photo from PASAI

Public Auditor Satrunino Tewid said last week that Ethics Commission has the power to look into the behavior of public officials, making sure there is ethics in government.

Tewid was speaking to the members of Palau media last week during the two-day anti-corruption training through the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project last week when he also reminded government institutions of their duty to follow the law and implement regulations involving ethical’s issues involving government officials.

He also urged the media to scrutinize the work of the Ethics Commission.

“That’s (Ethics Commission) probably one of the most important regulatory agency of the government that we need to put our attention to as far as what they are doing to monitor government ethics,” Tewid said.

The Ethics Commission is responsible for ensuring that candidates and public officials file financial disclosure statements

The Ethics Commission and Public Auditor can play an active role in the media, especially when issuing out reports.

“Media are an extension of the eyes & ears of the Public Auditor,” he said.

He said the media plays a critical role in battling corruption in the government.

Code of Ethics Act also requires OPA to review financial disclosure statements but it lacks the personnel to conduct such reviews.

OPA said despite its powers, its duties are hampered by lack of resources.

He said the media can help OPA by checking with the Ethics Commission to check the list of public officials who have and not filed financial disclosure documents.

Some members of the media said that accessing the documents is difficult because the Ethics Commission would give several reasons not to release information.

Under the law, such documents should be publicly available.