5 May 2008

PNG's PM asked to take action against corruption

5:43 am on 5 May 2008

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, is being asked to take responsibility for the corruption and poor governance issues dogging all government agencies in PNG.

The Auditor General, George Sulliman, has reported that records are not being kept, huge sums of money have been misappropriated and there is no control exerted by the Department of Finance.

Transparency International's PNG secretary, Richard Kassman, says the report vindicates what they and other bodies have been saying for years.

He says the Prime Minister and his Cabinet need to lead the way in ensuring that systems are properly followed.

"The Prime Minister must take ownership at very senior level and ensure, and discipline his Ministers accordingly, and then they discipline their departmental heads accordingly. The systems are there and the people know what to do, but now you have come through where the corruption is systemic and systematic."

Late last month the Prime Minister shut down a commission of inquiry into corruption within the Department of Finance, but re-instituted it four days later, following a public outcry.