAC must have special prosecution functions. 

“For us leaders, if we are prosecuted, we must never be eligible to stand for public office ever again,” he said.