Sign up for fourth walk against corruption
27 April 2010
THE FLIER from Transparency International in PNG pulled no punches.
“Oppose, detest, are disgusted or merely angry about the Maladina Amendments which will weaken the Ombudsman's role in referring public office holders for possible breaches of the leadership code…..
“Disgusted with the way the scandalous PNG bank accounts in Singapore was handled, and the Taiwanese dollar for diplomacy scandal, that have been swept under the carpet and will never, ever see the light of day again…..
“[Then] join us in the 2010 Walk Against Corruption and as a united front let us send a strong message to the few corrupt and greedy custodians who are in charge of our common wealth.
“Or do we wait till hundreds of millions from the proceeds of the LNG project go to the dogs and we start fighting the ghosts in 30 years time?
“Corruption decimates public funds for development and makes us poorer.”
The fourth 2010 Walk Against Corruption, planned for Sunday 6 June, has the theme “Corruption makes us poor: oppose it and restore our integrity”.
It will be led once again by PNG’s Governor-General, Grand Chief Sir Paulias Matane.
Already corporate teams from Nasfund, Teachers Savings
& Loans, Digicel, Gadens Lawyers,
Individuals and corporate groups are invited to participate by emailing the executive director, Emily Taule, here.
It has always been very unclear to me whether the public is invited to join the Walk Against Corruption. The ads I've seen always seem to stress that you can register teams for large sums of cash. What's with that?
The fundraising element certainly has discouraged me enough not to turn up on the day to check it out. At the very least I would say it's bad marketing.
Posted by: Confused | 29 April 2010 at 02:10 PM
Hi Effrey. I commend you on your courage and efforts in setting up the new community advocacy site, ACT NOW!
I recently subscribed to it and posted a blog comment on some key issues being discussed. Recently I wrote an article in PNG ATTITUDE, another PNG-related blog and in the local PNG media recommending that the government and country to set up an ICAC - an Independent Commission Against Corruption.
To do this, the government must have the political will and not keep procrastinating on this issue.
I agree that we must consistently keep the issues alive by speaking out and that the power belongs to the people.
Again, congratulations on ACT NOW! It's a good concept for people to express and share their common concerns on what affects their lives as citizens as a result of bad governance by our leaders.
The site will allow people to tell our leaders that they have to get their act together to run a clean government and honest politics in PNG.
If they cannot do that then we reject them as leaders of our country through the ballot box.
Posted by: Reginald Renagi | 28 April 2010 at 09:50 AM
Hi Reginald. My name is Effrey and I am the program manager for ACT NOW! Ltd.
ACT NOW! supports the establishment of an ICAC but there must be political will and for political will to come about, there must be a show of a united people power.
We must exercise our right to vote and vote based on conscience not coercion. We must choose not to be cynical anymore but consistently keep the issues alive.
We must Stand Up and Speak Out! And not to live the talking and acting, to one person or one organization. The power belongs to the people.
Posted by: Effrey Dademo | 28 April 2010 at 09:15 AM
Tim, Maisy: Don't get me wrong here. I accept what you are both saying and, yes, they should be criticised.
My point in this fight against corruption is, where do we draw the line when the PNG government does not even have a clear official definition of corruption and corrupt practices.
But this must not be used as an ongoing excuse by the current political regime to not seriously address corruption in PNG.
It is high time PNG set up its own ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) with wider powers than the Ombudsman Commission to go after the big boys.
Once we put some senior MPs, including PMs and their predecessors, and bureaucrats with their special interest mates, behind bars, then this will send a very strong message through very fast.
But who is going to do that? PNG's parliament seems dysfunctional with an impotent government lacking the will to fix it. The law? What law? The PNGDF through a Garibaldi figure, civil society or through other 'people-power' strategies?
So to answer my own question as to where do we draw the line? I say let's start with the big boys who are selling our country out in cahoots with big business (multi-national corps) and special interests.
Later, we can systematically work our way down to the rest in order of the gravity of the crimes committed, and the positions the culprits hold in society at the time.
The present reality, it seems, is that as long as the government and parliament procrastinate in setting up an ICAC then the issue of corruption will keep coming up.
This will continue until the whole country will revolt, with a frustrated citizenry taking the law into its own hands, as is happening now in other countries.
Posted by: Reginald Renagi | 27 April 2010 at 07:37 PM
Tim and Maisy: OK, if we take this further using the same premise then, it completely rules out the whole parliament including our GG, so we look next to the beauracrasy. It also wholly implicates the public service, corporate sector as well as big businesses and special interests.
That is just about everyone from GG and parliament down, government, public and private sectors and nearly all working fields where people are placed in various positions of trust. They all seem to abuse their positions by giving out money for favours or being on the take themselves.
The question is where do we draw the line here? It's got to stop somewhere but at what level? Nearly everyone in PNG in the various fields of employment stated above are either directly, or indirectly involved in some degree of corrupt practices. We also need to clearly define every aspect of what these scales of improper behaviour are. So we class what is or is not a corrupt practice because it seems nearly everyone in PNG is involved one way or another; even those rightious people making the perceived accusation against other people.
Where does that leave the ordinary person? He/she may be on the take just to feed his starving family, or to somehow make ends meet on a daily basis to survive?
Posted by: Reginald Renagi | 27 April 2010 at 02:49 PM
If you want to champion a cause, lead by example! There is a maxim in law that goes something like, "he who comes to the law must come with clean hands". If you are alledging a fault on the part of another person, then you must not be at fault to start with....I commend the GG for staying healthy but the issue we are trying to highlight and address is corruption, maybe the GG needs to answer the interesting questions raised in the budget report. Where do i get hold of the budget report, Mr. Tim?
Posted by: Maisy | 27 April 2010 at 01:53 PM
Reginald, on the one hand I could not agree more. It is all relative and the money wasted by the PM and his Ministers on foreign travel is criminal (and as for that new government jet - well I won't start).
But I totally disagree that we should give the GG some latitude because of his position.
It is EXACTLY because of his position that he should be setting the highest standards and be above reproach. The spending I have highlighted does not send the right message and should, in my view, be criticized.
Posted by: Tim | 27 April 2010 at 01:38 PM
Tim, this is all relative. The same could be said of the PM and other pollies who spend unnecessarily at our expense. They do it more frequently than the Vice-Regal, who is our Queen's representative in PNG, so some latitude should be accorded him as befits his title and position in the Commonwealth.
At least the GG is setting a good example of being a very fit statesman compared with his peers. He is a man of integrity who personally promotes good governance and is against corruption; unlike our so-called leaders in parliament at the moment.
What's more, they can't even match the Queen's rep when it comes to walking against corruption: power-walking on the dirt roads. He maintains a mean pace, which many men half his age and other so-called knights and MPs cannot match.
Posted by: Reginald Renagi | 27 April 2010 at 10:50 AM
Perhaps the walk will be a good opportunity for TI to ask the GG about the K330,000 spent on his new support vehicle in 2008. Or the K175,000 he spent traveling to the Solomon Islands in July 2008. Or the K342,100 he spent to travel to Tonga that year.
These expenditures are all revealed in the government's 2008 Budget Report. The Report also shows these expenditure items were on top of the annual grant to fund the GG's office which increased by over K3 million in 2008 to K6.5 million.
This excessive expenditure is all money which could have been spent helping to reduce PNG's excessively high maternal mortality rates - or indeed the Ombudsman Commission.
Posted by: Tim King | 27 April 2010 at 08:20 AM