ICAC: A failed Election Promise!

Independant Commission Against Corruption: A failed Election Promise!

With less than 2 weeks before voting in the National Elections starts on June 24, existing Members of Parliament and their challengers have stepped up their game trying to convince voters of what has not been done and why; what needs to “change”, AND what the process of “change” is.

This is nothing new. We’ve seen this rolled out at every election since Independance. Intending candidates and political parties come up with promises that are almost immediately forgotten when they arrive in the Haus Tambaran.

The most immediate problem in our country is the lack of accountability. The inability to effectively deal with corruption is evident and while the promises to tackle corruption have and continue to make the headlines they are seemingly mere rhetoric.

The classic example of such empty commitments is the Peoples National Congress (PNC) 2012 promise to set up an Independant Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Although at first it did not seem just empty words, because TaskForce Sweep was set up and Constituional Amendments passed to allow for establishment of an ICAC. Yet the test of the genuineness of the promise to deal decisively with corruption at ALL levels, came at the point when the Prime Minister was himself required for questioning over allegedly questionable acts.

The Task Force Sweep was immediately de-funded and disbanded, despite it’s track record of effectiveness. The “fight” ended almost as soon as it started.

On the eve of the 2017 polling another such promise has been made. On June 8, a former Prime Minister and Independent Candidate for Moresby North-West, Sir Mekere Morauta promised he would “..help restore the processes and machinery of good governance, transparency and accountability if elected.." In the same statement he promised to reinstate the TaskForce Sweep and fully fund it.

Whether it is the Task Force Sweep or an ICAC, the nation is in urgent need of an independent anti-corruption institution with full powers of prosecution – one that cannot be interfered with by any Prime Minister, whether or not they are ever implicated in questionable deals.

Peter O’Neill and PNC Party started off well but failed to deliver on their promise for the ICAC. Five years on and we are all suffering as the corruption grows worse!