Friday, 3 September 2010 9:29 AM

MPs Must Avoid Conflicts of Interest: TSI

Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) supports the call by the Chairperson of the Leadership Code Commission (LCC), Emmanuel Kouhota, that leaders, particularly Members of Parliament, must avoid putting themselves in situations that give rise to conflicts of interest.

"Where a political leader is in such a position, it will be interpreted negatively by the general public as a compromise to the principles of good leadership," TSI said in a statement. "As stated by the chairperson of the LCC, a conflict of interest situation may arise in cases where the public perceives it as such, regardless of whether it is actual or not."

Public concern has now been strongly aroused by the Prime Minister's appointment of a well-known logging operator Hon. Bodo Detke as Minister of Forests and several other appointments in the new Cabinet. Other forthcoming appointments will also be closely watched.

TSI stated that where a conflict of interest situation arises, it paves the way for external influences to intrude into the government's decision making process.

"Conflict of interest situations could influence the ability of leaders to perform their responsibilities well and objectively. Such practice weakens good governance and undermines without due consideration for the national good."

TSI says that the conduct of national leaders begins with realizing that personal interests are secondary to the national interest and must and must not be confused or integrated with national interests.

TSI further reiterates the call by the LCC to the national leaders to make sure that the necessary provisions of the Leadership Code Act is complied with for the sake of the country's good. TSI further, commends the Speaker to National Parliament, Sir Peter Kenilorea on urging all Members of Parliament to submit a declaration of personal interests as per Article 78 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

Article 78 of the Parliamentary Standing Orders requires all members to submit to the Speaker a written declaration of all shares and interests they may have in any company or business undertaking. TSI strongly believes that these statements should be published in the national media so the people represented by the MPs can all see them and judge for themselves.

TSI calls on national leaders to comply with the requirements of the Leadership Code Commission's and the Standing Orders of Parliament. As national leaders, your greatest support to progressing the Solomon Islands begins with your commitment to do the right thing when and where it matters most.