Bart: Govt must act on PAC reports and arrest corruption

National, Normal

The National – Friday, June 24, 2011

THE government must arrest serious corruption and the deterioration of governance issues highlighted by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report, Lae MP Bart Philemon said.
He said the PAC reported widespread and significant misconduct, misappropriation and defalcation by trustees or signatories right across the spectrum of government – from national agencies down to district level.
He said the government’s annual public accounts reports for 2007, 2008 and 2009 were unreliable, incomplete and not based on proper records or accounts.
Philemon said that the report highlighted poor corporate governance, weak internal control, poor and failed accounting, unavailability of financial statements, non-existent internal fi­nance reconciliation and staff incompetence.
“The systems of trust accounts to which millions of kina have been parked since 2006 has failed to ensure the proper and lawful handling of public monies.
“Accounting of trust accounts in which some K6 billion of excess money from high commodity prices were kept and spent had collapsed in 2007 and had got worse since.
“Sadly, PNG may never know how much exactly these windfall gains had evaporated since the last of these funds were expended in 2009.”
He said PNG had been rated as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.
According to a United Nations report, it was ranked 154 out of 183 nations.
“We are the 29th worse corrupt nation in the world,” Philemon said.
He said the statistic “is alarming and calls for urgent attention in eradicating this disease”.
“If it is not brought under control, it will wipe out the whole nation as is seen in many other developing countries around the world.”
Philemon said corruption posed the greatest threat to PNG right now because it had penetrated into the very fabric of society “far greater than HIV/AIDS”.