To mark the International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, government departments, private sector, the media, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and development partners have gathered to share initiatives in addressing corruption in the country.
With the support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the discussions were led by the Department of Finance, Ombudsman Commission of PNG and Transparency International in PNG. Other panelists were from the PNG Law Society, Business Council of PNG, PNG Insitute of National Affairs and other stakeholders.
The partnership dialogue is to strengthen the stakeholders working on anti-corruption and align their acitivites. This will encourage citizens and organisations to identify and report individuals seen to practice abuse of trust for indivual benefits. Part of the successful initiatives to be shared is the ‘Phones Against Corruption’ (P@C) initiative between the Department of Finance and UNDP which started in 2016 that is now expanded to more government departments and over 10 provinces.
According to the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, Papua New Guinea is ranked 135/180, among the countries with high rates of corruption.
Michael Dick, Chief Ombudsman Commissioner, in his remarks said: “PNG is often ridiculed as a country with high levels of corruption. This is shameful. If corruption is to be minimised to some extent, for the slant, every person in a responsible position must have the courage to say no to corruption.
“Corruption cannot just go away by itself, we have to stop practicing it.”
With the continuous effort on anti-corruption, activities derived from the discussions will help further strengthen governance and procurement systems in the government departments and the private sector and NGOs. The 2018 theme for International Anti-Corruption Day is the continuation from 2017; “United Against Corruption” which recognises that transparency, accountability and anti-corruption are important for promoting peace, security and sustainable development.
Tracy Vienings, UNDP Resident Representative, said: “Corruption affects the country’s development process, especially for the women, children and the most vulnerable segment of the society. PNG has some very important development goals including the Sustainable Development Goals, unless all parties commit to eradicate corruption, those goals will not be met.”
Tom Tiki, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Internal Audit & Compliance Division, Department of Finance said: “The P@C is an innovative way to expose and combat corruption by using text messaging systems (SMS) on mobile phones for free and anonymous. This program has shown to be effective in enhancing good governance through citizen participation and Government Support.”