In a united and defiant stand against corruption, Solomon Islands yesterday commemorated the International Anti-corruption with a large turnout and active participation of representatives from civil society, Government agencies, the private sector and members of the public.
It was manifest, given the numbers of people who marched, that people are still concerned about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of the country.
Their concerns are not unfounded because; world-wide corruption and development corruption is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world. In the Solomon Islands there have been numerous allegations of corruption involving funding for developments and the cry has often been that there has been little, or no, visible evidence of development projects beneficial to constituents in the several provinces.Corruption stifles economic growth, undermines the rule of law, and squanders talent and precious resources.
Where corruption is rife, companies are reluctant to invest as the costs of doing business are significantly higher. Corruption also weakens safety and security structures such as the police services. Ultimately, corruption prevents people, countries and businesses from fulfilling their potential and less respect for rights.
Corruption undermines democracy, governance and human rights by weakening State institutions that are the basis for fair and equitable societies. Vote buying at election times harms the democratic process.
The people of the Solomon Islands have spoken – “enough of corruption.”
After 41 years of Independence and self-government let us move on, united, and see the transformation of the beautiful country into the successful and prosperous democratic nation that it can be, finally rid of corruption in which talent has been squandered. employment opportunities lost and precious resources misused.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister, the Hon Manasseh Sogavare, reassured people that the fight against corruption is the highest priority of his Democratic Coalition for Advancement Government (DCAG).
When delivering the keynote address Mr. Sogavare said to do nothing about corruption is not an option.
“As your Prime Minister, with the support of my Cabinet, we are committed to combat and rid our country of this malignant culture.” he said when addressing the crowd.
The Prime Minister then officially announced the inaugural Chairperson and members of the newly established Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption (SIICAC) who will lead the fight against corruption.
“The roles of SIICAC include prevention and awareness, more importantly it will also have an investigation and prosecution role for corruption offences,” he said.
“The SIICAC Commissioners are: Sir Frank Kabui (inaugural chairperson), Anika Kingmele (vice inaugural chairperson), and members: Ruth Liloqula, Waeta Ben Tabusasi, John Tuhaika Sr and Jimmy Seda.”
The Prime Minister also thanked the UNDP for persistently supporting his government in combating corruption.
“UNDP, through its Transparency and Accountability for People of Solomon Islands Project (TAP) has been working in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister and remains committed to supporting the Government in the fight against corruption,” the PM said
Speaking at the closing of the IACD events, the UNDP Operations Manager, Mr. Keswar Leelah, said, “Corruption must be fought because it is a major obstacle to achieving both the goals of the National Development Strategy (NDS), including the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“These are aimed at generally improving the well-being of people.”
.Sources UNDP and Solomon Times on Line