Samoa was currently being reviewed for the first time under the Implementation Review Mechanism of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), since acceding in April 2018.
Samoa was being reviewed by South Sudan and Oman, with technical assistance provided by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Acceding to the UNCAC was a key milestone in itself for Samoa, particularly in its efforts to strengthen the integrity of its public administration. However, being under review was another milestone to be celebrated, given it was an opportunity to identify our best practices, gaps and challenges, and the assistance that was needed to strengthen our current integrity frameworks.
The PSC hosted a country visit by the UNODC and the reviewing countries over 3 days from the 17th – 19th September, 2019.
The purpose of the country visit was to give relevant national stakeholders an opportunity to meet with the reviewing countries, and to provide further information and clarification on Samoa’s implementation of the UNCAC to date. All technical sessions were held at the Public Service Commission Conference Room and was attended by representatives from the Government agencies that had work pertaining to Chapters III (Criminalization and Law Enforcement) and Chapter IV (International Cooperation) of the UNCAC.
By way of background, Samoa’s accession to UNCAC followed work undertaken by the Government under the leadership of the Public Service Commission (PSC), with assistance from the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project (UN-PRAC).
The PSC as the focal point have been working in collaboration with Government agencies across the public sector in a number of programs to prepare Samoa Government officials for this process, particularly on the tools and methodology to conduct the said review.
The Chairman of the Public Service Commission in his opening remarks echoed the Government of Samoa’s commitment to strengthen public confidence in the integrity of the public administration and quoted, “the first priority was for Samoa to accede to the UNCAC. The remaining priorities focused on institutional changes to strengthen the current anti-corruption framework, particularly in relation to coordinating inter-agency integrity related works. He also mentioned that cabinet has approved in June this year the establishment of an UNCAC Coordinating Committee, to facilitate the sharing of information pertaining to the review, and the work necessary to satisfy all the mandatory requirements of the Convention.”
The Chairman also thanked and acknowledged the support of regional and development partners, United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Development Programme and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for lending their support to ensure that Samoa’s commitment to counter anti-corruption will strengthen public confidence in the integrity of public administration.