The Conflict of Interest law’s draft was the subject of discussion in a high-level meeting overseen by the chief secretary on Tuesday. The law has been drafted with an aim to further curb the menace of corruption at government and institutional levels in the province, said a government press release.
Conducted at K-P’s establishment department in Peshawar, the meeting was also attended by secretaries from finance, establishment, communication and works, irrigation and public health engineering departments. Special secretaries from home and establishment departments and legal drafter at the law department were also in attendance.
The establishment department’s secretary conducted a presentation on the draft, during the course of which different provisions were discussed. Participants suggested necessary modifications in various provisions for making the law more effective and implementable.
Lauding the initiative, Chief Secretary (CS) Muhammad Shehzad Arbab informed the participants that the said law was not only the first of its kind in the country, but also in the entire region.
Along with its implementation, the law would also provide for an independent enforcement forum, namely the ‘Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commission’. Among other things, the draft included the procedure of its gradual and phased implementation, mechanisms that prevent occurrence of corruption, and a comprehensive definition of a ‘Public Office Holder’. The latter not only encompasses incumbent officials, but also former governors, chief ministers, provincial ministers, members of provincial assembly, elected representatives of the local government, and other government employees.
Addressing concerns of whether the time was right for the implementation of the Conflicts of Interest law, the CS said that while our society is not ready for such a law, it would still significantly contribute towards limiting corruption. He said it will also bring about transparency in the government’s business, by controlling and at the same time discouraging decisions based on conflicts of interest.
In light of suggestions put forward at the meeting, it was revealed that the law will be revised and finalised by the core group in the next few days, before it is turned in for submission to relevant authorities.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2014.