PAUL Kaita, is in his 40s, a typical Koiari man, short and sturdy. There is really nothing eye-catching about him.
In the small conference room at the Transparency International (PNG) office yesterday, he passed for another guest, except when he spoke of why he was in Port Moresby.
Mr Kaita spent two days and two nights in the mountains of Central province on his way to Port Moresby. He had come in search of answers as to why, after almost two years and an K8 million allocation for the road between his Pilitu ward one council area in Tapini and Port Moresby, yet there was still no road link.
In fact, there was nothing on the ground to show for the huge amounts of money that had been drawn from the district’s account for projects in the area, Mr Kaita said.
His people’s plight are similar to that of more than 80% of our people in the rural areas and showed just why we are worse off now than we were last year, on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, according to TIPNG.
Mr Kaita was not invited to the event yesterday. He was at TIPNG to follow up on letters he had sent speaking out on these issues, however, used the opportunity to highlight how corruption was denying his people of their right to basic government services.
“This K8 million is missing in one part of the country,” TIPNG chairman Peter Aitsi said.
“Calculate this by how many districts and imagine just how much has been lost,” he said.
There was also fear among TIPNG and its sister organisations of the level of corruption PNG was likely to fall into when the LNG and other projects of similar magnitude started.
Mr Aitsi said “if we are able to fare like this with the little money we have, how much worse off will we be when the LNG project and others of similar magnitude start”.
What was needed to ensure PNG did not fall deeper into this corruption abyss was a strong will by Government to tackle corruption at all fronts.
“There is a need for our Government to get serious in fighting corruption and protecting public interest and resources. Now that the Government has passed the 2010 Budget, it must protect the budget by demonstrating genuine commitment through rebuilding and enhancing of governance systems, enforcing and upholding its mandated processes,” Mr Aitsi said.
Internationally, PNG was ranked among the 130 most corrupt countries in the world with scores below five on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) 10
(perceived to have low levels of corruption) with no real indication of improvement in governance.
PNG’s score of 2.1 was virtually changed since 2006 when it rose to 2.4.