For a small and developing society like ours, corruption could be the biggest challenge in the future if we do not cut the root and branch of it from early on.
According to some reports, corruption in the country happens at the top. But our very people on the top resolutely refuse to accept this. Often they challenge us, the people, to investigate the cases ourselves and prove them that such are indeed the state of affairs. Yet corruption is being discussed at the highest law-making institution in the country today.
Today it is about restitution of embezzled money. The amount from 2009 to 2016 runs in millions and there are more than 15 people involved. There could be many more.
National Assembly has now asked the Office of Attorney General (OAG) to complete the pending cases concerning restitution as soon as possible. The good governance committee of the house has proposed a six-month time frame for the OAG to complete the job. This is good news. At least we see some willingness from some quarters to address the issue of corruption in whatever forms they come.
The National Assembly has recommended that finance ministry provide additional budgetary support and the Royal Civil Service Commission with necessary human resources. But this will be a challenge. More than budgetary and human resource support, there has to be acceptance first and clear-cut national vision and mission to root out corruption altogether.
Giving a time frame to OGA to resolve restitution issue is, therefore, pointless. What is needed today is a law that regards corruption of any form and extent intolerable. We have ACC, but power higher up should not make ACC feel small and toothless. Let the commission carry out its mandate without fear of retribution. It must be independent of the government in every sense of the term.
Regular meetings between the agencies to coordinate their work to fight against corruption is not a viable solution from any angle. The real challenge of the ACC today is to attract and retain qualified and experienced professionals. Its recommendations must be heard.
Fighting corruption should not be an insurmountable challenge. Because we are small, we have the advantage. How we do and how far we are willing to go to fight corruption matters.