PNG party promises swift action against corrupt leaders

7:49 pm on 26 May 2017
Papua New Guinea MP Sam Basil.

Papua New Guinea MP Sam Basil. Photo: Supplied

The leader of one of Papua New Guinea's main opposition parties says that if it forms government, it will look to have corrupt leaders prosecuted within 100 days.

Sam Basil said a Pangu Party-led government would ensure that all outstanding cases against leaders, both at the parliamentary and bureaucratic level, were dealt with.

The Post Courier reports Mr Basil saying that corruption cases would be pursued vigorously and some leaders may face jail time if he was part of the government after next month's election.

The Bulolo MP has been a persistent critic of what he says is a lack of government action to root out corruption entrenched in public office in PNG.

He said Pangu would legislate an Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Currently, Pangu has two MPs in the 111-seat parliament.

"When we get into power and we find out where we are, we will announce our 100 days. Our 100 days will be very harsh," Mr Basil said.

"I don't have the right to send people to jail, but what I mean is that we will make sure that everyone who has cases will have to answer for them."

Meanwhile, Mr Basil said the Peter O'Neill-led government's borrowing habits had created a massive debt which the country was struggling to service.

But Mr O'Neill has declared that the latest B2 credit rating by the ratings agency, Moody's, shows that PNG's economy is being well managed.

"The Government has worked tirelessly, since the ratings downgrade two years ago in April 2015, to address the challenges the country faces, and we have maintained economic stability," he said.

Mr O'Neill said the extractive sector remaind attractive to investors and was a key driver of the economy with several significant projects expected to come into operation in the short term.

He also emphasised that should his People's National Congress party return to power, it would focus on public finance management reforms.

"We will consolidate reforms to restore a more sustainable fiscal position by addressing some of the pressing issues around revenue generation, public expenditure and debt sustainability."

According to Mr Basil, due to the government's mishandling of the economy, PNG's real level of debt is not transparent.

"We have to make sure that we know how many loans we have, because we do not really know now. We are guessing K45 billion."