Friday, 27 February 2009 1:49 PM

RAMSI Backs Solomon Islands Anti-Corruption Measures

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Graeme Wilson, today pledged RAMSI's full support for the Solomon Islands Government's fight against corruption.

Congratulating the Prime Minister on the Government's recently-announced anti-corruption initiatives, Mr Wilson said RAMSI is fully supportive of the Government's decision to tackle this difficult issue head-on.

"A robust anti-corruption regime had always been a key goal of RAMSI's partnership with Solomons Islands," the Special Coordinator said.

The establishment of an Anti-Corruption Taskforce, followed by this week's announcement that Solomon Islands will formally endorse the United Nation's Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is welcome news indeed, Mr Wilson said.

"Five years ago, RAMSI came to the Solomons Islands to restore law and order and help Solomon Islanders forge a peaceful, prosperous and well governed nation," Mr Wilson said. "None of this can be achieved without a major effort to combat corruption."

One of the main objectives for the Taskforce is to formulate a national Anti-Corruption Policy. The Taskforce will also make recommendations to the CNURA Government on necessary anti-corruption reforms including the establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

The Anti-Corruption Policy will be an essential tool in bringing together key anti-corruption measures and will build on the work already begun by several government agencies, including the Office of the Auditor-General. The Taskforce will report back to the CNURA Government within 6 months.

Mr Wilson said RAMSI was keen to support the Government in its efforts to develop a long-term framework for anti-corruption reform.

"It is important that we support the Government's plans to identify critical areas for reform and then assist them to effectively implement these reforms" Mr Wilson said.

"Corruption hinders economic growth and diverts funds which would otherwise be used to provide services to the people. An effective anti-corruption regime can help increase investor confidence and government revenues, and create jobs."

"Establishing an effective regime to combat corruption will be a significant milestone for the Solomon Islands-RAMSI partnership," he said.

The Government also announced this week that it intends to sign UNCAC this year.

"By signing UNCAC, Solomon Islands can now join the international effort to fight corruption and work towards implementing the international anti-corruption standards."

He said he hoped that such an important issue would gain the support of all Solomon Islands leaders.

"It is clear corruption is a big issue for ordinary Solomon Islanders and it is heartening to see the recognition by both the Government and the Opposition of the urgent need to address this issue," Mr Wilson said.


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