16 May 2012

Kiribati parliament plans to boost power of body which oversees public funds

2:17 pm on 16 May 2012

The United Nations Development Programme says plans to boost the powers of the Kiribati Public Accounts Committee will increase transparency in public spending.

Suggestions to broaden the Committee's authority and strengthen its oversight functions were raised during a workshop facilitated by the Kiribati Parliament and the UNDP two weeks ago.

The UNDP's Resident Representative in Fiji, Knut Ostby, says the plans include expanding the Committee's membership, appointing an opposition member as the chair and increasing transparency in the handling of public funds.

"In Kiribati there is limited understanding among some public officers about how the accountability system actually should work. There is a lack of understanding of what the procedures should be. Therefore there is a big, grey area, there is a big area where you don't know exactly what happens to some of the funds."

Knut Ostby says parliament will be conducting public hearings on the ideas.