Minister stresses on whistleblowers' legislation

There is no protection for members of the public or junior officers within departments, the rank and file within the disciplinary forces or private sector, who wish to fight corruption.

That protection must now be given through the whistleblowers’ legislation, says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Davis Steven.

Papua New Guinea’s rating on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) that is revealed yearly by Transparency International PNG has not improved much in recent years.

Corruption is rife but while efforts are being made to improve our CPI rating, people with information or whistle blowers must be protected.

A whistleblowers legislation has been certified by the State Solicitor, which the Attorney General intends to introduce soon after it goes to the National Executive Council.

“Our intention is to introduce that legislation immediately in the next sitting of parliament. If all the procedures are complied with,” said Minister Steven.

“I think it is very important the whistleblowers legislation goes before the ICAC. Our people must appreciate that in order that our fight against corruption and our efforts to bring the law and order situation under control, there are a lot of protection and activities that need to occur.”

Many of which has to do with government institutions within the law and justice sector, from police to prosecution, courts and the Correctional Service.

“But in order for us to act now, we want to ensure that the pathway between the ones who have the information about the crime and where he wants to report is protected. That’s where the whistleblowers legislation will come in.”

The Attorney General also said while change may not take place overnight in improving PNG’s rating, a paradigm shift is needed.

“I want to assure our country that from this time onwards, all our legislations, including this particular legislation (whistleblowers) will be placed on our department’s website for public consumption for public to scrutinise the legislation. And we are open to feedback from our communities, and especially NGOs who are interested to helping us improve our efforts in fighting crime.

“I am appealing to NGOs like Transparency International, to come forward and help us because TIPNG has been very vocal, we thank them for it; I want them now to step forward and help us, tell us where we need to go.”

(Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Davis Steven)

Sally Pokiton