AMMAN — The formation of the Royal Committee for Enhancing National Integrity came at a crucial time to help restore public confidence in state institutions and ensure that they work in harmony to serve citizens, according to observers and officials.
His Majesty King Abdullah earlier this week announced the formation of the Royal committee, headed by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and composed of public sector and civil society representatives to review the performance of monitoring agencies and develop a holistic approach to the fight against corruption.
“Jordanians’ confidence in state institutions, which will motivate them to actively participate in decision and policy making, and implementation processes, is the engine that drives comprehensive reform efforts towards success and reassures Jordanians of their present and the future of their children,” the King said in a letter to Ensour.
Ombudsman Bureau President Abdul Ilah Kurdi said the poor services presented to the public by some state institutions have led to a confidence crisis between both sides.
“His Majesty’s decision to form the integrity committee reflects his concern over the public’s satisfaction and indicates his keenness to enhance the services offered to citizens via addressing loopholes in the public sector,” Kurdi said.
He voiced hope that the new panel will streamline the public sector’s work so that all government institutions providing services to the public can work in harmony.
“We also have a problem in the appointment process in the public sector, which should be implemented in accordance with the highest recruitment standards based on qualifications,” he said.
The Monarch said the committee will work to support the national integrity system by evaluating current laws, reviewing the performance and assessing the needs of anti-corruption and monitoring public agencies, and submitting recommendations to strengthen them.
In remarks to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) President Samih Bino said the integrity committee’s formation came at the right time to help push the reform process forward by enhancing coordination between monitoring agencies and preventing overlapping in jurisdiction.
The work of the committee, based on the King’s directives, should result in a code on the basic principles and ethical and professional standards to regulate work in the public and private sectors, in addition to an executive plan to strengthen the integrity system.
Bino said the code and recommendations that will be produced by the committee will help the country make a qualitative leap in streamlining the work of monitoring bodies.
Former justice minister Ibrahim Omoush told The Jordan Times that ensuring transparency and accountability in the public sector are prone to promote integrity as a social value.
Putting the panel’s recommendations into practice, Omoush said, will reflect positively on the public opinion and render the people more supportive of authorities’ decision and policies.
Stressing the need to clarify each monitoring body’s jurisdiction and duties, the former minister argued that the ACC had focused on prosecuting those suspected of corruption at the expense of reviewing government procedures in finance and recruitment.
“Unfortunately, it has focused mainly on prosecution, which is historically the duty of prosecutors. Indeed, exercising the prosecution function by the ACC has contributed to prolonging the litigation and prosecution process,” he concluded.
Centre for Strategic Studies Director Mousa Shteiwi believes that announcing the integrity committee’s outcomes and recommendations in a national conference reflects its transparent mechanism to engage the public in its efforts.
“The goal is to reach a consensus on the concept of integrity and the best means to ensure the achievement of integrity in every aspect of the government’s performance, especially its efforts to combat corruption and achieve social justice in a comprehensive manner,” Shteiwi said.