BY KEITH JACKSON
Perhaps thinking he’d gone to far in an earlier public statement, PNG’s High Commissioner to Australia, Charles Lepani, has said it’s time to stop hammering the Australian aid program over ineffective use of taxpayer money.
Reports of corruption and fraud have dogged the aid program and a review, demanded by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, will be made public next month.
Mr Lepani admits that half of the $450 million of annual Australian aid to his country has been ineffectively spent.
But he says steps are being taken to rectify the issue.
“There is a review - and also Kevin Rudd and Michael Somare, have agreed that some of these funds should be redirected to private sector and NGOs who can do a better job of delivering services to rural PNG.
“So on both sides there are problems. But right now both sides are working to eliminate those so we should not hammer the effort.”