Monday, August 12, 2013

PNG corruption under scrutiny

There is too much talking and not enough fighting against corruption in Papua New Guinea, the Chief Secretary to government says.
Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc has told a forum on PNG's proposed Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) the nation's government is willing to fight corruption head on.
"The fight against corruption is not new," Sir Manasupe said in a statement.
"The talks about corruption have been going on for far too long.
"We hear about people stealing from the government or misusing funds but from today onwards we will take a serious step in having corruption brought to an end."
Sir Manasupe was addressing a meeting in Mt Hagen, in PNG's Western Highlands, on Thursday.
In the 1990's a proposed ICAC failed to gain majority parliamentary backing.
The government of Peter O'Neill was elected on a mandate to tackle corruption and fix the nation's ailing infrastructure.
In 2011 it set up Task Force Sweep to investigate corruption at the department of National Planning, but its purview was soon extended to cover other departments.
Task Force Sweep Chief Sam Koim last month told the Australian based Development Policy Centre an ICAC must evolve slowly, as a new anti-corruption institution had potential to "divert government attention away from existing agencies, or cause territorial conflicts (between agencies)".
However an ICAC could work if it was properly integrated into existing government systems and reflected local values.
Last year Mr Koim said about half of PNG's 7.6 billion kina (AUD$3.5 billion) aid budget between 2009 and 2011 had been lost to corruption. In October last year he called Australia PNG's "Cayman Islands" for stolen funds. In February his office in Port Moresby was ransacked.

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