THE Legislative Assembly has approved the Anti-Corruption Commissioner Amendment Bill 2023 with 10-4 votes today.
The Bill tabled on Tuesday during the first session of Parliament is seen a positive move, paving the way for Tonga to have an Anti-Corruption Commissioner.
The proposed Bill provides two amendments to Schedule 1 of the Principal Act which deals with the eligibility and qualifications of the Anti-Corruption Commissioner.
The first amendment is aimed to remove the requirement that only qualified Supreme Court Judge is eligible to apply for the Anti-Corruption Commissioner’s post. The initiative is to allow for a bigger pool of people to apply for the position.
However, the amendment still provides that an applicant must be an admitted practice law practitioner for over 15 years in Tonga or in a Commonwealth country.
The amendment to the existing legislation also removes the requirement that an Anti-Corruption Commissioner remuneration and entitlement should be similar to that of Supreme Court Judge. This is to reflect the different nature and complication of the work of an Anti-Corruption Commissioner from that of a Supreme Court Judge.
The second amendment also provides that the Anti-Corruption Commissioner’s remuneration and allowances be paid with the public’s money as recommended by the Remuneration Authority.
The Anti-Corruption Commission Act was enacted in Parliament in 2007.