This is the Prime Minister's statement in full so you are entitled to bellieve it or not:
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday he was satisfied that Papua New Guinea has made significant progress in the fight against corruption.
“I’m pleased with what we have achieved, in the fight to stem corruption, since 2011. Much of the stride we have made may not be noticeable, and may not please everyone, but that will not deter us from our commitment,” Mr O’Neill said.
He said high investor confidence, sound management of the economy, building infrastructure for better service delivery, and improving business environment were the hallmarks of a country that is dealing decisively with its development issues, including fighting corruption.
“Against this backdrop, I must say that I am disappointed with PNG’s rating on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013. Obviously those who influence this perception rating may have a certain bias in the way our government has addressed some issues in the last 12 months.
“But let me assure the people of Papua New Guinea that the government will take this rating as an encouragement to do more to fight this evil of corruption.”
Since being elected Prime Minister, the government under O’Neill’s leadership has:
· Approved the National Anti-Corruption Strategy which has won the approval of the United Nations;
· Set up a National Anti-Corruption Task Force which is now implementing the Strategy;
· Set up Task Force SWEEP headed by Sam Koim which is investigating and prosecuting corrupt practices in the public sector;
· ordered a high level investigation into massive fraud and corruption in the Finance Department, which has resulted in a clean out of the department, and prosecution of certain individuals involved;
· Introduced the ICAC Bill in Parliament which passed the first vote with an overwhelming majority; supporting legislations to protect whistle blowers and ensure freedom of information will be introduced when the ICAC Bill faces the second vote next year;
· Ordered a review of certain contracts with prices which were deemed as excessive;
· Frozen all illegally/improperly acquired land leases (SABLs) following a commission of inquiry, and appointing a task force to review the process; and
· Reviewed the entire public procurement process with the inclusion of independent assessors, for the first time, to allow more transparency and accountability in the process, and speed up delivery time.
The Prime Minister said: “These are some of the measures we have taken as a government to improve governance, and enhance transparency and accountability in our systems and processes. No-one can accuse us of doing nothing.”
He said there was a lot of debate and discussions in the mainstream and social media about corruption.
“The use of these forums for discussions and debates is healthy. Most of these discussions are sensible and useful in the cause, while some are baseless innuendos which we all can do without.
“It is important to remember that fighting corruption is not just the government’s business; it’s everyone’s business. We all have a role to play to rid our country of corruption,” the Prime Minister said.