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The Honorable Prime Minister of Samoa – Afioga Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi attended the inaugural Pacific Regional Conference on Anti-Corruption that was held in Tarawa Kiribati on the 3rd– 6th February, 2020.

This is the first meeting of its kind for the Pacific Regional Leaders gathering to discuss corruption under the theme of “Pacific Unity Against Corruption. The objective of the Conference was to establish a network on anti-corruption in the Pacific Region and also to provide an opportunity for countries to share best practices and lessons learnt in combating corruption.

The President of Kiribati – His Excellency Taneti Maamau invited Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele as the guest speaker for this important meeting, which was an opportunity to discuss an anti-corruption framework, the role of tradition and culture in combatting corruption and the economic and social impact of corruption on small island economies.

Hon. Tuilaepa in his keynote address mentioned that “like natural disasters and health epidemics, corruption, if allowed to flourish would wreak great havoc and misery. As universally acknowledged corruption is present in all countries irrespective of the level of wealth or location on the world map. In our Blue Pacific region, we know and understand the threat that corruption poses to the development of small island economies and the cohesiveness and stability of our communities. Our shared deep regional concern with the damaging effects of corruption has prompted most of our Pacific countries to become members of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). To date, I am advised that 15 Forum countries are members, with the remainder in the process of acceding. This, indeed, is very encouraging.”

The Prime Minister highlighted that Pacific efforts in guarding and fighting against corruption and its corrosive and destructive impacts can be eliminated if there is good and strong political leadership supporting every process of countering corruption. He further noted that without this political will at the highest level, anti-corruption efforts would always struggle to succeed.

The Pacific countries have long standing commitments to good governance and the combating of corruption and it was also at this Pacific Leaders Meeting that Tonga’s Minister for Trade and Economic Development – Honorable Samiu Vaipulu announced Tonga’s accession to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which was great news for the Pacific having all of its member countries accede to the UNCAC.

Samoa’s delegation to this meeting also included the Chairman of the Public Service Commission – Afioga Aiono Mose Sua and the Assistant Chief Executive Officer for the Regional Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade.

Photo Credit: Nukualofa Times