Wednesday, 5 August 2009 8:27 AM

PE - Corruption in a Legal Form?

Bula Editor and appreciate a space to express my observation as in the above-mentioned subject.

While it is encouraging to learn that the government had taken the initiative to establish an anti-corruption unit or commission in the Solomons, one may now question what exactly will this unit be pursuing in terms of its mandate. Over the many years since political independence, corrupt practices have gradually crept into our systems of service delivery in both private and public sectors until now one could valiantly pronounce that such practices have got a solid grip within the system and disentangling this is one of the greatest challenge (if not the greatest) we face in our history so far.

However, it is clear that such negative and illegal form of corrupt practices MUST be interrupted and eliminated (or at least minimized) and this is perhaps what this anti-corruption unit is set up to address. The latest form of corruption that is creeping into the hierarchy of our government system in particular is the 'Legal form of Corruption' AKA - Parliamentary Entitlements. The PEC members and rightly the Chairperson defended the latest adjustments and inclusions in the PE as legal (including the MP spouse 50K). Truly, the PE is based on constitutional provisions hence - making it all legal and even when it is scandalously amended or upgraded in MPs' favors. This comes back to my earlier point that PE - a means for MPs' Ends.

To minimize such legal forms of corruption (which has the potential to exert the strongest grip in the shortest timeframe) the mandate of any anti-corruption establishment / unit MUST be extended to embrace a monitoring role with some forms of veto powers to control and limit this trend. At present, there seemed to be no control mechanism in place to veto decisions by PEC hence opening the doors for legal forms of corruption wider than ever before.

Sad but realistically, the legal forms of corruption could be more detrimental and devastating for our lovely nation due to the simple fact that it will breed, encourage and escalate the illegal forms of corruption to unprecedented levels - the notion here is 'If Boss hem Duim - Iumi bat save Duim tu'

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Andrew and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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