Opposition backs changes to Leadership Code

National, Normal


THE Opposition last Friday provided its numbers to the Government for the amendments to the Leadership Code to pass the first stage.
Parliament voted 73-0 with Speaker Jeffrey Nape giving the deciding vote to have the constitutional amendment go through the first hurdle.
The Opposition claimed that it did not support the bill on Thursday because there was no consultation. That change a day later after consultations were made by Government on the proposed bill.
The bill is a constitutional amendment and will have its mandated two-month deferral before the final vote is taken for it to become law.
The proposed law to alter the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership was introduced by parliamentary chairman on Ombudsman Commission and Esa’ala MP, Moses Maladina.
It related to leaders’ shareholding in companies, for heads of departments to be held accountable as leaders, for complaints to be investigated within two years after the date of making a complaint, and for investigations not to be revealed to the media.
He said in this day and age, leaders needed to have shareholdings to sustain their current income and prepare themselves for the future.
He said while the Port Moresby Stock Exchange was close for the day, other stock exchanges in New York and London on the other side of the world were trading and leaders cannot get approval from the Ombudsman Commission at 2am as they will miss out on opportunities.
The amendment was that leaders can make investments provided the Ombudsman Commission is notified after any transactions.
The amendments also make heads of departments accountable for their actions.
The amendment also gives parliamentary committees the teeth to summon persons to appear before them.
Those who fail to show up are guilty of misconduct in office.
The other is that the Ombudsman shall cease to investigate or hold any hearing on a complaint where the commission, or any other authority, fails to complete the investigations within two years from the date the complaint was filed and have it referred to the public prosecutor within two years after it was registered.