Deputy Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio during the ceremony said it is a day to pause and reflect on efforts and integrity initiatives to recognize the damage that corruption has done to societies, furthermore its a day to re-evaluate and reposition ourselves to do better in the fight against corruption.
He said Samoa acceded to the UN Convention Against Corruption in April 2018.
The accession was the culmination of years of hard work and lessons learned in the anti-corruption and integrity space.
Tuala said it signaled the government’s commitment to strengthening public trust and citizen confidence in government systems, processes, and laws.
In 2018, the Public Service Commission together with several integrity agencies developed a Readiness Report which highlighted Samoa’s intention to accede to the UNCAC. The Report notes that the term Corruption is not defined in Samoa’s Crimes Act 2013. The Act however contains extensive provisions that criminalize corruption in its different forms.
According to Tuala accession for Samoa means, it would be an opportunity to further strengthen public confidence and trust in Parliament, Government, institutions, and individuals with authority.
Also, accession meant an opportunity to further enhance our existing culture of integrity and honesty.
Corruption spreads quite quickly, and because employee behaviours and attitudes can change quickly as well, corrupt practices may become a norm and form part of the organizational culture.
Furthermore accession the country meant an opportunity to further strengthen Samoa’s national, regional, and international reputation. Reputation is an important part of public institutions, if not one of the most important.
Before Samoa acceded in 2018, it was one of a few Pacific Island countries that had not signed up to the UNCAC.
Samoa joined other regional and international countries in fighting corruption locally and internationally, including holding our people who might commit UNCAC crimes outside of Samoa accountable for their actions. But it all starts from us – our people, our internal systems and processes, our laws and policies, we must all sing the same tune; that of integrity and high ethical standards.