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Posts Tagged ‘ICAC’

Petition calls for ICAC within 100 days

July 27, 2017 1 comment

Source: ACT NOW!

Community advocacy group ACT NOW! has launched a petition calling on newly elected MPs to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption within 100 days.

“Everyone knows corruption is a massive problem in Papua New Guinea”, says Campaign Coordinator, Eddie Tanago. “People are dying unnecessarily every day because of the rampant stealing and the mismanagement it causes.”

ACT NOW! says well resourced, permanent and politically independent, Commission Against Corruption [ICAC] is desperately needed.

“This new petition is urging our newly elected MPs to take responsibility and do something effective by immediately establishing an ICAC,” says Mr Tanago.

ACT NOW! says the 100 day timetable is achievable as all the legislation needed for an ICAC has already been drafted and the necessary Constitutional amendment was passed by Parliament in 2016.

It has been estimated as much as 50% of the government’s annual development budget is stolen every yearand police have said K1.5 billion went missing in 2016 alone.2 PNG is ranked in the bottom 20% of all countries for corruption by Transparency International.3

“The consequences of this corruption are dire. Vital health and education services starved of money and mismanagement and abuse further impede service delivery. Then there are all the illegal land deals that keep happening and illegal logging”, says Mr Tanago.

“Existing anti-corruption mechanisms have proven to be ineffective and a new body with full powers of investigation and prosecution is urgently needed”.

“In 2012, the incoming government promised to establish an ICAC as a major step in the fight against corruption. But over the next five-years it failed to fulfil that promise. Our new MPs must ensure they do better”.

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Corrosive culture of corruption

June 20, 2017 3 comments

Source: Kessy Sawang, The Papua New Guinea Woman 

Sir Mekere, our former Prime Minister, likened corruption to cancer, presumably the malignant type. Sam Koim, former head of Task Force Sweep, described the rising tide of corruption using the boiling frog tale – descriptive but a parable nonetheless as it is scientifically incorrect. But if we focus on the point being made, which is that unless we are alert to the slow and gradual threat of diminishing governance and the growing scale of corruption these can go unnoticed and become accepted as the new norm threatening democracy and our country’s development.

These concerns seem apt when we consider the performance of the last term of Parliament and the Executive Government. The O’Neill Government swept into power on a wave of optimism and promises that it would tackle the problem of corruption and restore good governance. The Alotau Accord captured the commitments made by O’Neill’s Government to the people of PNG of the initiatives it would undertake. There were pledges to “continuing the fight against Corruption by proper funding and institutionalization of the inter-agency committee against corruption in particularly Task Force Sweep. Further, the Government will introduce the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Bill.” O’Neill has failed to table the ICAC law in Parliament.

There were also promises to “review the powers, roles and responsibilities of the Ombudsman Commission” as well as to abolish the Department of Personnel Management and to restructure the “Public Service Commission … [by giving it] the Constitutional powers and responsibility to oversee the efficiency of the public service.” There was also to be a shakeup of sub-national governance with “the transfers of powers of appointment of Provincial Administrators to the Provincial Executive Council“. All these have not been done and indeed the O’Neill Government has gone in the reverse direction.

Corruption is the abuse of public office for private gain. Corruption should not only be thought of willful abuse but also if one is aware of it and does nothing to bring it to the attention of appropriate authorities then there is a crime of complicity. It has been a sad trait that the more stakeholders like the private sector especially has not done more to play a more active and stronger coordinated collective role in demanding better public governance.

There are many forms of governance and this article is focused on public governance, which relates to how power and authority is distributed amongst different agents, the processes and mechanisms through which these are exercised and how the rules are enforced. Good governance is an imprecisely defined term but can be thought of as being secured when good development outcomes are achieved with adherence to key principles of voice, accountability, fairness, legitimacy, participation and rule of law. Rule of law is the principle that all institutions and people are subject to and accountable to law, which must be fairly and equally applied or enforced.

The manner in which O’Neill first took the office of the Prime Minister was not legitimate – one of the three arms of Government, the judiciary declared this. This offence should not be lightly forgotten. It is ironic to see that the chief perpetrators of this siege on Executive Government in the last Parliament term are now rattling their sabers on opposing sides in the National General Elections.

By almost any measure there is fault with all governments. It isn’t an easy task pleasing all stakeholders and with this in mind we can restrict an assessment of the O’Neill Government’s governance performance in relation to promises it made itself and to conformance with our laws.

There are three key messages. The first is that the O’Neill Government has not fulfilled the promises it made in relation to good governance. The second takeaway message is that there has been a dismal performance in relation to compliance with rule of law and with legislation around financial governance. The third broad outcome is that there has been a profound erosion in the quality of governance and performance of our public institutions.

Parliamentarians are elected representatives of people but they are not beyond reproach nor are they above the law. Indeed as public officials they are subject to greater scrutiny and accountability, this is embedded in our Constitution through the Leadership Code. The application of the rule of law does not recognize your position only the person.

In the financial governance space, we have seen public debt ratio being willfully breached and then O’Neill and his party members boasting they will borrow more and indebt our nation more. Such taunts are based on fanciful claims it will be for infrastructure spending but we see suggestive evidence that the cost of road infrastructure is excessive, that the scale of infrastructure itself is not in the national interest and the net returns from the investments may be less than other infrastructure investment opportunities outside the capital city. Spending vast sums of money on contracts that raise doubts is hardly an euphemism for inclusive development and good governance.

We have seen the O’Neill Government claim that it has managed public finances well and made necessary adjustments to the budget in years of stress. However, these adjustments have been hidden both from the Parliament and our people until the end of the financial year. The release of regular reports on public finances have been delayed or avoided completely, despite requirements in our laws for this.

For instance, the practice of issuing quarterly reports on warrants, effectively the quarterly cashflow, has ceased. A pillar of good governance is transparency and O’Neill and his government has steadfastly refused to provide information. Our people have the right to demand accountability from our Government and from our public officials. We have a right to understand how scarce public funds are been allocated and spent. We have a right to know if these are extracting the maximum value for our people from these limited funds. We have right to demand accountability in relation to procurement and the award of contracts.

We have seen continued erosion in the quality of our public institutions. Our oversighting agencies continue to be deprived of required funding or legally disempowered and political patronage perhaps influences agency heads to flout their agency’s independence. We have seen the O’Neill Government make legislative changes that strip the Public Service Commission of its powers to ensure a merit-based appointment process and to transfer their powers  to a committee of Ministers. This politicization of the civil service is already working to erode the quality of our government institutions. For instance, the Bank of PNG an independent institution by law has breached its mandate by expanding the money supply by funding O’Neill’s budget by K1.8 billion in 2016 alone. Without this funding the Government would have stopped functioning if it had failed to adjust the budget. The Bank of PNG shockingly paid a dividend of K102 million in 2014 when it was technically bankrupt and this was done at the direction of O’Neill and his cabinet of ministers.

So what are pathways forward to combat the scourge of corruption? Let me share my good governance platform, which is summarized in the figure at the top of the page. The new Parliament should act decisively to institute various measures to rebuild our public institutions that can guard against any abuse of executive power. We need public institutions which are a bastion for integrity, professionalism and high standards of ethics so that fundamentally the country can rely on institutions to independently act to ensure good governance prevails. The powers of the Public Service Commission must be restored. We need laws to protect whistler-blowers that step forward to expose corruption and for freedom of information to be enacted. The Police Force must be free from political influence and the Ombudsman Commission must be supported with adequate funding and additional legal powers as required. The ICAC should be established or its proposed functions and powers should be embedded within an existing body like the Ombudsman Commission, if this is sensible.

It is time to consider an Unexplained Wealth Legislation where people that have wealth that is at variance with their declared income are required to justify it or face confiscation of those assets and prosecution under other laws. The new Government can demonstrate its commitment by allowing a phased introduction where this is applied to public leadership positions first.

Corporate governance of our public bodies needs to be strengthened. Requirements for directors of boards to satisfy strong fit and proper test must be satisfied and I want the removal of all legal provisions that allow Cabinet to be shadow directors. Statutory agency heads should be accountable solely to Boards of Directors, which should have the power to hire and fire them.

Public procurement needs to be reformed. The removal of certain public officials, like the State Solicitor, from the tenders board is necessary to avoid conflict of interests. I advocate that a probity auditor for procurement be established. This can be housed within another agency such as ICAC or as a new independent office. This function will ensure that disputes are promptly heard but also investigate any allegations of malfeasance or to simply verify costings are reasonable and robust.

I believe that fiscal transparency must be strengthened by publishing key details of major project including estimated rates of return, estimated and final project costs, contractor and its gender impact. We have seen too many reports of excessive legal costs and it is time to ensure that there is legal compliance of the engagement of lawyers for public purposes through a procurement process that results in panel selection of firms and ensures value for money.

The publicity of Parliamentarians on signage of public works or assets purchased with public funds and the deception that Parliamentarians alone deliver must stop. It is time for anti-signage provisions in law. Finally, Parliament, an important arm of government must be strengthened to provide oversight of executive government.

The challenge of curtailing the corrosive culture of corruption and instilling good governance is the ultimate leadership challenge. In the Alotau Accord the O’Neill Government promised that it would “be remembered … as the most decisive, action packed, transparent and accountable Government the nation has ever had”. Sadly, it seems the O’Neill Government will be remembered instead for the slow but devastating erosion in good governance and poor development outcomes.

Why an ICAC is needed, not another fruitless inquiry

March 10, 2017 1 comment

Source: ACT NOW! 

The Prime Minister’s announcement of an Administrative Inquiry into the Manumanu land deals and naval base relocation is just another exercise in covering up corruption and avoiding justice.

We have seen numerous lengthy and expensive Commission’s of Inquiry over the years but no action to address the corrupt behavior they uncover. It will be the same with the latest inquiry, whether it is termed as a Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Inquiry.

This is because such inquiries lack a crucial power – the power to take action against those revealed to be involved in corruption; instead all they can do is make recommendations, recommendations that, history tells us, usually get ignored.

Such inquiries are also flawed because their initial timeframes and budgets are often insufficient when they uncover so much wrongdoing. This leads to delays and sometimes the inquiries end up taking several years. They can also lack political independence, being appointed directly by the Prime Minister, and their reports can be hard to access.

This is why Papua New Guinea desperately needs a well-funded Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) with the power to immediately investigate and prosecute allegations of corrupt behaviour.

The Government of Peter O’Neil was elected in 2012 on a promise to combat corruption at all levels through the establishment of an ICAC. It has failed to deliver on that promise, and instead it continues to waste public funds on administrative inquiries whose recommendations are usually never implemented, and sometimes, not even published.

In 2013, the Commission of Inquiry into Special Agricultural Business Lease recommended forty unlawful leases be revoked, but those recommendations continue to be ignored. Crucially the Commission also failed to report on one-third of the leases investigated and failed to identify with clarity the government officers responsible for the unlawful land grab or recommend action against them.

In 2014, there was the Commission of Inquiry into Law Firm Brief Outs, that report has never been published.

Prior to that, a Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance found K 780 million in public funds had been stolen and recommended the prosecution of a list of 35 persons.  Almost none of those persons have been arrested or charged.

And whatever happened to the Commission of Inquiry into the Investment Corporation, Defence Force Retirement Fund and National Provident Fund? Where are those reports now and why has so little action been taken?

Corruption in this country is prevalent in all sectors of society and its impacts are far-reaching! Corrupt activities are not just carried out by public office holders. It is really a collaborative effort of individuals from elected officials, appointed public and constitutional office holders, clergymen, civil servants, foreign and local companies, business associates and even family members of these individuals!

It is for this reason a well-resourced, self-funded, Independent Commission Against Corruption with wide powers is needed to investigate and prosecute corrupt individuals – not another pointless inquiry.

Will Prime Minister O’Neill crumble before NEC opponents over Manumanu COI?

March 1, 2017 5 comments

pok-and-duma

When evidence was made public on 1 February this year, linking the State Enterprises Minister, Defence Minister and Chair of the Central Supply and Tender Board, to a major land swindle, Prime Minister O’Neill swiftly announced a Commission of Inquiry.  

He appeared to have his ducks lined up. The ABC reported just five days later that a retired judge was to be appointed head of the COI. 

Two names were thrown around in the social media, Warwick Andrews and Graham Ellis.

Odds are it was the latter who had been approached by O’Neill. 

After all, Ellis had previously been asked by the NEC to Chair the Interim Anti-Corruption Office. However, this appointment has been blocked by a court injunction, which wont be heard until April. 

This has left Ellis in limbo. Cue the role as head of the Commission of Inquiry.

However, evidence coming from within the NEC indicates that Minister for Public Services, Puka Temu, among others, have deep reservations over O’Neill’s choice.

If the appointment is Ellis, this makes sense.

When he was a National Court Judge from 1990-1992, and 2009-2011, he had a reputation for effectively clearing out case backlogs and swiftly getting the wheels of justice into gear. The Poreporena Freeway Commission of Inquiry he chaired in 1992 was completed within 8 weeks and under budget. He also Chaired a 1991 Leadership Tribunal that led to the famous resignation of Ted Diro.

For a Minister such as Puka Temu, whose own connections with William Duma’s sticky fingers, has been documented by the National Court – the news that a no-nonsense judge, with a reputation of being fiercely independent, may not have come as welcomed news. 

It is not clear how the struggle within NEC will turn out. But it stands to reason if the retired Judge already appointed to head the country’s premiere anti-corruption office is selected, it is a sign that substance has trumped expediency. On the other hand, if we see hands ruffle down to the bottom of the barrel, we can safely assume a certain Prime Minister is being held over it – and is prepared to set up a COI, that will be little more than a whitewash.

Has PM O’Neill appointed a fraudster to investigate the alleged Duma Fraud?

February 4, 2017 8 comments
lupari

Chief Sec Issac Lupari was condemned by the Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance for being the mastermind of a multimillion dollar fraud

This week we were reminded why PNG needs an impartial, independent and well-resourced corruption fighting force – as Minister William Duma attempted to deflect attention from evidence pointing to his involvement in two major land grabs, worth tens, if not, hundreds of millions.

Prime Minister O’Neill assures us, the matter will be thoroughly investigated by Police Commissioner, Gary Baki – a close ally of the PM – and wait for it, his Chief Secretary Issac Lupari.

We can reveal that the Chief Secretary Issac Lupari was condemned by the Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance for being the mastermind of a multimillion dollar fraud.

The Commission of Inquiry observed:

‘Mr. Issaac Lupari sued the State for breach of four separate contracts that were entered into as Secretary for the Departments of Finance, Defence, DPM and Transport in that order. He claimed that he had been unlawfully terminated from all those positions after serving short stints in each and claimed the balance of all pay and entitlements for the unexpired period of all four contracts’.

The Commission observes:

‘It will be clear from the evidence gathered so far that Mr. Lupari never suffered any loss of pay and entitlements, and was adequately remunerated by the State for the whole time that he claimed for and beyond’.

In summary the Commission of Inquiry found:

  • In 1997 Lupari was appointed Finance Secretary by Prime Minister Bill Skate, the mentor to our current PM, Mr O’Neill.
  • On 15 January 1998 he was sacked by the Skate government, but as fortune has it, the very same day he got the job of Defense Secretary.
  • On 17 March 2000 he was made Secretary for the Department of Personnel Management by the Morauta government, with a contracted end date of 29th of June 2000.
  • On the day his contract ended, Lupari was made Transport Secretary.
  • Nevertheless, Lupari claimed he was unlawfully dismissed as Secretary for the Department of Personnel Management.
  • His legal team was … Paul Paraka lawyers.
  • The Attorney General and Solicitor General settled the claim for a cool K1 million, which was paid by the Department of Finance on the 17 September 2004 by cheque No. 790468.
  • A further K2.7 million in settlements were agreed with Lupari, after he claimed he was also dismissed as Transport, Finance and Defense Secretary– the Commission was unable to find evidence of whether this money was paid.

The Commission concluded:

‘Mr. Isaac Lupari knew full well that his claims amounted to triple and quadruple dipping. Yet he went ahead and instructed his lawyers to file claims against the State in the National Court’.

‘Mr. Lupari was not entitled to the K3,703,461.31, either legally or morally. Paul Paraka lawyers engaged in deceptive conduct when filing Writs in the order they did’.

‘Paul Paraka Lawyers did not submit quantum submissions. Purported quantum submissions later produced to the Commission were fabricated after the Col summoned same from Mr. Guguna Garo of Paul Paraka Lawyers’.

‘Paul Paraka lawyers were paid K200,000.00 for each matter totaling K800,000 for doing a minimal amount of work. That work consisted only of drafting the four Writs of Summons. There were no appearances in Court and no protracted negotiations before agreement was reached to settle the four matters out of Court’.

Read the Commission report on Issac Lupari  (220KB)

So this is the honourable fellow who will now investigate the Duma allegations. The people of PNG will be forgiven for not holding much confidence in the process.

Which serves as a timely reminder, what happened to the Interim Office for Anti-Corruption which was to be headed by Judge Graham Ellis?

O’Neill disposed of Taskforce Sweep, and then aborted its replacement, seemingly in the dead of night when no one was looking.

If Lupari is now the moral barometer of anti-corruption investigations in PNG, god save us all.

Its time for O’Neill to implement the ICAC he promised, so an independent judicial authority, can scrutinize corruption.

The People of PNG must Rise up to face the Evil of Corruption

August 7, 2013 Leave a comment

By LUCAS KIAP on PNG BLOGS

Wake up Papua New Guineans; we are not living in an imagination paradise world any more. Corruption in this country is real, is serious and is eating deeply into development funds meant for providing the basic government services which the people are praying for every day.

There is no one else to blame for than the politicians we elect to serve us with honor, pride and dignity; bureaucrats that we entrust to managing government departments and institutions; public servants that are responsible for implementing government policies; and cohorts who often network with the key people in government positions – they all everyday work around the clock tirelessly – devising plans, mechanisms, policies, and platforms which can be effectively used to divert funds away from the real intentions and eventually ended up into their own pockets.

There is no joke about this. This is serious. Papua New Guineans, the better country that you want to live in will not be built by anyone else than the one that you built it by yourself.

Corruption is trapping millions in poverty. Corruption is allowing people from other countries to take up business and employment opportunities which supposed to be preserved for locals. Corruption is causing increase in law and order problems because funds which meant for this are diverted elsewhere. Corruption is responsible for substandard and poor quality infrastructures in the country, which often comes apart into a few years of operation.

Papua New Guineans, as long as the future of this country and the future of our children are concerned, we have a real problem threatening to deprive us of all the opportunities to a better life in this country, which has so much potential to develop and advance quickly.

However, if what the current government is doing to address corruption in this country is something that we all can embrace, then the government has more to do than just setting up the Investigative Task Force Sweep (ITFS) as the culprits who stole K1.4 billion are still at large.

The K1.4 billion, the figure which is estimated to be stolen as published in the mainstream media by the Chairman of the Investigative Task Force Sweep, Mr. Sam Koim is a very significant amount of money that can replace Australian Aid and subsequently all the goodies that our elected leaders preach about the recent Asylum Seekers deal, signed between the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and Australia.

The K1.4 billion is less than what is stolen from the people’s purse. This figure could be multiplied if all government departments are to be investigated including all state entities. The figure could also be multiplied further if all elected MPs are to be investigated of how they have used their district development grants over the years.

A true government that really cares for the people and love them will not shy away from investigating those public funds and prosecute all those responsible for stealing billions every year.  This raises a lot of questions about this government’s ability and willingness to address corruption by setting up the Investigative Task Force Sweep (ITFS) and also the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

If the intentions of this government to address corruption are real and without fear or favor then we are definitely waiting to see some of the prominent people and high profile politicians in the country to serve their time behind bars.

But if that is not fort coming then we the people of PNG have a lot to do to defend this country and our future from the imminent threat of corruption – threatening to erase our beautiful country off the world map.

Fighting corruption in PNG

July 15, 2013 1 comment

Sam Koim on the front line

By Grant Walton*. Islands Business

For those on the front line, fighting corruption in Papua New Guinea can be a dangerous occupation. It wasn’t that long ago that a former Ombudsman Commissioner was shot. Sam Koim, chairman of PNG’s anti-corruption coordinating body, Taskforce Sweep, knows all about the dangers that come with the job

In February this year, his office was ransacked. In a video footage of the aftermath, Koim looks down the camera lens in defiance; he asserts that the incident will not deter him or his team. The office of Taskforce Sweep was targeted because of its success. It has registered over 200 cases of corruption, and recovered over 68 million Kina (around A$32 million). This has meant Koim has become somewhat of a celebrity, sought by the media, researchers and policy makers. Despite his busy schedule, I managed to catch up with him while he was in Geelong for a symposium on PNG at Deakin University.

This blog post, based on our conversation, reports on Koim’s perceptions about corruption, the taskforce, new anti-corruption organisations, the challenges facing anti-corruption organisations, solutions and the road ahead.

Taskforce Sweep is a multi-agency taskforce that was established by the national government of PNG in August 2011. Initially set up to investigate allegations aimed at the Department of National Planning, the taskforce’s mandate was subsequently extended to cover other government departments. Koim told me the government recently agreed to support Taskforce Sweep until arrangements for a new anti-corruption institution are decided.

As outlined in PNG’s National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2010-2030, this new institution is likely to be an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Establishing an ICAC in PNG is not a new idea. In the late 1990s, a proposed Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption failed to win parliamentary support.

There is still concern about creating an ICAC in PNG: some fear it would suck resources from established anti-corruption organisations, such as the highly regarded but poorly resourced Ombudsman Commission. Koim was aware of these concerns, and acknowledged that any new anti-corruption institution could potentially ‘divert government attention away from existing agencies, or cause territorial conflicts [between agencies]’.

However, he was adamant that an ICAC could be effective if it was ‘appropriate for PNG’. This meant that any new institution should integrate into existing government systems and reflect local values. Koim warned against importing an ICAC model—such as those from New South Wales or Hong Kong—without considering the local context. To account for local complexities, he said that moves to install a new anti-corruption organisation must slowly evolve.

Asked to reflect on the initial achievements of Taskforce Sweep, he was modest, saying that he would leave it up to others to judge. But he was satisfied with the ‘amount of deterrents that are being created’. He noted that, ‘in the past, people would do anything and steal [with impunity]; but now they know that somebody’s looking over their shoulders’.

While Taskforce Sweep has recovered stolen money and has helped with the arrest of suspects, its conviction record is yet to be established. On this front, Koim hopes that he and others can learn from Indonesia’s anti-corruption commission, the Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK). Until recently the KPK had an impressive 100% conviction rate for corruption cases.

Australian media has quoted Koim as saying that half of PNG’s 7.6 billion kina development budget was lost to corruption between 2009 and 2011.

Even with the difficulties of measuring corruption (corruption is conducted in secret, making the extent of the problem difficult to gauge), this estimate is astounding. Why has corruption become a problem in PNG? In response, Koim linked corruption to inequality. Seeing, reading and hearing about money in the midst of poverty brings about ‘frustration’, that means many Papua New Guineans don’t feel compelled to play by the rules, he said.

He added that, as an ‘inclusive society’, many people benefit from corruption, which means they are less inclined to speak out against it. He was particularly concerned about the pressure on government workers to provide for their wantoks—literally ‘one talk’, a system of obligation between kin—means many public servants look for ways to augment their salary.

The Australian press also heavily publicised Koim’s concerns that Australia had become the preferred destination for money gained corruptly—in October 2012, he called Australia the Cayman Islands of PNG. Koim didn’t back away from these comments. But he did say he’s been happy with the way Australian officials have worked with him and his team since his speech.

While wary about revealing details, he suggested that Australia is now doing a better job of identifying suspicious transactions from PNG and monitoring those accused of corruption. This is perhaps evidenced by the recent seizure of businessman Eremas Wartoto’s Queensland property by Australian authorities, and the cancelling of his 457 visa. Wartoto is accused of misappropriating more than A$30 million from the PNG government.

No discussion about corruption in the country would be complete without exploring PNG’s multi-billion kina question: what is to be done?

Koim believes that corruption can be curtailed in PNG through three interlinked strategies. First, there needs to be greater focus on training honest public servants about the principles of good governance. Second, he wants to see government departments better coordinate their anti-corruption responses. And finally, he would like to see legislative reform. As outlined in his speech during Deakin’s symposium on PNG, he believes that laws need to be revised to better reflect PNG’s diverse cultures.

He would also like to see a stricter enforcement of the country’s Proceeds of Crime Act 2005—an act that was considered ineffective by 2011 report by the World Bank and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering. But all this, he suggests, will require political will, resources and incentives. In PNG, government departments and politicians need to actively support anti-corruption reform . He called for Australia to provide more money for anti-corruption initiatives. He also suggested that Australia conditions its aid by allocating money to PNG based on the PNG government’s willingness to tackle corruption.

There’s not doubt that Koim and his team have achieved much despite the dangers associated with anti-corruption work in the country. Onlookers wait to see if these efforts translate into convictions and what role Australia and other donors will play in supporting anti-corruption efforts in the future.

As he suggests, if PNG does decide to establish an ICAC, it is critical that support for this new institution, through donors and the government, does not undermine existing anti-corruption efforts. It is also important that this organisation be free from political interference and be able to reel in the big fish—those at the top of the corruption food chain—no matter who they are.

In the meantime, Koim and his team continue their fight against corruption. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

*Research Fellow at the Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre.