Leader of the Official Opposition group, Jeremiah Manele. Photo credit: SIBC.

Leader of the Official Opposition group, Jeremiah Manele. Photo credit: SIBC.

Parliamentary opposition leader Jeremiah Manele has backed the Solomon Islands’ Government’s Anti-Corruption Strategy, labelling it a critical first step in fighting the “evil phenomenon”.

Speaking in National Parliament yesterday, Mr Manele said the plan, introduced by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to try and eradicate and prevent corruption, was history in the making

“This document (sets) out the processes through which corruption is to be tackled or addressed in this country,” Mr Manele said.

“It is also history because this Parliament will for the first time take a step towards fulfilling the wish of many Solomon Islanders to seriously address the scourge of corruption.

“The Parliamentary Opposition Group welcomes this strategy and the accompanying action plan to begin to address corruption issues in our country in a more coordinated manner and including through appropriate legislations.”

Though Mr Manele supported the Action Plan, he questioned the causes of corruption outlined by the Government.

The Government divided the causes of corruption into four main categories: “weak institutions; weak law enforcement; captured elites; and low trust in state institutions.”

“The institutions themselves may not be the problem,” Mr Manele said.

“The problem is the lack of resources for individuals in those institutions including law enforcement agencies to do their work.

“But even if the resources are there, the individual may still not perform because of low salaries and poor conditions of service.”

Mr Manele also questioned the omission of the issue of “illicit wealth or unexplained wealth”.

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