PNG: doubts corruption commission will gain govt traction

10:43 am on 23 August 2017

A Papua New Guinea writer said he doubts whether the re-elected Peter O'Neill-led government would create an Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'Neill

Peter O'Neill Photo: Supplied

After winning re-election this month, albeit with a smaller majority, the government listed 'fighting corruption' as one of its priorities.

But the author Francis Nii doubts there was enough political will to move legislation to create an independent anti-corruption body, given several senior government ministers are subject to serious fraud allegations.

According to Mr Nii, the government had ample opportunity during the last parliament to establish the Commission when it enjoyed the absolute majority required to pass such legislation.

"But Peter O'Neill and his members in the last parliament deliberately delayed it until the election. They're trying to introduce the ICAC bill again in this parliament. I don't think it will go through because the current government does not have the numerical strength," he said.

Mr Nii believes more MPs from the ruling party would have lost their seats if the recent election had been free and fair.

The People's National Congress retained power, but lost around half of the roughly 56 MPs it went into the polls with.

The Chimbu-based author said corruption was a major concern for voters heading into polling in June, and said they tended to vote out sitting MPs accordingly.

But he claims that in a number of seats the conduct of the election, from polling to vote counting, was geared to helping the PNC.

"So in most areas where PNC candidates won the election, you would have found that the number of votes that the winners mastered is very high compared to the eligible voters, so that speaks a lot about the process of elections."

Overall 55 sitting MPs lost their seats, 50 percent of the 110 electorates declared so far. Due to violence-hampered vote count, there has been a delay in declaring the last result, the Southern Highlands regional seat.

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