Papua New Guinea: Government must back its word to fight corruption
Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) compliments and welcomes the new Government’s move to fight corruption as a positive step for the new political era of the nation. In his maiden speech last week, Prime Minister Peter O’Neil said that the Government will “run a country that is transparent and accountable and to stamp out corruption wherever it occurs.” TIPNG shares the same ideals as the Government where it envisions that politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free from corruption.
In August last year, the O'Neil/Namah Government endorsed and adopted the National Anti Corruption Strategy. Having adopted the Strategy, the government now needs to make sure that it is institutionalized and implemented so that the battle against corruption becomes real to all parts of PNG society.
A good first step will be responding to the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Special Purpose Business and Agriculture Lease (SPABL) arrangements as well as the backlog of other Commission of Inquiry reports. Papua New Guineans and the international community hope that the new Government will take decisive steps to stop the looting of national timber resources by people pretending to have an interest in agriculture and road building.
TIPNG also urges the O’Neil Government to review and repeal all the wrong laws that were passed in the last ten months of his reign. We need to see Parliament pass laws covering PNG's commitment to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the Parliamentary Committee's and official watchdogs of governance acted upon. We need to see immediate measures to help the public service rise up, clean up its act and help PNG change its currently poor international reputation. TIPNG encourages the new Government to adequately resource relevant integrity institutions mandated to combat corruption so that they effectively carry out their duties.
TIPNG does acknowledge that the task of fighting corruption is not easy and can only work when there is a “political will” to back it up. The Prime Minister’s statement offers some real hope but will need a true commitment from all of us in order to bring about the reforms and changes his Government is espousing. No single agency can fight corruption on its own; a concerted effort is needed. The most important players in the anti-corruption fight are the Government and other coalition partners including the Courts, the Parliament, the business houses, civil society organizations, international agencies, the media and the citizens of PNG.
“It takes courage to stand up against individuals and groups whose acts of corruption are widely spoken of. In carrying out his promises, Mr O'Neill will have turned PNG away from the path to ruin on which it has been travelling,” stressed the TIPNG Chairman, Mr Lawrence Stephens. Any person or groups who can protect the public from the shocking excesses we have seen and turn back this tsunami of corruption will deserve high honors in the history of PNG and the hearts of parents desperate now to secure their children's futures.
Mr Stephens says that TIPNG has already been working with government organizations and departments through its various programs and activities and TIPNG welcomes any opportunity to work with the current Government in their anti-corruption efforts and plans.
What is TIPNG?
TIPNG is a member of Transparency International, a global anti-corruption movement committed towards fighting corruption. TIPNG is an independent organization in PNG called a chapter. The PNG chapter advocates against issues of corruption and promotes transparency, good governance, honesty and accountability both in private and public sector dealings. TIPNG tries to strengthen the integrity systems of our country such as the police, the parliament and the judiciary.
Ms Yvonne Ngutlick
Communications and Public Relations Officer
Transparency International (PNG) Inc.
(675) 320 2188/82