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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Corruption erodes State integrity and undermines democracy: The writings are on the wall



Commentary by Peter Solo Kinjap

PAPUA New Guinea has a long history of corruption being reported with previous governments yet little was done to expose, being investigated and prosecuted while more is pending investigation and unchallenged to date. In 2009, the Ombudsman Commission, Transparency International and other stakeholders have worked on a call into “commission of inquiry” for a massive corruption defraud to the value of more than K780million within the Finance and Treasury Department at the Vulupidi Haus.  This was during the Somare regime that got the heat of things to destroy his government, and the alternative government was formed when the country was in much applause to welcome, in a relief the new government under Peter O’Neill and Belden Namah which promised to expose corruption and bring to justice those found guilty.
 After discrediting the Somare regime to be in power for only few months, the O’Neill-Namah government went to the polls in 2012, with the political marriage between Namah and O’Neill in seemingly shaking waters over issues only known to them.
 In the races, Peter O’Neill managed to master the numbers required with his PNC party to form the newly-wanted government to expose corruption; marching into Parliament - immediately establishing a special anti-corruption body – Investigation Task Force Sweep Team. In the Parliament, Belden Namah, the only opposition MP being left alone teamed up with Dr Allan Marat and Sam Basil throwing some very serious corruption related questions. One of the questions was the Paul Paraka Legal Service Bills whom Belden Namah produced evidence in the floor of Parliament with his question. Only after Namah fired those questions, the saga came into media trial and public scrutiny of another massive corruption deals valuing to more than K102 million. Investigation Task Force Sweep Team was confident that they had more than enough evidences and continue the charges against those involved. This lead to the arrest of the principal of Paul Paraka Lawyers Mr. Paul Paraka who is now out on bail. 
 As was anticipated when first establishing the Investigation Task-Force Sweep Team, it had already prosecuted couple of corruption cases. According to Chairman Sam Koim there is more corruption cases with concrete evidence pending to run trial.  
 All in all, PNG loses more than K200-million in the hands of corruption every year.
 Whilst the PNG’s National Anti-Corruption Fraud Directorate seemingly the only surviving entity struggling to fight the corruption of cases involving millions of Kina, the country urgently needs the intervention of Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Interpol support during this time.
 In recent drama of things, the call by two former Prime Ministers, the Opposition, the University Students backed by the UPNG Academic Staff Association, Civil Society Anti-corruption Movement and thousands of individual Papua New Guineans calling the Prime Minister to step down is long overdue.
 Since the warrant of arrest was served to the PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in June 2014, several attempts have been made to delay the processes, and is still continuing. Delay tactics have been played by the O’Neill-Dion Government, testing all waters where possible could delay or perhaps done away with the investigations.  
 Such ‘dictatorship’ behaviors, attitudes and conducts of the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Police Commissioner Gari Baki and other cronies who are playing a role to delay or defer the arrests and investigations are of great concern to the people of Papua New Guinea. And this is the very reason why the country’s two largest university students have taken a stand to protest and call for the Prime Minister step aside. The O’Neill move to delay justice is getting narrower and closer each time, with a peaceful petition from the university students and the people of PNG to step down and allowing investigations to continue.
 Despite the numerous calls and the university students boycotting classes, Peter O'Neill sees fit to continue hold the higher office. He instead calling on the students to return to classes and that he will not step down. The students’ concern is for O'Neill to step down as to keep the integrity of the office of the Prime Minister as he was being implicated in a corruption charge and allow corruption investigations to continue.  
O’Neill is fighting a losing battle – he knows he is losing because he has no reasonable answers for the following serious of questions.   
Why the newly established Investigation Task Force Sweep was disbanded when it was primarily setup to expose corruption? Why is O’Neill going to the media to argue his case and trying to avoid the courts? Why did the Police Commissioner Garry Baki setup a “vetting committee” to screen all the high profile fraud cases? Is this another red-tape to the delay the justice process? Will the current corruption charges against Peter O’Neill be the first one to test the screening process through this newly formed committee?

The End///.,……………………….. Photo
1)    Peter O’Neill – Prime Minister

2)    Police Commissioner – Garry Baki

3)    Sam Koim – ITFS Chairman

4)    University students – Port Moresby

5)    Paul Paraka – Paul Paraka Lawyers 

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 9:06 PM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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