M.P. revives call for Anti Corruption Tribunal
No one is above the law.
So reminds the Tautua Samoa Party’s Shadow Minister of Finance, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele, who has revived the call for the government to set up an Anti-Corruption Tribunal.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Afualo said instances of alleged corruption identified by the Controller and Auditor General and backed up by the Officers of Parliament Committee give more than sufficient reasons for the establishment of a national body to tackle corruption.
“No one, and I repeat no one, is above the law including the Prime Minister and all of us,” Afualo said. “If we break the law we will make sure that justice will be served."
“But that cannot be fulfilled unless we have the Anti Corruption Tribunal."
“I know Tuilaepa has been saying that we have the Ombudsman and of course we know that but we have seen a lot of cases now where people are not satisfied with the mandate of the office so we really need to make sure that what they do will be fulfilled."
“But what we are really after, is to make sure that there is justice and that would be the responsibility of this Tribunal and then they will refer everything to the National Prosecution Office.”
Afualo said the country has been suffering as a result of the government inability to address issues of corruption and abuse of power over the years.
“We all know that there is so much corruption,” he said.
“One of the solutions that we will definitely establish is we will set up an “Anti Corruption Tribunal to deal with this.”
Afualo praised the decision to set up a National Prosecution Office (N.P.O). But he said such a body is useful without an Anti Corruption Tribunal.
“That body (N.P.O.) cannot act if they are not given any prosecutions at all,” he said.
“Therefore we will make sure that these national bodies will work together. The Police will also be doing their part but we have to get this information from the grassroots and then pass it on to the National Prosecution Office to do their job.”
Afualo said it’s important that members of the public get the message that the law is to be respected.
“Sometimes people will think when we set up a law that it can be used as tools to manipulate people and of course because sometimes the government does that, but for us (Tautua Party) we don’t see it that way,” he said.
“We will make sure that there is justice for everyone.
“I know we have got the Law Commission which is good.
But we want to make sure that all these laws benefit the people - whether it will provide security and peace; whether it will provide any financial or good standards of living.
“So that is why we are prioritizing law and justice to make sure that the law is there for everybody and justice will be served for everybody.”
Afualo’s call for an Anti Corruption Tribunal is not the first time the issue has been raised.
Last year, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi rejected the call.
“That is why we have the Court and the Ombudsman’s Office,” he said. He reminded about the “Commissioner of Police who was investigated by the Ombudsman over a letter from another officer that suspected corruption at Tafaigata prison.”
“So anyone can find refuge with the Ombudsman if they have a complaint.”