EDITORIAL: ACC reappointments discouraging

28 July 2021 | Opinion

First things first: No sitting president should be appointing the anti-corruption boss in any constitutional democracy. It compromises ethics, impartiality and – perhaps most importantly – independence of that very important body.

As a principle, anti-graft bodies are independent state institutions set up by the country's constitution to support and defend democracy. The idea is that they must be impartial and must exercise their powers and perform their functions without fear, favour or prejudice.

Where the head of that institution is a political appointee, as is with Paulus Noa of our Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the aspects of “fear, favour and prejudice” are inevitable, especially where his work may dictate that he step on the toes of the president or his close associates in the execution of thatg work.

We have no recollection of when Noa’s ACC worked without fear. For 15 years, it has treaded carefully so as not to upset the powers that be. For example: Noa has had known for years the granular details of the so-called Fishrot grand thievery, but only acted when evidence played itself out in the public gallery – leaving ACC with no choice but to do something.

Those are the kind of stooges any sitting head of state wants at their disposal. Obedient, fearful and only acting once directed to do so by someone high up.

Whether under Noa or not, the ark that is ACC will not traverse the stormy waters of independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness unless the law is amended.