TONGA is soon to have a Commissioner for Anti-Corruption now that the panel of Judges have interviewed and recommended a suitable candidate to the post.
The Justice Minister Vuna Fa’otusia revealed this in Parliament earlier this week after Tongatapu 4 constituency MP Mateni Tapueluelu queried Government about the status of work towards making an appointment.
Hon. Fa’otusia he received word from the Anti Corruption Commission they have recommended a candidate to the post.
According to Anti-Corruption Act 2012 the Anti-Corruption Commission deals with the salary and appointment with the consent of Cabinet.
“What is left for the panel to decide on is the salary of Commissioner for Anti-Corruption,” explained the Justice Minister.
He said the successful candidate is likely to be a half caste Tongan that explained reasons behind the delay process in negotiating the salary.
He said in 2008 the Australian Government had contributed 300,000 for the basic salary of the Commissioner of Anti-Corruption as Canberra commits to efforts in the fight against corruption.
Hon. Fa’otusia said a panel of judges from Australia recommended Chief Justice Shuster to the post in 2008 but the two previous government administration failed to make an appointment.
According to the Justice Minister, one of the Government’s top priority is to appoint someone to the post. For this reason, the Justice Minister believed if a Tongan is qualified to the post there is no reason to award the successful candidate the same salary offered by Australian Government in 2008.
He told Parliament the former Chief Justice Ford had supported the idea should a Tongan is qualified to become Tonga’s first Anti-Corruption Commissioner. However he also mentioned another foreign consultant they worked with at the Crown Law thought otherwise.
“The expatriate believed if a Tongan is appointed to the post then the salary should be reduced to 150,000,”said Hon. Fa’otusia.
The Justice Minister said we should support our own people if a local qualified candidate is recommended to the post.
“We should not look down on Tongans if a person is qualified for the post then why not give that successful candidate the salary that person deserves,” said Hon. Fa’otusia.
Meanwhile the Minister of Finance Dr. ‘Aisake Eke said that Government is ready to fund the salary of Tonga’s first Anti-Corruption Commissioner.