A report on how the Cook Islands Government should change its approach to tackling corruption is awaiting final sign-off.
The Anti-Corruption Committee, a multi-agency committee featuring members from several Government departments, is in the process of finalising its National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS).
The announcement of the
strategy comes not too long after the Opposition Democratic Party leader Tina
Browne told Cook Islands News that tackling issues of corruption would be one
of the key platforms of their party’s election campaign.
Anti-Corruption Committee chairman Garth Henderson
said the NACS would likely address:
of anti-corruption legislation
of policies and procedures, whether or not updating is required.
of enforcement efforts
and training of personnel involved in anti-corruption measures
of additional key stakeholders in anti-corruption measures (e.g.,
representation from community groups / private sector / etc.)
of anti-corruption awareness raising and information dissemination.
“This is something we are giving much thought to,” said Henderson, who is
also the country’s Financial Secretary.
“General public familiarity
with anti-corruption legislation and reporting mechanisms is one challenge and
capacity constraints to provide a full scope of services (enforcement,
awareness and training) to both public sector, private sector and general
public is another. I expect we will discover more as the consultations roll
Henderson said the public
can assist by familiarising themselves with the existing legislation and
material they have on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM)
“Once public consultations
start on the NACS, make an effort to get involved,” Henderson said.
“Ultimately the overall objective of the NACS is to
substantially reduce corruption in the Cook Islands in all its forms.”
Henderson said it would be “business
as usual” for the committee during the election period. Late last month, the
committee issued a public notice warning prospective candidates of the various
ways people can be charged for corruption during an election campaign.
Henderson said the Government
acknowledges the importance of collective leadership, teamwork and partnerships
within and outside government to effectively combat corruption, and the need to
involve the community and private sector.
“However, the Government acknowledges
the limited resources and therefore the effectiveness of a cooperative approach
in the fight against corruption as opposed to individual efforts,” Henderson
“The Government reinforces their
commitment to promote and strengthen anti-corruption measures and practices.”