BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
PAPUA New Guinea is rated among the most corrupt countries in the world, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) director Richard Kassman said yesterday.
The latest ranking of 180 countries, starting with the least corrupt, listed was PNG at 151, Mr Kassman said at the launch of TI global corruption report at the National Research Institute in Port Moresby.
He said the Government must put its foot down to address corruption as a matter of urgency.
This had to be done because of temptations to circumvent rules, regulation and proper processes necessary to ensure accountability and transparency, Mr Kassman said.
“Papua New Guinea must resist this temptation,” he said.
“To do otherwise, may give the impression that Papua New Guinea is a country that is up for sale.”
Mr Kassman raised this concern as PNG was standing before an imminent economic boom.
Some economic pundits have said that when gas projects at Hides, Elk and Antelope and Pandora are in motion, “PNG can see gross earnings of approximately K100 billion”.
Mr Kassman said in terms of opportunity, it was exciting, but from the perspective of corruption and poor governance, it was terrifying.
He said that since 2001, the global corruption annual reports had offered an insight into the state of corruption around the world. Mr Kassman said that since 2006, TIPNG had been a part of this publication where leading experts and practitioners analyse current issues, identify new challenges and explore solutions in the field of corruption.
This year’s report focused on corruption in the private sector while previous editions had analysed corruption in the health sector (2006) judiciary in 2007 and in the water sector in 2008.
Mr Kassman said the report was a tool for all stakeholders in the fight against corruption.
“We, in PNG, know too well the scourge of corruption that is endemic, almost to epidemic proportions and is systemic and fast becoming systematic,” he said.
He said that corruption was real and appeared to operate within an environment of sad impunity and that no one was afraid.
“There is simply no dis-incentive to engage in corrupt practices,” he said.
“It is truly every one’s business to get involved in the fight against corruption.
“Let us make a commitment to be part of the solution and not the problem.”