Cook Islands Government working to maintain reputation
Financial Secretary Richard Neves states that government agencies in the Cook Islands are not resting on its laurels when it comes to preventing corruption.
Mr Neves was speaking on International Anti Corruption Day – a United Nations initiative which supports the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
“Corruption is a problem in all countries, some more so than others. We have a good reputation internationally and we work hard to maintain that reputation.
“But by ensuring we have robust systems and processes in place we reduce opportunities for corruption.
“If there is any sign of corruption it is imperative that it is handled appropriately, sending a clear message that such behaviour is just unacceptable.”
Mr Neves cited the government’s procurement portal (procurement.gov.ck) as a good example of the government trying to improve its anti corruption practices.
“This website is accessible to all, and has been updated to allow people to easily see what tenders are underway, which ones have just closed, and, once awarded, who the successful tenderer was. All government agencies are required to put their tenders on the procurement portal.
“Often I get complaints that procurement processes take time and hold up work. Yes the process is probably not as quick as what would happen in the private sector where people sit down and work it out quickly between them.
“But we don’t manage our own money, we manage public money and the public needs to be confident that value for money is being obtained by government with their money.”
Mr Neves said the Ministry had a complaints procedure in place so members of the public could raise any concerns about corruption directly.
Procurement or MFEM Ministry complaints can be sent to the MFEM ministry via Etuatina Drollett on 22878 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.