25 May 2006

Watchdog says stamping out corruption in PNG dependent on leadership from Prime Minister

8:31 pm on 25 May 2006

Transparency International says if the commission of inquiry into corruption in the Papua New Guinea Department of Finance is to have a positive impact, it is up to the Prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, to lead a culture change.

Sir Michael called for the inquiry last week amid allegations that spurious claims on public money have been paid by officials in the Department, without oversight, at a cost to the taxpayer of millions of kina every year for a number of years.

TI's spokesman, Mike Manning, says there have been inquiries before but the practices have not stopped, and won't until the politicians institute a culture that rejects corruption.

"It has to come from the Prime Minister downwards. If the Prime Minister is consistently against corruption, if he is seriously wants to make sure that the people who are implicated in these things are punished properly, I'm sure it can happen, but there does not seem to be a long term political resolve and these things do not get cured overnight."