11 Mar 2004

Transparency Solomon Islands says anti-corruption body employees demoralised

5:03 pm on 11 March 2004

Transparency Solomon Islands says demoralisation among staff at the country's main corruption fighters is part of the reason for their chronic underperformance.

A report by the Solomon's branch of the international watchdog group has found that the country's auditor general's office, ombudsman's office and Leadership Code Commission have been unable to perform their work adequately because of a lack of funding, staff and equipment.

The last time the Auditor general's office presented a report to Parliament was in 1995, as it has only four staff, all trained only to diploma level.

The ombudsman's office has a backlog of 700 complaints, with the problem worsened by Ministries being reluctant to respond to complaints.

Transparency Solomon Islands discussed the problem at a meeting in Honiara last night, and a member, Johnson Honimae, says the unwillingness of the government to fund corruption fighting bodies properly and debate their reports in Parliament has added to the problem.

"Imagine you being in an office and expected to do so much and you don't have the resources to do those jobs. I mean, basically you get demoralized. I think that was one of the contributing factors as well."

Johnson Honimae says there is fresh hope as the Auditor General's office has recently had a big boost in funding.