Commencing late September 2018, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) began a public outreach program throughout the 16 states of Palau. The purpose of this unique program was to demystify the OSP, discuss public corruption and white collar crime, and engage the people of the Republic in the fight against corruption. As Special Prosecutor April Dawn Cripps stated, “We cannot do this alone. It does not matter how many cases we prosecute or how many times we win. Without the help of the people, nothing will change. In order to be effective, the people must speak up and stand against corruption in their government at every level. Only then, will lasting change occur.”
To date, the OSP visited 11 of the 16 states. The outreach is a give-and-take engagement with the attendees, OSP prosecutors and investigators. Not only are various forms of corruption discussed, but the impact corruption has on the community and the Palauan people as a whole is part of the open discussion and includes methods of making a complaint to the OSP. Whenever someone speaks up, whether to answer or ask a question, the OSP gives them a sticker entitled “Take a Bite Out of Corruption.” The sticker contains the OSP telephone numbers and the new OSP website address. The outreach is done in English and Palauan, depending on the needs of the attendees.
The final five states for public outreach, i.e., Kayangel, Koror, Airai, Sonsorol, and Hatohobei will be scheduled during June and July 2019. Some questions and answers discussed during the outreach program from all the states will be posted on the OSP website under the button entitled “Palauan Precepts.”
Positive effects of the OSP public outreach campaign include increased contact with citizens and members of government seeking to file complaints. For those complaints that do not fall within our jurisdiction, we try to provide alternatives for where the complaints may be filed. We hope to partner in further outreach efforts with other agencies including the Ethics Commission and the Office of the Public Auditor.