Should the FSM amend Her Constitution to Include an Office for an Independent Prosecutor?

What does the FSMers want? do we want a special prosecutor to serve as a deterent for corrupt government officers and make sure our funds dont get misused? this proposal has been brought up in the past but the people have voted against it. are we this stubborn or are we just ignorant?


  • Gil-Yalfath,

    I am for an independent prosecutor that has everything and anything "independent" like funding for one. It can be a deterrent for venal officials but certainly not a panacea. You are right that this idea was once conjured up by our delegates to the last constitutional convention who came up with fourteen amendments. I must say some of them were quite ingenious and relevant to ameliorating or addressing some of the problems we have like a popularly elected president, a limited term for members of congress, dual citizenship and full faith and credit, to name some. The latter two were revisited again in the recent election which I thought was haphazardly done, hence, another rejection by our voting citizenry.

    I sometimes wonder whether it makes sense to have constitutional convention juxtaposing the consistently deplorable outcomes and the costs involved. This prompted a seemingly sensible argument from those who believe that the only way to reckon with this dilemma is to reduce the percentage required to pass a constitutional amendment which stands at 75%. No question this is high, but maybe it is designed by the framers to be such so that it is not easy to dissect the backbone of our nation, the national constitution. There is merit in this argument also. But, as we know amending the constitution through constitutional convention is not the only recourse advocated in our constitution for our citizens. It can be done through legislation and popular initiative.

    I have digressed from the gist of your posting, though these are related points. While I am not sure what you meant by our stubborness and ignorance, I don't see any problem with that if we can get our overdue independent prosecutor. This is extremely relevant nowadays.
  • thanks alot,
    By the way, may i ask if you hold any offices in the national government? i am curious about your substantial knowledge regarding FSM's political world. and i am seeking for people who posses information or expert opinion on this matter. i am a member of a debate team with a proposition regarding the office of an independent prosecutor, please if you venture across some valuable data that you think will support my cause, i humbly request a notification
  • I am not for an independent prosecution body, but an independent commission against corruption with the adjudicator appointed by the executive depending on the issues. The terms of reference would be based on the issues.
  • We actually do not need ConCon to create that office of independent prosecutor..infact not any government organization at the national level, as that chore is relatively left to the current administration to design one and pass it in for congressional approval. One thing that could work is perhaps to hire a non-FSM to run it so it would be free of biases and conflict, and not subjected to government interferences.
  • Snapshot,

    The downside of a statutory body is that it can be interfered with and abolished at anytime, unlike if it was constitutionally created. Just a precautionary note.
  • Gil-Yalfath,

    Yes, I work in the national government for about two decades now, and actually one of the educators on the ConCon fourteen-failed amendments.

    An independent prosecutor's office will of course cost money. But, s/he can also make money for the government if he does his/her work right in prosecuting those who violate government laws. The trick is to assure as much as possible the independence of the office from the politics of Congress as well as the Executive Branch in terms of enabling it to have its own funding and to be able to exercise a broad range of independent authority. It is difficult given the pervasive nature of politics in contemporary Micronesia, but it is not impossible if given the necessary wherewithals and authority. The idea advanced by Snapshot for hiring a non-FSM citizen has merits, but there are demerits as well. Lessons can be learned from the Justice Department where we had foreign lawyers serving at the helm.
  • Turmai, Turmai
    where are you when i need you?...during the past few discussion i have come to respect your ability to critique, analyze and give expert opinion on a given issue or matter...
    please i implore you to put aside our problematic past and contribute to this issue...
    thank you,
  • Gil and Ulong, the ideal would be to have an independent prosecutor (IP), but there are issues that must be dealt with in order to avoid confusion.

    1. how is the IPs tasks or role going to be different from the Public Auditor?
    2. who is going to fund the office? congress or?
    3. Who is going to create the office? congress or president or?

    The ideal would be to hire and outsider: if the AGs office is currently having difficulty filling vacancies, do you think it is that easy for outsiders to fill the IP post?

    This might be a very sensetive issue indeed, it would be like biting the hand that feeds you ya? One of the role of the IP would be to investigate misuse of government funds; wow.....that almost include the whole Congress members both past and present; yea or nay? I see this issue could take forever to materialized just as the IP for chuuk never materialized even though the office has been funded since Walters admin.

    Ulong, do you have some ideas on how to initiate this IP issue? To get the ball rolling?
  • I thought all along that a Special Prosecutor office is mandatory under the Compact of Free Association ? the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands?...or does it?
  • edited May 2007

    I am sorry I don't offer anything here because I don't know anything about bureaucratic process or governance. But what I have read from all the postings here, I came up again with criticisms. Sorry for being pessimist but that's the way I see the world. The role of special prosecutor is not one directly involves the prevention of corruptions and mismanagement of public funds but one that will prosecute the white collar crimes. There is a systematic mechanism in our government and every department simply for the prevention and I believe that is where we should concentrate first. This doesn't mean that we prolong such establishment but for the credibility of the prevention of white collar crimes is on the other side of the bridge.

    The foreseeable problem as ulong said is the costs associate with lawyers idle and waiting for a case to prosecute. And second is who wants to establish an office to look over their discrepancies. The congress or President has the power to do so by statute but that won't have the complete independence of the office which requires its functions unaffected. Constitutional establishment of such office guarantee such independence for special prosecutor's office if overcome the 75% votes in favor. Beside the point ulong made about the 75%, our Constitution is not one that provides leeway of amendments of non-primary framework of the constitution e.g. individual rights. Some constitution provide separate pecentage of the passing votes depending on which provision or types of amendment.

    In other countries, the office of ombudsman takes that role and decided if the case could be sent to court or not but still never cracked down most of the corruptions coming into being. They are simply conducting investigation and referred the matter to Attorney-General or Solicitor-General for prosecution. This way, it doesn't originate within the prosecution where they can decide if to prosecute or not. Knowingly that the Attorney-General has the discretion to prosecute any government cases or not depending on the economic aspect of the case is an element geared toward nepotism.

    So look at the necessary elements require for such an office to empowers itself in dealing with the prosecution of white collar crimes. Remember that white collar crimes are not so culpable compare to criminal crimes as the way government officials see it. Theoretically, factors require should be 1) the independence of special prosecutor; 2) investigation must not originate within the prosecuting body; and 3) the judicating economy if when or not to prosecute such cases. This is because we don't want to establish an office for intimidating other bodies of government.

    Sorry that’s all I can summarized but I may be wrong as I said not my topic.
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