Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Australia to restrict visas to PNG citizens alleged to be corrupt

Australia to restrict visas to PNG citizens alleged to be corrupt

November 3, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

ABC Radio Australia

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister says he has been informed by the Australian government that Australia will no longer issue visas to PNG citizens who are alleged to have bought properties or invested in Australia using money gained through corrupt means.

Peter O’Neill was speaking in response to reports that politicians and citizens in PNG are investing misappropriated public funds in Australia.

Presenter: Firmin Nanol

Speaker: PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Environment and Conservation Minister John Pundari

NANOL: Mr O’Neill says he’s received information from Canberra that Australia will no longer issue visas to Papua New Guinean politicians, bureaucrats or individuals who are found to be investing in Australia using the proceeds of corruption.

The PM says the advice demonstrates Australia’s commitment to helping his government tackle the theft of public funds, which would otherwise be spent on infrastructure, health and education services in PNG.

O’NEILL: They’re now starting to stop issuing visas to them, and I think some of our leaders have already been affected by that. That information was given to me basically because the Australian government wanted to highlight that they are taking this position. I think it’s about time some of our leaders and our corrupt citizens who park money down there deserve to be not welcome to that country. Hopefully our agencies, including the taskforce, the national fraud squad, all the other government agencies will work with Australian agencies in addressing some of these issues.

NANOL: This follows calls made in parliament last week by the Environment and Conservation Minister John Pundari, urging Australian authorities to help the government-appointed anti-corruption investigation team, or Task Force Sweep, to investigate reports that corruptly acquired funds are ending up in Australian property and investments.

Mr Pundari had accused the government of preaching about fighting corruption, but doing little in terms of actually tackling it.

Mr Pundari says it’s in both countries’ best interest to ensure public funds in particular are protected, and that any suspected misuse is fully investigated and the funds repatriated back to PNG.

PUNDARI: Mr Acting Speaker it is my humble plea with sincerity and respect to the Australian government, instead of hiding behind the laws to say that they’ve got protection laws of individuals, while there is a serious issue in our country confronting us, surely we can find a way out to ensuring that our people’s resources, Treasury, plundered maybe, can be rightly returned.

NANOL: Mr Pundari’s comments are echoed by the chair of Task Force Sweep, Sam Koim, who has called Australia the “Cayman Islands” of Papua New Guinea.

Last month Mr Koim told a meeting at the Australian Transactions and Analysis Centre in Sydney that corruptly acquired funds were being invested in Australian banks, casinos and real estate.

He’s also accused senior PNG officials of taking part in this activity, alleging that six PNG politicians have bought properties in North and Central Cairns worth more than 11 million Australian dollars.

In parliament this week the MP for Komo-Magarima, Francis Potape, challenged the Prime Minister to stand by the Task Force.

Mr Potape said there were grounds for concern for the Task Force, amid reports that individuals targeted for investigation might push for it to be abolished.

Mr O’Neill says the Task Force will continue, and Mr Koim will remain in charge of it until an anti-corruption agency is established.

Prime Minister O’Neill has also assured parliament that funds will be allocated in next year’s national budget, due to be handed down later this month, to fund Task Force Sweep investigations and prosecutions, including those relating to illegal investments in Australia.

Separately, Mr O’Neill also told parliament his government will review the engagement of senior Australian public servants and experts working in senior government roles in his country.

This was in response to a claim from Madang Governor, Jim Kas, who claimed in parliament that Australians working with government agencies in PNG are engaged in spying on PNG.

O’NEILL: There are some sensitive positions that we need to protect for our national interest and security. It does not mean that the Australians are spying on us, in some departments they’re there to help us build capacity. We welcome that support, but we need to review it for our own integrity. I think later in the month of November I think the Foreign Minister of Australia is leading that delegation up to PNG where this will be reviewed as part of the development assistance program that they have with our country.

NANOL: Mr O’Neill says the review will be carried out as part of the next PNG-Australia Ministerial Forum later this month.

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  1. Sibona Aihi
    November 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    About time. Perhaps the Aust government should start with Justin the horrible minister for Sport. He seems to have become a multi-millionaire overnight from the days when he first arrived in the country from Melbourne to work for the NCD. And can Australia help PNG deal with corrupt Australians living and operating in PNG like Frank Donald Mills of the Royal Papua Yacht Club who does not pay taxes in PNG but enters on a multiple business entry visa to do business? He also claims to not be a resident of Australia. So where exactly does he live? He avoids paying the GST yet he gets contracts to earn money in PNG.

  2. JUDY
    November 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Am I reading this for real…I hope all that is said in this write up is carried out and into every detail.MR PO and his government must flow with what they put out in the newspapers and on TV both in PNG and in Australia.Yes so many small ministers have become FAT CATS over the years by handling and receiving brown papers and stolen so much for themselves and bought huge big properties in Australia.It is about time that their thieving comes to light.So much money has been taken out off PNG for the miserable life,or low of some politicitions over the years..brought up their families on stolen money..shame on them.No gat Same Blong Ol..low life!

  3. December 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I hope the Australian govt goes through with this plan and strictly monitors it.

  4. March 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    To attract more applicants, the government even boasts of its statistics that confirm almost nine out ten skilled independent visa holders gain employment within the first 6 months. Applicants are assessed by way of a point system. They will be rated based on certain categories.

    australian visa application

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