PNG MP facing corruption charges
A Papua New Guinea MP has been arrested and faces charges of false pretences and corruption.
15 Papua New Guinea MPs are under investigation for white collar crimes, including official corruption.
The Post Courier newspaper reports the investigation is into misappropriation, conspiracy, false pretences and fraud.
The PNG National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate has only named one MP, John Simon, who is charged with two counts of false pretences and 38 counts of official corruption.
The spokesperson for Transparency International PNG, Lawrence Stephens, told Don Wiseman that the Directorate is continuing to do its work, without fear or favour, is fantastic.
LAWRENCE STEPHENS: It appears that the job is being done without fear or favour and that people who appear to have offended under various criminal offensive categories are being held accountable, the fact that there's been another arrest is fantastic, that is important, this gives an opportunity for the individual to prove his innocence but it also gives authorities an opportunity to see that we are not sitting around and allowing people to get away with whatever they wish to get away with.
DON WISEMAN: The Directorates been under a fair bit of pressure this year, it's faced several battles hasn't it, with the people right at the top of the government. I guess there must be some concern this process may not get a chance to follow through.
LS: Hopefully the process will follow through. We have had assurances from the prime minister and ministers that there's a serious commitment to combatting corruption in Papua New Guinea. We have not just a local reputation to maintain the reputation of government to its own people, but there's a international reputation that needs to be clawed back and let's face it, our reputation has not been as high as we would have liked to have seen it. But we would hope that no one would get in the way of legitimate investigations and our assumption is, if there are more attempts to undermine investigations, there will be a fairly loud public outcry.
DW: There's already one MP doing time in jail, two others possibly on their way there, and amongst this group here, there could be I guess a whole lot more. Do you think that message about white collar crime is starting to filter through to the general populous?
LS: This is what we believe is happening Don, people are starting to see that there are consequences for corrupt activity. People are now seeing more clearly that there are consequences and what we feel has probably happened is that people have hopped into the bad habit of thinking that because there were no consequences that we could see in the past, very often, that these things were being condoned and there was no reason not to help yourself. Now we are getting the message saying it's wrong and that's important both for the public but also to the officials who are being caught up in these investigations. They need to understand that there are consequences.
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