REPORTS of the sacking of nine civilian staff of Papua New Guinea’s Defence Department should be of concern to all public servants and the general public, says Transparency International PNG.
“The nine staff reportedly spoke out about issues of maladministration, mismanagement and misappropriation within their department,” said Transparency International PNG chairman Lawrence Stephens.
“It is concerning to read about any threat, suspension or sacking of people who draw attention to illegality, whether it be real or alleged.
“Witness accounts are powerful tools in exposing corruption, fraud and mismanagement. Raising the alert of authorities when corruption occurs, is an obligation for all public servants.
“Whistle-blowing plays a crucial role in saving resources and even lives. Improvements will not happen when criticism is punished,” he said
Mr Stephens said that employers should provide clear internal reporting channels for workers to safely disclose any wrongdoing.
“Corruption often goes unchallenged when people do not speak out about it and people should not be punished for expressing their opinion in exposing wrongdoing.
“This highlights the need for the government to enact pending whistleblower provisions under the delayed Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill and protect those that speak out about corruption and ensure that their claims are properly investigated,” he said.
Mr Stephens commended the Department of Finance for its Phones Against Corruption initiative, an innovative approach to expose and combat corruption using text message system on mobile phone technology.
Transparency International PNG provides a community service, the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC), where the public can report corruption ALAC also provides free support to victims and witnesses of corruption. You can contact ALAC on 3202188/82 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All information is kept confidential.