PNG A-G details his vision for the Independent Commission Against Corruption | Pacific Beat

PNG A-G details his vision for the Independent Commission Against Corruption

PNG A-G details his vision for the Independent Commission Against Corruption

Updated 29 January 2013, 18:05 AEST

Papua New Guinea's new Attorney General, says the legislation establishing the proposed Independent Commission Against corruption must include provisions that ensure people can see justice is being done.

After his re-election in August, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill made tackling corruption a priority.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is at the heart of his strategy.

In an interview with for the Lowy Institute's Leadership Mapping Program, Attorney General Kerenga Kua, spelt out what he sees as the key issues.

Presenter: Jemima Garrett

Speaker: Kerenga Kua, Attorney-General of Papua New Guinea

GARRETT: Kerenga Kua, is a first term politician who has been catapulted into the role of Attorney- General.

But, with more than 20 years experience in high-flying law firms in Sydney and Port Moresby and as a former President of the PNG Law society, he is more ready than most to tackle the job.

PNG already has an institution to deal with corruption by national leaders.

The proposed new Independent Commission Against Corruption is vital because it will have powers to investigate wrong-doers further down the political food chain.

Draft legislation was ready when Kerenga Kua became Attorney General.

In his interview for the Lowy Institute's Leadership Mapping Program he told Alex Oliver, he has asked his department to delay the legislation's progress until he has been able to ensure it includes all the measures he believes are necessary.

KUA: I asked them to slow the process so I can look at the draft myself. And I wanted to ensure that certain critical issues that I have in mind are accommodated in that framework. Take for example, I wanted to ensure that within that new organic law, which is what is being drafted, we have a means tested provision, where if a certain individual is seen to be living beyond his means, then the commission must have the power, either on its own initiative or on complaint, to investigate that fellow, to summons him and to investigate into that background, how he came into possession of such assets money and so on.

GARRETT: The Attorney General is also keen to ensure there is no delay between the referral of a matter to the Public Prosecutor and the prosecution of the matter.

KUA: At the moment you have the Ombudsman Commission who is responsible for the application of the leadership code, on leaders. They complete their investigation and if they feel there is a prima facie case, they refer it to the public prosecutor who then stalls the progress of the matter and carries out his own analysis on whether or not there is a prima facie case. And that exercise itself can delay the progress by up to a year.

GARRETT: Kerenga Kua says the Ombusdman's work is often stymied.

He wants the new Independent Commission Against Corruption's rules to be different.

KUA: Having learnt from that experience, what I want to do with the new ICAC, is that once a referral is made the public prosecutor shall be compelled to prosecute for better or for worse, simply to remove these delays. So you are dealing with the offence in real times so penalties, if any, are connected to the offence so that people see that there is a connection between the two. Offence, penalty, there is a connection, so it becomes a deterrent. Otherwise if you prosecute so far down the track people don't see the connection between the actual offence and the penalty so we lose the deterrent effect of the whole process.

GARRETT: The Attorney-General also has a plan to clear the backlog of cases in the courts and to prevent delays in judgements.

At the moment judges in the National court also sit in the Appeal court, a practice which can cause disruption to National court proceedings. Mr Kua says more and more competent judges are needed.And he plans to split the courts so each has its own judicial staff - with lifetime appointments.

http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/author/Alex%20Oliver.aspx

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