The Pacific Integrity Network, in partnership with the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project, and the Office of the Ombudsman Tonga, hosted Advanced Investigations Training in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, over 16-20 October 2017.
Participants had practical opportunities to further enhance their investigations skills in areas such as case management and analysis, charting for complex case work and advanced interview techniques.
The training included representatives from a range of Pacific Integrity bodies who examine fraud, corruption and maladministration in the public sector. Amongst the 40 participants were staff from the Ombudsman, Auditor General, Police, justice department and public service commission office staff.
In his opening address, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lord Tu’i’afitu, said, “enhancing accountability and transparency within Government takes the combined and cooperative efforts of many institutions within a country. Forefront in these efforts is a network of integrity agencies that provide the necessary checks and balances on government action”.
The training, the first of its kind to be held in Tonga, included 14 Pacific Island countries. Participating nations represented included the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
“The sessions are designed to be practical and interactive, and the participants will work together on problems based on real investigations. While bringing in international best practices, the training will consider specific challenges that small Pacific States are facing,” said Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser for UN-PRAC, Maria Adomeit.
Ombudsman of Tonga, Mr Áisea Havea Taumoepeau SC said, “the training will assist investigators from across Pacific integrity agencies to sharpen their skills in relation to complex investigations.”
The program included a one day integrity mapping workshop, facilitated by the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, followed by three days of advanced investigations training, facilitated by Jason Reichelt of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.
The week culminated in the first Integrity March in Tonga, organised by the Tongan Ombudsman’s office, promoting accountability, transparency and integrity in government.