ICAC in PNG a good first step says watchdog group
Transparency PNG says much still to do to ensure the country can fight against systemic corruption.
The Papua New Guinea Parliament passed legislation to establish an anti-corruption commission.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption bill was passed with a vote 91 to zero last month.
The Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, says the government has cleared the first hurdle in setting up an anti-corruption body but Transparency PNG's Lawrence Stephens says there is still a lot to do.
PETER O'NEILL: The trouble with ICACs generally is they work in a situation where you have general, good governance and one of the problems that we face is that our governance levels are not yet good. So we need to do a lot of work to improve our system generally and ICAC is one part of that. Part of something that Transparency International PNG has been involved over the years. But it also involves improving the police, the various other arms that are involved in making sure that corruption is curtailed.
DON WISEMAN: There's been a lot of talk about that, about improving the police and a lot of talk, generally, about dealing with corruption. But are efforts being made in other areas in this way to change the governance.
PO: We are hearing of efforts. We're hearing of work being done in the police force itself. In fact, Transparency is in touch with people in the police and other institutions working to improve the situation. But, we also have a lot of challenges and a long way to go.
DW: So, what else can be done? I guess to a certain extent it's not something that's entirely up to government is it? What else can be done to change these attitudes.
PO: You mentioned attitudes Don and that's a big part of it. Part of changing attitudes is to have people realise that if they become involved in corrupt actions they can in fact get arrested, be prosecuted, and end up in jail. That's important part of changing attitudes. Another one is working on people, for example as we do, the schools, the churches and other places, to encourage them to see the rationale behind fighting back against corruption. That's a much longer, more difficult task. It needs to go hand-in-hand with a system which condemns corruption and actively prosecutes people involved in it.
DW: Do you feel like you're making progress?
PO: There are days when you feel like you're not making progress. But, by and large the answer has to be 'yes'. Just last week in Lae, the huge number from my point of view, of people coming through an exhibition that was on there. All sorts of people interested in, concerned about, coming in to talk to us about their concerns, and then visits to places like the headquarters of one of the churches, and listen to their concerns. No, we feel as if we are making progress. We're doing a whole lot of work but we keep saying there's much more to be done.
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