By Philip Buda Ladu
The National Anti-Corruption Commission said it lacks the legal framework that can enable them investigate and prosecute corrupt officials found guilty of corruption and embezzlement of public funds.
The Anti-Corruption amendment Bill 2011 that the Commission drafted in 2011 is stranded in between the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the parliament that’s according to Dr. Samuel Mading, the Deputy Chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission.
He told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that they drafted and submitted the Anti-Corruption amendment Bill that would give the commission framework to prosecute, to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in 2011 and since then it has not been passed by the Assembly and it’s not known to them whether the Ministry of Justice presented the Bill to parliament.
“We are lacking a legal frame work because the Bill that we have is from 2009. In 2011, we drafted the Bill which up to now is not passed,” Dr. Mading affirmed.
Efforts to reach the Ministry of Justice for comment on the legislation process of the Anti-Corruption Bill were not immediately successful by press time.
“Why it is important because it gives us the rights of prosecution, to establish the department of legal prosecution which is in the constitution but we can’t establish it without having a legal framework which is the law,” Dr. Mading elaborated the importance of the amendment Bill to the commission.
Meanwhile for Dengtiel Kur, the Chairperson of the Committee for legislation and Legal Affairs at the Transitional National Legislature said “as much as I know the Anti-Corruption Commission is operating on the basic law that was passed that created it. If there is any amendment the parliament is ready to amend it,” he noted.
Dengtiel underlined that the first complaint they received about the Anti-Corruption Commission was underfunding,
“So, we raised in parliament that the Anti-Corruption Commission should be properly funded. Anti-Corruption also should be empowered legally, and this Anti-Corruption Commission is one of the commissions that should be reviewed so that it can be given more powers to investigate all institutions of government,” the Legislation and Legal Affairs Chair at the legislature stressed.
The Anti-Corruption Commission is one of those public accountability institutions that are to be reviewed as provided for in the Revitalized Peace Agreement but the review has not started.
Dengtiel hinted that the government is supposed to come together and agree on the formation of those bodies to review the institutions saying gov’t is working together as one, so, they can go act quickly to form bodies that must review these commissions with an outlook to reform them.
“Parliament is here to do the best for the country, parliament is here to have the agreement implemented, we are for the full implementation of the peace agreement and the full implementation of the agreement comes through those laws, so we are for the passing of those laws as soon as they are brought to parliament,” Dengtiel reiterated.