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A member of the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) will have the same privileges, protections and immunities as a National Court judge, according to a Bill to be tabled in Papua New Guinea Parliament today.
Leader of Government Business Rainbo Paita told The National last week that the Organic Law on ICAC had been approved by the National Executive Council for tabling in the House in this session. “The Law was published in the 42-page National Gazette No G843 on 17 October 2019 as a statutory requirement of the Constitution. It is now ready for Clerk to give Notice in Parliament,” he said.
When it becomes law after it is passed in Parliament, a Commissioner to be appointed will be “a person of high integrity, independence of mind and good reputation, and is qualified for appointment as a Judge of the National Court”.
He will serve six years if he/she is a citizen or three years if not a citizen. There are various penalties and conditions, including anyone obstructing the commission or a commission officer to pay a fine not exceeding K5,000 (US$1, 467) and/or imprisoned for a term not exceeding two years.
Persons who alter, destroy or conceal a document knowing that it will likely be required by the Commission will be fined K15,000 (US$4,402) or imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years or both.
The commission also has the right to summon persons to give evidence, produce a document or give both evidence and produce documents. Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to K10,000 (US$2,935) and or imprisonment for two years.
Deputy Prime Minister Steven Davies earlier said the ICAC Bill and related Whistleblower legislation would be tabled early this year.
He said the Bill was in line with the Government’s efforts to combat corruption.
Meanwhile, PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape says a bill to introduce a long awaited Independent Commission Against Corruption will go before parliament today.
In a post on his Facebook page Marape said he is hopeful of the bill passing today. He said the government is also looking to pass legislation to protect whistle blowers.
Marape also weighed in on the latest high profile corruption allegation in the country. The Australian Federal Police is examining documents relating to a gas deal involving the country’s former petroleum minister William Duma and Australian oil company, Horizon.
Marape said he has requested detailed scrutiny of the allegations.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
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