Cost of corruption too big to ignore, says expert


MEMBERS of the business community are faced with corruption challenges as they conduct their businesses, according to Transparency International PNG chairman Lawrence Stephens.
Stephens told a breakfast yesterday, attended by TI chairman Jose` Ugaz, that PNG was similar to other countries which faced such challenges.
“We have challenges in Papua New Guinea. Among these are challenges to the business community,” Stephens said.
“Challenges that are quite clearly corruption-based, challenges that cost the business community dearly, and challenges which means that the playing field is uneven. Much needs to be done if we are to change that.”
Ugaz gave an overview on how corruption was thriving in the global community and how it was being dealt with.
Ugaz said he came from a highly corrupted environment – Peru.
“I was in charge of starting the investigation against the former president (Alberto) Fujimori and his criminal network. He ran the country for 10 years in a very territorial way,” he said.
“I represent Transparency International, the largest organisation fighting corruption in the world. We work through national groups in more than 100 countries.
“We have learnt all around the world that if we don’t work with the business sector, our efforts to tackle corruption are going to be very modest. And we will not arrive at where we are intending to arrive.
“Corruption is hitting severely the business and private sector and I think that’s an issue that we need to dig a little bit to understand what is happening there.
“When the environment starts to improve, or law enforcement starts to make some difference and really working against corruption, then there is a change in the way companies and businesses do their work.”

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