Billions lost to fraud, says Yakasa

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, February 16, 2011

PAPUA New Guinea loses about 50% of its budget directly to fraud.
“This is equivalent to K4 billion a year which has gone into the hands of corrupt public servants and senior bureaucrats, many of whom have invested these gains overseas,” acting deputy police commissioner Fred Yakasa said this week at a workshop in Port Moresby.
Yakasa told participants to take on different measures of investigation as opposed to the traditional process of, arresting, charging, and prosecuting, which had failed in the past 15 to 20 years.
The workshop, themed “Proceeds of Crime”, is being organised by the anti-money laundering assistance team from the Australian justice and attorney-general department in conjunction with the Papua New Guinea financial intelligence unit.
The workshop participants are drawn from members within the Royal PNG Constabulary, auditor-general’s office; finance inspection branch and the PNG Securities Commission.
Yakasa also said PNG had the wealth that could provide each and every citizen with a world-class quality lifestyle yet it currently suffered from a level of financial crime common in many African nations.
He said PNG could provide its people with the best health care, good roads, schooling and a good standard of living but “the criminal among us; our own people, are stealing money from government accounts and avoiding taxes”.
Yakasa also said PNG failed to collect more than half of the taxation revenue that was due because public office holders decided not to pay.
“Where does that money go? It disappears into the pockets of corrupt public servants,”
 “If you want health care, roads, public infrastructure and services that we Papua New Guineans deserve, then now is the time to stand up and stop the fraud and corruption that is destroying our nation,” Yakasa said. 
The workshop ends on Friday.