Reference filed on certain provisions of ICAC

The Ombudsman Commission has filed a Special Reference pursuant to it’s powers under Section 19(3)(e) of the Constitution by seeking the Supreme Court to invoke its powers purposely to look at the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Organic Law on the Independent Commission against Corruption (OLICAC) which was recently passed by Parliament as the enabling Legislation of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

The Ombudsman Commission is seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality Of the OLICAC and also the establishment and operation of the ICAC

That is that the OLICAC does not comply with other existing laws and that the establishment of the ICAC duplicates the functions of other constitutional institutions such as the Ombudsman Commission, Police and the Office of the Public Prosecutor.

The Ombudsman Commission after reviewing the draft ICAC law (OLICAC) had written to the responsible authorities including the Prime Minister, Chairman of Constitutional Laws, Acts & Subordinate Legislations Committee and all the Members

of Parliament that there were duplicity issues which they needed to seriously consider and deliberate when parliament sat to consider the law on its third reading.

Despite so many attempts by the Ombudsman Commission for consultation, the responsible authorities and the Parliament had not considered the views of the Ombudsman Commission and passed the law with an absolute majority and the ICAC formally commenced its operation through National Gazette No. G315 of 18 May 2021.

The Commission also in an earlier letter dated 28 August 2013 had written to the then Chief Secretary to Government to consider its views and comments in relation to a discussion paper on the establishment of the ICAC which was circulated at that time but the comments and views by the Ombudsman Commission were not captured in the draft OLICAC which was later passed by Parliament.

The Ombudsman Commission has now referred certain constitutional questions to the Supreme Court to deliberate on the establishment of the ICAC.

As required by Order 3 Rule 13 of the Supreme Court Rules 2012, the Reference that was filed on 24 June 2021 has been served on the Principal Legal Adviser to the National Executive Council, who is the Attorney-General.

The Supreme Court registry has also advised that the matter has been listed for directions hearing on 5 July 2021.

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