Parliament takes bold steps to address corruption
Members of Parliament have voted to establish a Samoa chapter of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (G.O.P.A.C) in Apia.
The decision was made during an Integrity Workshop conducted by the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-P.R.A.C) Project and G.O.P.A.C last week.
The workshop was opened by the Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi who encouraged parliamentarians to increase their exposure to best practice accountability policies.
During the workshop the Speaker received a letter from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi announcing that Samoa would begin the process to sign the UN Convention Against Corruption.
Lizbeth Cullity, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative, said: “The UN agencies are ready to assist the Government and Parliament of Samoa as they work to strengthen their integrity institutions.”
Parliamentarians endorsed a constitution and a steering committee for G.O.P.A.C Samoa, with Taefu Lemi Taefu as chair, Gatoloaifaana Amataga Gidlow, vice-chair, Lenata’i Victor Tamapua, (the Associate Justice Minister) treasurer and Ili Setefano Taateo Tafili as secretary.
G.O.P.A.C Oceania chair John Hyde praised the commitment of Samoa’s Parliamentarians in wanting to ensure they were well prepared to undertake their oversight responsibilities.
“Samoa’s parliamentarians now join their colleagues in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati and Tonga in activating GOPAC chapters,” said Mr. Hyde. Newly elected G.O.P.A.C Samoa chair Taefu Lemi Taefu said “Samoa has much to gain by signing up to U.N.C.A.C and strengthening even further the great work that integrity bodies in Samoa are already doing.”
Cook Islands Justice Minister and G.O.P.A.C Cook Islands chair, Nandi Glassie, spoke to Samoa’s parliamentarians about his country’s engagement with U.N.C.A.C and capacity building for MPs since the Cooks signed onto U.N.C.A.C in 2011.
UN-P.R.A.C is a Joint U.N.D.P – United Nations Organisation U.N.O.D.C project supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (D.F.A.T).
Framed around U.N.C.A.C and Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Governance, Justice and Anti-Corruption), UN-P.R.A.C aims to support Pacific Island Countries to strengthen their national anti-corruption legislation and policies, as well as institutional frameworks and capabilities to effectively implement U.N.C.A.C.
G.O.P.A.C is a worldwide alliance of parliamentarians working together to combat corruption, strengthen good government, and uphold the rule of law. GOPAC has 58 national chapters on six continents. G.O.P.A.C supports its members’ efforts through original research, global anti-corruption capacity building, and international peer support.