Corruption seems unstoppable


THE majority of those who enter politics in this era do so in the name of becoming millionaires overnight or to get rich quickly.
That is regardless of whether the MP, prime minister or opposition leader claims to be a leader abiding by Christian principles.
Political corruption is the manipulation of policies, institutions and rules of procedure by political decision-makers who abuse their position for private gain.
This takes the form of gross conflicts of interest, whereby politicians and their families, cronies or campaign managers hold substantial business interests in the MPs’ dealings.
They award contracts to family members or those they know with inflated contracts.
They appoint political cronies to the executive positions and departmental heads regardless of their potentials to serve their interests.
In those processes, they do not only subvert the objectives of the public procurement system but they contribute to the near-destruction of the key law enforcement agencies responsible for investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of corruption as well.
That means our politicians continue to use their parliamentary privileges to implement a variety of unethical and corrupt strategies to prey on the weak system and master by hook or crook to raid the public purse in millions every year.
PNG politics is run by corruption and money-hungry politicians who want to become overnight millionaires.
In doing so, they betray the common man, abusing millions of funds and treating them as sheep.
Many of such politicians abuse the legal procedures and processes.
Today, we have politicians who, by constitutional protection, cannot be arrested and prosecuted for corruption no matter how much they plunder the country.
Failing to indict a corrupt PNG politician sends the message that those in power are immune to the country’s law.
The reality is that we hardly see corrupt politicians defending a nation from corruption if they are not held accountable. As a result, fighting for justice against corruption in PNG is never easy because corruption has won and justice has lost.
The recent passing of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act by politicians will never work.
That is because corruption in the country is associated with those in authority who can manipulate government systems.
For instance, during the peak of the recent political power struggle, Government ministers verbally attacked those in the Opposition for the abuse and misuse of public funds only to hear them saying “I am innocent until proven guilty” or “I am unaware of any wrongdoing” or “All the others are guilty as I am, so why am I being singled out?”
Those are the same old excuses they use.
We know what they do to evade prosecution, it’s rather easy.
They just walk back to the Government side to be the ruling coalition so that they can avoid scrutiny.
In a laymen’s view, politicians are allowed to get away with crimes.
The common indicators of political corruption in any developing nation, including PNG are a pathetic business environment, poor tourism attraction, high unemployment, increase in law and order issues, poor quality of education and investors, poor infrastructures, low quality of public service and others.
It appears that corruption is unstoppable.
It devours resources that could be devoted to the citizens.
It impedes good service delivery, protects the bad and penalises the honest and capable.
Corruption in this era is clearly visible unlike in the 70s and 80s.
Today, politicians are taking advantage of their authority and grey areas in our system to prey on the underprivileged.
The corrupt seem to be proud of themselves as they make millions in a short time.
That is why politics in the Highlands is very volatile and a high risk game played only by millionaires.

Ken Nandawa,
Political Adviser,
People’s Republic of Rau’areke

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