By MALUM NALU
Papua New Guinea has a long way to go in the battle against corruption, according to a visiting American anti-corruption expert, Robert Cerasoli.
Cerasoli, an expert in anti-corruption, rule of law, ethics, and has experience serving as inspector general in the US government, said this during a public lecture at the Institute of Public Administration in Port Moresby yesterday on the topic "What does it mean to be an Ethical Public Servant?".
The objective was to discuss the importance of ethics and professionalism in public service and highlight the role civil servants play in advancing democracy at a crucial time for PNG.
“Resources to achieve the goals (of government) are limited,” he said.
“Public servants are stewards of these resources.
“And they must ensure that these resources are used to achieve the goals effectively and efficiently as possible.
“They are the ones to prevent fraud, misuse and squandering of the resources of their government, the squandering of resources of Papua New Guinea.”
Cerasoli said over the last few days he had talked to several people in government and media, and the general perception was that corruption was a problem in the country.
“And, like many nations that I go to in Africa, the people say, ‘there is a culture of corruption’.
“Well, I don’t believe that, I don’t think you believe that.
“I think it’s a more-complicated story.
“I don’t think the people here, by nature, are corrupt.
“It doesn’t work like that.
“If we believe that we have the original sin of corruption in us all, then all is lost.
“So what does that mean? Where do we go from here? How do you think corruption starts? How has it become so insidious?
“Many people, public administrators in the field, have a difficult time defining corruption.”