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ICAC Bill passes second reading, 3rd reading in two months

The Papua New Guinea parliament in its June sitting saw the second reading of the ICAC Bill, presented by Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney-General Davis Steven.

Mr Steven had initially introduced the ICAC Bill on February 28 in Parliament. The third reading of the ICAC Bill is expected in two months.

“ICAC Bill will address challenges that continue to undermine the country’s development agenda’s,” Mr Steven said.

“The role o ICAC Bill is to contribute in cooperation with other agencies in preventing, reducing and combating corrupt conduct in PNG,” Mr Steven said.

Chairman of the Constitutional Laws and Subordinate Legislations Committee Sir Peter Ipatas said the Committee has supported the key functions of ICAC that include prevention, detection and investigation of corrupt conduct and also considered and supported the inclusion of ICAC’s investigative role.

The investigative powers of ICAC include requesting statements from public officials such as Ministers of public bodies.

According to the ICAC Bill, ICAC Investigators will have powers to arrest alleged offenders only in relation to offences relating to ‘corrupt conduct’ among others.

“Unlike the Ombudsman Commission the ICAC’s jurisdiction...will cover all public servants and all leaders including MP;’s who are direct beneficiaries of public funds.

Criminal proceedings of ICAC will only be conducted upon written consent of the public prosecutor.

ICAC’s composition will be broad and include a Chief Commissioner who must have legal qualifications and two deputy commissioners with accounting background and at least seven years of experience.

The third reading of ICAC is expected in August.

The Bill is expected to give more teeth to ICAC and hoped that it will help address corrupt practices, which are rife, particularly in the procurement and tender process.

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