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Lord Fusitu’a presented report on the bill for anti-corruption commission

(Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 24/08/2016)

Deliberations in the Whole House Committee on the submission from the Standing Committee on the bill for the anti-corruption commission were hot and lengthy but they it finally died down and when put to vote was approved.

The report was presented by Lord Fusitu’a – Noble’s Representative for the two Niuas and Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee.

He delivered 4 recommendations, citing the first as the most important on the appointment of a Commissioner for this body. Lord Fusitu’a told the house that according to legal procedure, this position is appointed by His Majesty and Privy Council and Government takes up the rest, including allocating a budget.

Lord Fusitu’a said this body will carry out all investigations and processes involved in the fight against corruption in all levels of society.

The second recommendation is for Tonga to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption so we can complement member countries best practices in the implementation processes of the convention.

Other recommendations included legal responsibilities of the committee to ensure that such a commission will encompass all areas of the law regarding anti corruption activities as well as upholding principles of good leadership in line with the National Leadership Code.

Lord Fusitu’a said a survey has been carried out covering Elderlies to pre-school level children, on the foundation and principles of a good leadership. He said this will also include the code of conduct of the house.

In response to this matter, the Minister of Justice, Hon. Vuna Fa’otusia said that there are similar bodies of integrity in Government which have been proven successful in their performances such as the Auditor General who is under the Speaker and the House.

He said the Public relations office to address complaints and grievances of public servants is also another body and Government was looking forward to integrating this Commission into its existing system and controlled by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and it’s members and cabinet.

Lord Fusitu’a re-emphasized the importance of independence for such bodies to adhere to international principles of good governance, accountability and transparency. If this body will be appointed and controlled by politicians it could have adverse consequences.

The argument also covered salary for the Commissioner although no figures were mentioned but Government was concerned because if we hire a foreigner for the position, it will be beyond Government’s financial ability.

© Radio & TV Tonga News 2016