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“Pacific islands states v. just and honest government”

The latest attacks on the office of the Ombudsman in Vanuatu appears to be a widening of a rash of moves in the Pacific island states directed against just and honest government, says Transparency International (TI), the international anti-corruption non-governmental organisation based in Germany.

TI has national chapters in over 70 countries throughout the world and is the leading global movement for just and honest government.

"Recently in Western Samoa, the constitution was changed simply to remove the Auditor-General, Ah Chong," recalled TI's managing director, New Zealander Jeremy Pope. "The change enabled the legislature, by a simple majority, to dismiss the Auditor General for doing no more than his job," he said.

Transparency International was dedicated to campaigning for honest and independent watchdog institutions throughout the world as a key element of any system that hopes to be effective in controlling corruption.

"Recent remarks by an Australian official caused headlines around the world," Mr Pope recalled. "However, actions such as those presently being instigated against the Office of the Ombudsman in Vanuatu lend support for the views the official expressed, namely that the region is suffering from a rash of incompetent and often corrupt administration."

Mr Pope concluded by noting that it was "not a coincidence" that there were no national chapters for the organisation in the small island states of the Pacific.

"We would like to help, but only those who recognise that they need assistance are capable of receiving it," he said.


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