The National, Thursday August 15th, 2013
THE Government is sending out the right signals about corruption but needs to go much further, Transparency International PNG says.
Chairman Lawrence Stephens was responding to the Government’s Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc, who said there should be less talk about the extent of corruption in the country and more done to fight it.
Sir Manasupe was speaking at a forum where Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s proposal for an Independent Commission Against Corruption was discussed.
Stephens told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat he was encouraged by Sir Manasupe’s words and believed that if it was delivered, such a commission could go a long way.
“But we also have the need to strengthen the other institutions and we’re not seeing much sign of that,” he said.
“So we don’t hear for example announcements of improvements in the budget of the courts or extra support to the judicial system or extra support to the Ombudsman Commission. These things are extremely important at a time when it’s estimated that half of PNG’s annual aid budget is misappropriated.
“There are many examples people give us of misuse of authority and obvious misuse of funds.
“There are examples all over the place of misallocation of land, the loss of public money in many institutions and the list goes on and on.”
Stephens said the evidence did not back suggestions that corruption was an inevitable part of the “wantok system” in PNG and what some would call “family business”.
“The biggest element is that people try not to be conscious of the laws which govern their work,” he said.
“People will tell you they feel obligations, and so use that as an excuse for doing a lot of things they do.
“In fact much of the more blatant corruption that goes on is very self-centred, and certainly not of a Robin Hood nature where they’re attempting to be of assistance to the broader community.”