New Ireland lawmakers in the provincial assembly passed a house resolution to set up an Assembly Inquiry Committee that will act as ‘watchdog’ on the performance of leaders and refer those implicated for public inquiry and investigation.
The committee consists of Chairlady Gertrude Salir, John King Pawut, Valentine Betbet and Patrick Toabusai. They were sworn in on the 18th of June and were given powers to operate independently. Their findings will be presented during Assembly sittings.
The Assembly Inquiry Committee will be open to receive complaints from people on matters dealt with by the provincial government, especially if the matters fail to comply with law or policy of the State or the provincial government.
The leader of government business and chairman for law and order, Edwin Maingen, said the Committee will have the power to summon in writing any person to attend the committee hearings to give evidence and to produce any books, documents or writings in an individual’s possession relative to the complaints referred.
He said some of the issues named include the purchasing of land by Members of Parliament, the distributing of public monies such as District Services Improvement Project funds as bribery or cash handouts and to find out if the so-called SME funds comply with conditions of the DSIP funds.
“The issue of public monies being used as handouts to induce favour among voters was also brought up during question time,” Maingen said.
Meanwhile, despite boycotting the official opening of Namatanai and Matalai Council Chambers, the two council presidents, Joshua Soi Takin and Augustine Topi, attended the New Ireland Legislative Assembly sitting.
New Ireland Governor and chairman of the assembly, Sir Julius Chan, made it known to them that all council chambers should be respected because they belong to the people.