FSII urges Govt to urgently bring anticorruption bills to Parliament

MEMBERS of the outspoken Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) have strongly urged the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) to Parliament to lessen corrupt conducts and encourage citizens to bring forward evidence of suspected corruption.

This statement was made in light of the current text message correspondences of the Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare and the mining official of the Bintan SI Limited on bauxite to be zero-dutied and backdated.

FSII executive hosted a press conference yesterday and stated that once the Anticorruption Bill and the Whistleblowers Protection Bill is brought to Parliament and passed, citizens would be at ease to know legislations exist to have corruption answer by name.

The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) recently issued a press statement in light of criticisms against a Cabinet decision to impose a zero duty on bauxite exports from the country.

It was probed when the Sunday Star cited text message correspondences between the Prime Minister and an official from Bintan SI Limited.

Bintan Mining SI Limited is the mining firm contracted by Asia Pacific Investment Development (APID) Limited.

APID holds the mining lease for its tenement on Rennell Island and has contracted Bintan SI Limited to do the operation.

Bintan SI Limited has been widely confused with PT Mega Bintang Borneo Limited.

PT Mega Bintang Limited is an Indonesian firm, which had the Government cancel its exploration license in 2015.

The statement issued in response to criticisms stated that it is not uncommon for citizens, interest groups, investors, companies, Church and even sports groups to at times, write or raise issues directly with the Prime Minister as Head of the Government whenever circumstances require such interventions.

The Prime Minister’s Office then confirmed that the Prime Minister, more often than not at his own discretion takes the time to clarify or inform these various stakeholders of the Government’s views, intentions, policies and decisions in response to their queries, letters and messages.

This it added demonstrates the Prime Minister’s commitment towards advancing the national interest without fear or favor.

When the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) came into power, the Prime Minister announced that his Government’s commitment to fight against corruption is high on its agenda.

On December 9, 2015, during the marking of the International Anti-Corruption Day the Nation, people applauded as they listened to Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare, declare to the nation his government’s commitment to bring about various legislative reforms to tackle corruption within the public sector, the private sector and in any environment where there is corruption in his key note address to open the activities of the day.

Parliament is yet to deliberate on the seven Anticorruption Bills.

They are the, Anti-Corruption Bill, The Integrity Whistle Blower Bill, The Ombudsman (Special Provisions) Bill, The Leadership Code (Further Provisions) Bill, The National and Provincial Election (Further Provisions) Bill, The Freedom of Information Bill and the Review of the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014.

The Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) resumed hearings yesterday and inquiries into two Bills will be done over a span of three days.

The two Bills are the Wildlife Protection and Management (Amendment) Bill 2016 and the Ombudsman Bill 2016.

FSII is also expected to turn up as a witness to the Ombudsman Bill 2016 in this BLC hearing tomorrow.