Nuku’alofa, Tonga – The United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project, in partnership with the Pacific Integrity Network and the Office of the Ombudsman Tonga, opened a three-day Advanced Investigations Training in Nuku’alofa today.
The training brings together senior integrity investigators from across the Pacific, aimed at providing opportunities for collaboration and to enhance participant’s capacity to investigate misconduct and corruption in the public sector.
In his opening address, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lord Tu’i’afitu, said, “enhancing accountability and transparency within Government takes the combined and cooperative efforts of many institutions within a country. Forefront in these efforts is a network of integrity agencies that provide the necessary checks and balances on government action”.
The training includes representatives from a range of Pacific Integrity Agencies who examine fraud, corruption and maladministration in the public sector. Amongst the 40 participants, are staff from the Ombudsman, Auditor General, Police, justice department and public service commission office staff.
The training, the first of its kind to be held in Tonga, includes 14 Pacific Island countries. Participating nations represented includes the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
“The sessions are designed to be practical and interactive, and the participants will work together on problems based on real investigations. While bringing in international best practices, the training will consider specific challenges that small Pacific States are facing,” said Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser for UN-PRAC, Maria Adomeit.
Ombudsman of Tonga, Mr ‘Aisea Havea Taumoepeau SC said, “the training will assist investigators from across Pacific integrity agencies to sharpen their skills in relation to complex investigations. It will also provide the opportunity for all integrity agencies from the region to strengthen their linkages with each other”.
The workshop will culminate in the first Tongan Integrity March on Friday the 20th of October 2017, promoting transparency and accountability in Government.
UN-PRAC is a four-year initiative jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime with funding from the Australian Government. The project aims to strengthen Pacific Island countries national integrity systems that will promote clean governments and create an enabling environment for trade, business, investment, and for sustainable development to increase in the region.
The Pacific Integrity Network is an initiative of the Pacific Governance and Anti-Corruption program, funded by the Australian Government and facilitated by the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The purpose of the program is to support effective networks of oversight bodies, working in a mutually enhancing way to address corruption and maladministration in the Pacific.
Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate, Effective Governance, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, tel: (679) 3227 552, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Adomeit, Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser, United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) tel: (679) 3227510; email: email@example.com