Anti-graft body tells Tiensten to get serious

National, Normal

The National – Friday, December 10, 2010

THE anti-corruption body in Papua New Guinea has called on National Planning and Monitoring Minister Paul Tiensten and his secretary, Joseph Lelang, to act and get rid of corrupt officers who are conning people into paying thousands of kina for the release of cheques.
Transparency International PNG (TIPNG), in a media statement yesterday, called on Tiensten and Lelang to insist that appropriate bodies must be brought in to identify and prosecute officers involved in the Vulupindi Haus syndicate rather than blaming other institutions.
“The noblest thing the minister can do is lead by example and institute necessary steps to flush out the rotten officers within National Planning rather than accusing the police and banks of colluding with the syndicate,” the TIPNG statement said.
It said the case involving Telefomin MP Peter Iwei, regarding his K10,000 payment to a public official, would have gone unreported except that the cheque was a fake and the issue brought to light.
“How is it that the minister continues to tell the public that he is aware of similar cases and, yet, do nothing about it?
“It is time for Tiensten and Lelang to tell the people of Papua New Guinea, and particularly victims of the so-called syndicate, what they are doing about this scandalous behaviour that has been allowed to take root within the department over the years,” TIPNG stated.
It said the corrupt activities of Vulupindi Haus officers had been reported many times in the past 12 months but it seemed individuals had thrived by capitalising on governance loopholes, gross incompetence and lack of action by leaders.
TIPNG said it noted that Tiensten and Lelang had admitted to know about the existence of the scam but heard no information about their efforts to stop it.
“The people of PNG deserve better from their leaders.
“Representatives of the state are apparently demanding payments, in the names of ministers and departmental heads, in order to release legitimate payments to vital social institutions,” it stated.
“TIPNG calls on Tiensten to assure the people that he and Lelang would flush out the rotten officers operating within National Planning.
“We believe that until such time our political and bureaucratic leaders lead with genuine will and commitment in curbing corruption, we may never see genuine improvement in the delivery of goods and services,” TIPNG said.