19 April 2017

Mauritius: PM - Government Has Zero Tolerance Policy Towards Drug Trafficking and Corruption

press release

We have adopted a zero tolerance policy with regard to the relentless fight against drugs and drug trafficking which often give rise to corruption, said the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, yesterday at the National Assembly in reply to a Private notice question.

The Prime Minister recalled that Government has a mandate for change and will relentlessly fight fraud, corruption and financial crime. He announced the setting up of a Financial Crime Commission to act as an apex body to oversee the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Financial Intelligence Unit and the enforcement department of the Financial Services Commission. On that score the Ministry of Financial Services, Good Governance and Institutional Reforms and the Attorney-General's Office are currently working on the Financial Crime Commission Bill.

With regard to tendering procurement and contract allocation and management, as announced in the Government Programme 2015-2019, the process is continuously being reviewed to ensure greater transparency and prevent corrupt practices in the allocation of contracts in the public sector, said Mr Jugnauth recalling the need for the approval of the Central Procurement Board with respect to variation of major contracts.

"A new process for e-procurement system has been introduced to reduce human interaction in the tendering procedures and prevent potential for fraud and corruption" he said.

The Prime Minister listed out some of the measures implemented by the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) to prevent any corrupt practices at the level of Customs, VAT and Income Tax. These comprise: Electronic Filing and Electronic Payment of Bill of Entry, VAT and Income Tax Returns; Examination of goods at the level of MRA Customs carried out under CCTV Cameras; Hotline Electronic Platform to report complaints and corrupt practices; and th3e setting up of an Internal Affairs Division within the MRA to conduct enquiry into alleged cases of malpractices by its officers.

In his reply Mr Jugnauth pointed out that the Declaration of Assets Act Bill will soon be presented to the National Assembly. ICAC has developed a Draft Code of Conduct for Members of the National Assembly, including Ministers. The Draft Code is intended to provide strict guidelines for the conduct of members of the National Assembly as well as public officials, he said.

Furthermore, in line with the Government Programme 2015-2019, the Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms has developed a Draft Code of Conduct for Ministers, said the Prime Minister. A Working Committee has been set up to examine the provisions of the two Draft Codes with a view to determining whether they should be harmonised or merged.

The Working Committee comprises representatives from the Prime Minister's Office, the Solicitor-General's Office, the Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms, the National Assembly and the ICAC.

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