MPs attend Ombudsman meeting in Neiafu
26 Sept. 2011.
The Legislative Assembly is adjourned this week to allow members of the House to participate in a three day Ombudsman meeting starting tomorrow until Thursday in Neiafu.
This is after a lengthy discussion in Parliament relating to expenses incurred if all MPs participate in the event.
Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Vaipulu last week informed the House that MPs are invited as observers in a regional ombudsman conference of the Commonwealth's member countries in the Pacific.
Hon. Vaipulu said the parliamentarians' presence at the Neiafu meeting is an opportunity for them to hear firsthand the procedures taken especially when Tonga is moving to establish an Anti Corruption Commission in the near future.
He adds under the current national budget Government plans to merge the Public Relations Office with the Anti Corruption Commission.
According to Hon. Vaipulu such merger is a common practice adopted worldwide .
"...so they could hear the procedures taken in such merge because it's likely we'll end up merge different pieces of related legislations as well as work together to come up with some transparency policies. From then on, we could screen and select appropriate personnel to work for the Commission," explained Hon. Vaipulu.
He added that government has yet to submit its draft report for the Commission. It is scheduled to be submitted for Cabinet's consideration next month, before a final one is submitted in November this year.
Hon. Vaipulu said government plans to get the Anti Corruption Commission up and running in July next year and that's why government is working on it now.
"Although it's a timely process but we start now so when it is established (Anti Corruption Commission) it operates efficiently and legally," said Vaipulu.
Under the government new political reform, the Anti Corruption Commission is to come under the Legislative Assembly Office. All expenses for the trip are funded by the Parliament.
While the MPs are in Vava'u the Finance & Public Accounts Standing Committee will consult people on proposed fees on Transportation and Immigration Regulations on Thursday.
Similar missions will be carried out by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee on three regulations including the Companies Regulations 2010, Incorporated Societies and Industrial Property Regulations 2010.
Issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications. Source: Tonga Parliament.