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Lord Fusitu’a said, His Majesty did not sign the amendment to the Anti Corruption Commission Bill

(Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 12/12/2016)

Lord Fusitu’a revealed during a television and radio panel on anti-corruption that His Majesty did not sign the amendment made to the Anti-corruption Commission Bill which was passed in Parliament before closing down it’s 2016 sitting.

The Bill was submitted by the Minister of Justice, Hon. Vuna Fa’otusia for the withdrawal of the authority to appoint the Commissioner of the Anti-corruption Commission from His Majesty and Privy Council.

The amendment proposed also included the merging of the Office of the Ombudsman with the Anti-corruption Commission.

Lord Fusitu’a said the amendment also included a clause that a Civil Servant instead of a Judicial Officer could be appointed to the position.

Lord Fusitu’a said the post of a commissioner should not be politicized but to be independent from interference by politicians.

Cabinet, Lord Fusitu’a said, cannot appoint a Commissioner to investigate themselves. He compared this to a criminal choosing his own judge and juror.

He said bringing the two bodies into one office will not serve their different roles well and efficiently

The Ombudsman formerly the Commissioner for Public Relations, deals with civil servants’ grievances and complaints.

The Anti-corruption Commission will recommend to the Attorney General’s Office a corruption case to be processed.

Lord Fusitu’a said the current Anti-corruption Legislation gives authority to His Majesty to appoint an Anti-corruption Commissioner and the King is the only person that will not be charged for any criminal or civil offense under the constitution and that makes him independent.

He continued saying that cabinet will only need one person or two in Parliament to win a ballot for a commissioner and that will allow nepotism which will not exercise the principles of transparency, good governance, and accountability.

The King has the power to appoint a Commissioner for Anti- corruption, Police and Attorney General.

The panelists included Minister of Finance and National Planning – Dr. ‘Aisake Valu Eke and Deputy Police Commissioner – ‘Unga Fa’aoa.

© Radio & TV Tonga News 2016