AG Delays Approval Of New PNG Anti-Corruption Commission
By Jemima Garrett
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 30, 2013) – Papua New Guinea's new attorney-general, Kerenga Kua, says he wants to ensure transparency in the fight against corruption in his country.
After his re-election in August, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill made tackling corruption a priority.
PNG already has an institution to deal with corruption by national leaders, but a proposed newIndependent Commission Against Corruption will have powers to investigate wrong-doers further down the political food chain.
Kerenga Kua has told Lowy Institute's Leadership Mapping Program he has asked his department to delay the legislation's progress until he has been able to ensure it includes all the measures he believes are necessary.
"I wanted to ensure that certain critical issues that I have in mind are accommodated in that framework," he said.
"Take for example, I wanted to ensure that within that new organic law, which is what is being drafted, we have a means tested provision, where if a certain individual is seen to be living beyond his means, then the commission must have the power – either on its own initiative or on complaint – to investigate that fellow… To summons him and to investigate into that background, how he came into possession of such assets money and so on."
The Attorney General is also keen to ensure there is no delay between the referral of a matter to the Public Prosecutor and the prosecution of the matter.
"At the moment you have the Ombudsman Commission who is responsible for the application of the leadership code, on leaders," he said.
"They complete their investigation and if they feel there is a prima facie case, they refer it to the public prosecutor, who then stalls the progress of the matter and carries out his own analysis on whether or not there is a prima facie case.
"That exercise itself can delay the progress by up to a year."
The Attorney-General also has a plan to clear the backlog of cases in the courts and to prevent delays in judgments.
At the moment judges in the National court also sit in the Appeal court, a practice which can cause disruption to National court proceedings.
Mr. Kua says more and more competent judges are needed, and he plans to split the courts so each has its own judicial staff - with lifetime appointments.
Copyright © 2013 Radio Australia. All Rights Reserved
Go back to Pacific Islands Report