ICAC Bill covers third party conduct

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Bill will deal with third party individuals who do not reveal corrupt activities within public organisations.

Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC) Secretary, Dr Eric Kwa, said this during his keynote address to auditors attending the 13th Annual Conference of the Institute of Internal Auditors PNG Chapter.

He said under the ICAC Bill, any third party such as auditors who come across corrupt dealings but do not report them will be prosecuted.

Speaking at the 13th Annual Conference, Dr Eric Kwa said the ICAC Bill allows for the prosecution of third parties who turn a blind eye to corrupt activities.

“If you are doing an audit and you lift out some dishonest transaction and you don’t report, you don’t tell your superiors, or you don’t tell the right authorities, or you will find it and then later we find out that you did the audit but didn’t say anything about it, that conduct of third parties will deal with you,” he said.

Participants from both the public and private sector concurred with Dr Kwa’s statement but highlighted the challenges they face in their profession.

One of the main issues was of job security as their line of work often led to potential loss of employment due to potential discrepancies they may uncover when doing audits.

Dr Kwa agreed that they did face challenges and once the ICAC Bill was presented, they would carry their job without fear or favour as the Bill also protected whistle-blowers.

He said with this, auditors can now be empowered to thoroughly and independently report on any deficiencies in financial reports furnished by leaders and senior public officials.

“When the full ICAC Bill comes in we are going to protect you. We are going to protect the whistle-blowers so we stamp out this rubbish,” he said.

PNG IIA President, Joanna Tupou, said it was heartening to hear that the ICAC Bill protected whistle-blowers and said it further strengthens the role of auditors in PNG.

“It’s a positive step to see that whistle-blowers will be protected under the ICAC Bill so that professionals such as auditors can carry out their roles effectively,” she said.

Auditors have been challenged to tackle corruption head by being honest, proactive and be advocates against it. 

Cedric Patjole