BSP right to ask for source of funds

Letters, Normal

The National – Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I REFER to the letter “Another nonsense by BSP” (The National, Dec 10) by Albert Kopeap.
I would like to make a general comment regarding this and other related issues raised by readers in The National recently to clear up any doubts the people may have over some of the points raised.
This, I hope will help them understand why such things are happening and in relation to two other letters “Citizens must push for law on proceeds of crime to be introduced” (The National, Dec 15) by “Komnkunebe Nongakane Muruta” and “Police fraud squad must act quickly” (The National, Dec 13) by “Eye in the sky”.
The introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act in 2005 placed the onus on banks and other cash dealers to ensure that the transactions that they enter into do not involve proceeds of crime.
Banks must ensure that they are not facilitating offences and must know their customers’ business, including the source and application of the money that they are dealing with.
Failure to do this is an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act which could expose the bank to the risk of prosecution.
In order to avoid prosecution, banks, including BSP, have the right to ask questions and demand documentation to prove the legitimacy of their customers’ transactions.
They also have the right to refuse any transaction and decline to do business with (including closing the accounts of) any customer they suspect of engaging in unlawful activity including corruption, fraud and tax evasion.
Information available, including the gagged finance inquiry, indicate that PNG currently loses between 25% and 50% of government budget directly to fraud.
All of these funds are laundered through the banking system at some point.
These losses are the very reason why PNG does not have the healthcare, education and public infrastructure that we deserve.
I make reference to advertisements placed in one of the daily newspapers a couple of months back, and ongoing daily TV ads on EMTV before and after the national news.
The advertisement, placed by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, is to raise awareness and inform the public about the existence of the Proceeds of Crime Act, and the obligations placed on the banks; and also serve as a warning to those involved in fraud and corruption.
Everyone using the banking system will be asked questions at some point about their transactions and should not come as a surprise.
This is being done to help minimise corruption.
To the writers (if they are not the same person), I would encourage them to contact ALAC on phone 340 3202 at Transparency International PNG and give any information you have on corrupt officials to be channelled to the appropriate authority.
The police fraud squad can only act on reports received from complainants and informants; and with their assistance.
Remember, all it takes for evil to flourish is when a good man does “nothing”.
That has been and is still PNG’s biggest problem, we see, we hear and we do nothing.
We must also remember that failing to report any wrong doing to appropriate authorities makes us no different from the person doing the wrong.
Let us stand up and resist the current that is silently sweeping PNG closer to the edge of destruction.
We are fortunate and live in the city having easy access to education, healthcare and other public infrastructure and enjoy the bright city lights.
Let’s take a moment and think about the conditions of schools, healthcare and public infrastructure in the rural areas, if there any left from the colonial era.
Imagine the experience the unfortunate majority of our relatives, wantoks and countrymen and women in the rural villages are going through.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost a number of my folks from curable diseases.
Let us all patriotic Papua New Guineans be considerate and cooperate with the banks.

Anti-corruption 4 life
Port Moresby