Palau Sessional Legislation
A BILL FOR AN ACT
To ensure the public auditing of state governor's office and state legislatures and for other related purposes.
THE PEOPLE OF PALAU REPRESENTED IN THE OLBIIL ERA KELULAU DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Legislative findings.
The Olbiil Era Kelulau finds that in concordance with Article IV, Section 12 of the Constitution which grants citizens the right to examine government documents and observe official deliberations, the public has a right to know how their tax funds are expended at the state level. At the same time, state legislatures and governors should be held accountable for their use of tax and public funds. The Constitution states in Article XII, Section 2(b) that the Public Auditor shall audit the national government and all other public legal entities, which includes state governments. Chapter 22 of Title 40 of the Palau National Code also recognizes this power and duty in discussing state block grants. Unfortunately, Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Palau National Code which establishes and delineates the powers and duties of the Public Auditor conspicuously omits the auditing of state government, which, the Olbiil Era Kelulau finds was an oversight. This Act clarifies the duties of the Public Auditor to include an annual of each state legislature and governor's office, in concordance with national and state constitutional mandates that call for an audit. Furthermore, the Olbiil Era Kelulau finds that it is imperative to have a single accounting standard of accountability. To this effect, the Public Auditor shall establish clear and concise rules to guide the states in accounting measures of accountability.
Section 2. Amendment. Amend Section 223 of Title 40 of the Palau National Code as follows:
"§ 223. Duties of the Public Auditor.
(a) . . .
(b) . . .
(c) . . .
(d) . . .
(e) In accordance with Chapter 22 of Title 40 of the Palau National Code, the Public Auditor shall transmit to the President and to the presiding officer of each house of the Olbiil Era Kelulau a state financial audit report annually for each state governor and state legislature. The audit shall cover the receipt, possession, and disbursement of public funds including all liabilities, receivables, and accruals of any agency, all taxes, fees, receipts, and other revenues of any state governor or legislature, all other financial transactions involving any state governor or legislature, and any financial statement issued or prepared by an state governor or legislature. Personal service contracts and prime contracts with employees of any state governor or legislature shall be audited as part of the regular operations and activities of the state governor or legislature. Beginning in 2014, each state shall submit prior year audits no later than the end of the third quarter of the next fiscal year.
(f) Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Act, the Public Auditor shall promulgate rules of compliance by which all state legislatures and governors shall be held publicly accountable for expenditure of public funds."
Section 3. Amendment. Section 503 of Title 2 of the Palau National Code is amended as follows:
"§ 503. Powers and duties of Special Prosecutor; independent nature of office.
(a) The Special Prosecutor shall have the following powers, functions and duties:
(1) receive complaints of, investigate, and prosecute any and all allegations of violations of the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Palau;
(2) to investigate and act as the prosecutor for the national government in any other case in which the Ministry of Justice or the Office of the Attorney General is unable to investigate or prosecute because of an actual or potential conflict of interest or other ethical considerations;
(3) to inspect personally, or by his or her duly authorized assistants, all books, records, accounts and property owned or in the possession of the national government and state governments, their subdivisions and agencies;
(4) to require the aid and assistance of any national or state officials, government employees, and any custodian of public funds or property at all times in the inspection and examination of all books, records, accounts and property of the national government or a state government, their subdivisions and agencies;
(5) to hire such staff as may be necessary to carry out its functions under this chapter;
(6) to conduct investigations, and upon a finding of probable cause by the trial division of the Palau Supreme Court, or after an information, criminal, or civil complaint has been filed, to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and obtain testimony; and
(7) to enter into contracts with attorneys licensed to practice law in foreign jurisdictions in order to have foreign licensed attorneys advance the interests of the Special Prosecutor's Office as necessary to carry out the powers, functions, and duties of the Special Prosecutor's Office.
(b) In exercising his powers, functions, and duties, the Special Prosecutor will have the greatest degree of independence. The President will not countermand or interfere with the Special Prosecutor's decision or actions. The Special Prosecutor will determine whether, or and to what extent, he will inform or consult with the President about the conduct of his duties and responsibilities.
(c) The Authority of the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute elected or appointed officials or employees of the national government or a state government and their respective agencies is not exclusive. The intent of this statute is to empower the Office of the Special Prosecutor to work independently from, yet cooperatively and collaboratively with, the Attorney General's Office and the Ministry of Justice in order to ensure that all individuals in Palau are held to the same standard of accountability for their conduct."
Section 4. Effective Date. This Act shall take effect upon its approval by the President of the Republic of Palau, or upon its becoming law without such approval.
PASSED: August 2, 2013
Approved this 13th day of _ August________, 2013
Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.
President of the Republic of Palau