14 Nov 2003

PNG foreign minister slams corrupt immigration officials

10:31 am on 14 November 2003

The Foreign Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, says people smuggling syndicates have used PNG to smuggle aliens into Australia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand in recent years.

Sir Rabbie told parliament this week that a special investigation showed corrupt PNG immigration officials had sold PNG passports to syndicates smuggling foreigners into other countries.

Sir Rabbie said the 2002 probe confirmed there had been "rampant" corruption in PNG's Department of Foreign Affairs, and uncovered a range of abuses of PNG's passport, visa, citizenship and labour laws.

He told Parliament that the report confirmed abuse for personal gain and that this was totally uncontrolled by the Department.

Sir Rabbie says officers at all levels in the department, from senior management to the lower rank and file migration officers, had all been parties to the scandal.

The probe found more than 52 cases of the irregular issuing of passports to foreigners who would otherwise have been refused entry to countries such as Australia.