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Senior public servants are corrupt, says PM

In what sounded suspiciously like his first valedictory speech - to a political rally at Kandep in Enga Province - prime minister Sir Michael Somare has said he believes PNG public servants are more corrupt than politicians.

Sir Michael revealed he had received a report that showed many public servants were stealing from government. This included senior public servants involved in corrupt deals.

Members of Parliament involved in corruption were referred to the Ombudsman Commission for prosecution, he said, but corruption happened everywhere in society.

Sir Michael, 73, reflected that serving the country for 42 years was a very long time and that he was growing old. But he foreshadowed his intention to remain as prime minister for another three years, saying he will quit politics in 2012.

He seemed to rule out the Cairns option, saying he will retire to his village, get involved in village life and watch politics from there.

Sir Michael’s successor may be announced as early as next year at the annual convention of the National Alliance.

He said he had four good deputies representing the four regions of PNG and each of them was capable of taking over.


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Willie Nako

All in all, Somare should not shirk his responsibility by shifting the blame across to the public servants as a bad boss does. It is a direct reflection of his bad leadership and poor overall political management of the whole country whenever he is the PM.

The public servants are just copying the bad examples of seeing politicians steal big money. If the PM was serious about corruption committed by public servants, especially certain senior executives involved in misconduct in office incidents, than we should have seen many in jail by now.

The people do not see the cops harassing these officials like ordinary people are whenever they are accused or suspected of wrong deeds. The people will cooperate when they start seeing politicians go to jail for stealing millions.

The prime minister should be tough enough to give the appropriate political directions for the proper internal investigations resulting in successful convictions. Once we put some bad public servants and politicians behind bars then the message will get through.

Somare should not blame public servants but come up with what he can do as prime minister in a fair and impartial way to make a big difference in the country's battle against corruption.

He better do it soon, as time is running out for him and he will soon bow out of PNG politics without ever saying or doing anything of some substance. Go out with a bang, rather than a whimper.

Papua Tauna

Laurie is correct to say Sir Michael is half right but avoided saying the Prime Minister of PNG is also half wrong in all his 40 plus years in PNG and Commonwealth politics. In all this time Somare has not really grabbed the bull by the horns to directly tackle the issue of corruption. He has failed to do this effectively on his watch.

It is of no use to the people of PNG and the whole nation to just say simply that public servants are more corrupt than politicians. This is just a 'cop-out' and the PM should know better. Or does he? He seems not as 40 years have proven that in reality he is a very weak leader simply resting on his past laurels.

If he was serious about stamping out corruption, he would take it upon himself to be the nation's political champion. He is in continual denial mode.

As PM, he has failed all these years since Independence to create an environment conducive for the prevention or minimisation of corruption in its many forms.

Whether in key development and growth areas of the PNG economy, and in many political and social aspects of the country's national affairs.

Laurie Meintjes

Sir Michael is half right in his belief that public servants are more corrupt than politicians.

Perhaps he should have said that the total impact of public servant corruption is greater than that of politicians, simply because there are a great many more public servants in the country, and their influence reaches into every pocket.

However, when it comes to personal corruption, I think some politicians are in a league of their own because they hover around a much bigger purse and many of them have excessively sticky fingers.

If I were Sir Michael, I wouldn't be saying too much about those 42 years of service because it would leave people wondering whether he might be closer to the problem than the solution.

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