Here are a few highlights from this week’s Committee of the Whole session from the ongoing Constitutional Convention at the International Conference Center.
• Majuro Delegate Yolanda Lodge-Ned wants to prevent candidates with felony charges in their history from running for Nitijela, adding that the current law allows felons who did time to run for top government seats. Lodge-Ned also raised eyebrows when she asked Deputy Attorney General Johnathen Kawakami “how many high-level government officials has the AG prosecuted since 1979? Kawakami answered: “To the best of knowledge, I was still in my school days, I think only one.”
• As long as there’s outside influence, Public Service Commission will have a hard time doing its job. Let’s call in the Auditor General and Attorney General to see their true intention on proposed bill 25, which would make the Auditor General independent of the PSC.
• ConCon President and Jabot Delegate Kessai Note to AG: why can’t the AG prosecute government officials, is it because AG works for the government
• Auditor General, through proposal 25, would become an independent entity in order to improve its operation. Auditor General Junior Patrick asked what’s the point of auditing when there’s no prosecution, and the audit office has repeatedly reported the same accountability problems in certain government entities year after year with no improvement.
• ConCon delegates questioned why the Attorney General doesn’t prosecute audit findings — “we prosecute based on evidence,” was the usual answer by AG.
• Mejit Delegate Almo Momotaro: Can AG step up and do something after audit findings, adding that there’s no point of auditing when no action is taken after.
Read more about this in the July 28, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.