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Corruption calls in PNG lack backing

The Phone Against Corruption initiative introduced by the Papua New Guinea Finance Department will be transferred to an independent body such as the Independent Coalition Against Corruption (ICAC) when established.

The Government is now being called on to pass the ICAC Bill in Parliament so that corruption issues can be dealt with accordingly.

Finance secretary Dr Ken Ngangan, said since the Phone Against Corruption programme was launched in 2014, two people were arrested for fraud and mismanagement of funds totalling about K5 million (US$1.5 million).

He told The National during the opening of the public sector audit programme workshop and the launch of the Governance Performance Scorecard in Port Moresby and attended by heads of government sectors agencies, their internal auditors, the Auditor-General, Bank of PNG, representatives from UNDP led by resident representative Dirk Wagner and others.

Ngangan said while all corruption allegation messages received were acknowledged, only about five per cent had sufficient evidence backing them.

Ngangan said 95 per cent of the allegations of corruption were either malicious or baseless.

He said despite this the initiative had merit as one of the ways to address corruption.

Ngangan said it would be beneficial if the Government could pass the ICAC law as the country needed to have an independent anti-corruption body in place.

He said once established, the Finance Department could transfer its Phone Against Corruption initiative to them so they were also kept accountable and scrutinised on their governance.

Ngangan said the initiative was part of the provincial capacity-building programme to enhance accountability and transparency by minimising the risk of corruption, a government’s reform agenda to combat corruption and the mismanagement of public monies.

The initiative is managed by the department through its Financial Management Improvement Programme, Internal Audit and Compliance Division.

The Phone Against Corruption information booklet states that since the introduction of the anti-corruption programme, two people had been arrested while another 250 cases had been registered and were under investigation.

It stated that it was an innovative way to expose and combat corruption by using text messaging system on phones. The booklet states that while so much money has been given in terms of service improvement programme funds, the human development indexes (HDI) had not improved.

It stated that PNG did not achieve any of its medium-term development goals by 2015 and the country was ranked 154 out of 188 countries for HDI. It also stated that PNG was ranked 129 out of 176 countries according to Transparency International Index for 2017, and in the bottom 15 per cent according to the World Bank’s global government corruption index..


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