Corruption is a destructive phenomenon across the world, including in the Pacific Islands, and threatens the region’s sustainable development. It is a big and complex issue, with many causes and many negative results. Unfortunately, neither corruption, nor its negative impacts are well understood in the Pacific Islands.
Today members of the Tongan Media took part in a one day training on anti-corruption which was organised by the United Nations Convention on Corruption and UNDP Tonga office. Participants were informed on various levels of corruption.
As it can occur at all levels of society and across all sectors, which can make it seem too large and too difficult to tackle. It often involves actors at the highest levels - that is, within government and business. If not tackled, it can also become a way of life for individuals and communities and people should not use culture as an excuse for corruption practises but rather draw and clear boundary to differentiate the two.
The Tonga Commissioner of Public Relation and former Minister of Justice Mr ‘Aisea Taumoepeau, briefed the participants on the existing and amended legislation within the Constitution that allows the establishment of an anti-corruption commission. He clarified the different between the ombudsman agency and an anti-corruption commission.
One of the data presented during the training revealed that:
“In 2011, the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index ranked Tonga 95th out of 182 countries in the world on the corruption scale. We had a score of 3.1 on a scale of 10. In the Asia Pacific Region, Tonga ranked 17th out of 35”
According to Mr. John Hyde (UNDP Anti-Corruption Consultant) who lead the training stated the figure is about 4 years old and Tonga has come so far in a short period of time to lead its Pacific Island neighbors as the only country whom its Parliament have approved to establish a standing committee on anti-corruption.
Participants are expected to;
The training will conclude tomorrow with representatives from the Civil Society organization.