24 May 2007

Highlands governor Smith Kela urges push to fight corruption

5:42 pm on 24 May 2007

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Eastern Highlands province, Malcolm Smith Kela, wants to see a substantial amount of the annual budget set aside to counter corruption.

This comes amid rising concern at the extent of corruption in the public service.

Mr Smith Kela claims that about a billion kina, or 350 million US dollars, is going missing annually.

He is standing again and says if he gets power he will probably push for ten percent of the budget to be constitutionally set aside for the ombudsman's office and police and the other accountability bodies.

"Because right now the public servants who control the budget put no money into [these agencies] or a minimal amount of money so that they know that whatever they decide to do to steal money, they get away scot free because there is no method of checking or following it up or tracking it down."

Malcolm Smith Kela, the governor of PNG's Eastern Highlands province