Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Vanuatu NGOs Form Anti-Corruption Taskforce
New commission plans to hold government accountable

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 5, 2013) – The non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations comprising the Vanuatu Association Of Non-Governmental Organizations (VANGO) have united to form a Task Force of committed organizations and individuals determined to eliminate political and public service corruption.

According to a Task Force spokesperson the name of this new anti-corruption force is the Vanuatu Corruption Commission (VCC).

The VCC spokesperson stated – "Vanuatu Political Authorities continue to ignore civil society’s calls for better governance of the public sector. Political and administrative corruption is as widespread as ever. Nepotism, cronyism, embezzlement of public funds, bribery and vote buying persist."

It is the citizen who pays the price, as demonstrated by the recent multiplicity of scandals reported in the media. For example, consider the mega yacht Phocea saga involving State Ministers, one of whom was also recently questioned by PNG Authorities in relation to possible Trans-National crimes committed. Then there is the outstanding Lands Department and Ministry scandal for which no-one has yet been held accountable."

The Vanuatu Corruption Commission’s strategy is to:

  • Engage people, particularly the grassroots, including youth, women, church leaders, chiefs more widely than ever before, for ultimately, only people can stop corruption
  • Speak out more boldly about corruption
  • Work more closely with our coalition partners and the media in the anti-corruption fight
  • Use our influence to exercise more pressure on political decision-makers to implement anti-corruption reform

Civil Society Organizations are a pillar of Vanuatu’s development and as Institutions dedicated in the fight for the Rights of all Vanuatu people, it is important that the government fully engages with these interest groups in its development plans as well as the implementation of its Priority Action Agenda.

Desk reviews on the government’s implementation of its Priority Action Agenda will be carried out by this group as well as closely monitoring the performance of those in public affairs.

It is time for NGOs to start holding the government accountable for the implementation of its policies and if failure of quality performance is detected, then this group has every right to pursue further legal assistance from legal Institutions in the region and even international, where appropriate."

Vanuatu Daily Post:
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