The National, Friday November 8th, 2013
By ELIZABETH MIAE
THE proposed Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) should not be seen as the answer to weeding out corruption, says Transparency International board director John Toguata.
Speaking at the National Research Institute’s (NRI) forum on the proposed ICAC Bill in Port Moresby yesterday, Toguata said: “If the emphasis is on ICAC, it’s not the only thing to fight corruption, don’t mislead the people.”
“People will be seeking clarification on the roles and functions of ICAC. My greatest fear is that ICAC will be overwhelmed with a lot of work therefore the government should be looking at strengthening what we have.”
Toguata referred to existing law enforcing agencies such as the police, Ombudsman Commission and the Public Prosecutor’s Office which he said the government should be supporting to fight corruption.
He said those agencies would do their jobs well if they were adequately supported with financial and human resources by the government.
Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin, who was at the forum, stressed that prosecutorial powers must remain in the office he held.
“It’s our view that it would be improper to be an investigator and a prosecutor,” Kaluwin said during open discussion.
“I have seen the draft ICAC Bill and there some matters that are questionable. For example, the processes involved, how will the ICAC bring matters to the court?”
“Prosecutorial powers has to be independent, if there will be three investigative bodies, where will the matters end up?”
Both Kaluwin and Toguata raised concerns that the roles and functions of the ICAC should be clarified so that it did not duplicate the roles and functions of the other anti-corruption bodies.
“We need to look at what other institutions are doing and aren’t doing and make recommendations,” former NRI director Dr. Thomas Webster said.