History of the PNG Independent Commission Against Corruption (PNG ICAC)

 

The ICAC was established in 2018. But the fight against corruption in PNG dates to Independence when constitutional offices such as Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC), Ombudsman Commission (OC), Public Prosecutor (PP) and the Auditor General’s Office (AGO) were established through our Constitution. The efforts in the fight against corruption continued through successive governments. In 2004, the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare took this fight further when he signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), during the Pacific Islands Forum in Apia, Samoa, making PNG a signatory to the Convention and was ratified by Parliament in 2007.

In 2009, the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2010-2030 was launched and following that the National Anti-Corruption Plan of Action (NACPA) was developed to bring all relevant agencies/bodies together to implement the NACS.

In 2014, Amendment No. 40/2014 was made to the PNG Constitution, enabling the establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Office, as well as paving the way for the enactment of the Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (OLICAC).

In 2015, the first draft of the OLICAC Bill was presented in parliament for deliberation and passage but was shelved due to the 2017 National General Election.

The Interim ICAC Office was subsequently established in 2018.  The draft OLICAC Bill was then revisited and presented to Parliament and on 12th of November 2020, the Bill was unanimously passed unopposed by the Members of Parliament.

Other enabling legislations like the Whistleblowers Act was also passed in 2020. This year, an amendment was made to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) for the Unexplained Wealth Provision whilst the Right to Information Draft Bill which comes under the Department of Information and Communication Technology is being worked on and will be brought before Parliament to be enacted.

From its initial re-establishment to interim, and subsequently progressing to its organizational development stages and now towards a fully operational office, ICAC will continue to grow from thereon as an independent constitutional office to fulfil its mandate in the coming years.