MEDIA STATEMENT | Transparency International PNG
PORT MORESBY – Positive steps by the government to audit the National Identity Project (NID) has been marred by the efforts of national statistician Roy Koloma which appear intended to evade a police investigation into alleged fraud.
TIPNG has earmarked three key national issues it would campaign for in 2018: an Independent Commission Against Corruption; citizens’ free access to public information; and the resolution of scandals involving the NID.
“In January, TIPNG called for the government to halt payments to NID until an independent audit was done on the K230 million spent by the Department of National Planning,” said TIPNG chairman Lawrence Stephens.
“We also called for the head of the National Statistical Office Roy Koloma to step aside whilst investigations of alleged fraud were conducted.
“Subsequently the deputy prime minister and the national planning minister responded with promises that an independent committee would be established in February. We are keen to hear the findings of the committee,” Mr Stephens said.
“However, it is now reported that Mr Koloma has taken what appears to be a deplorable step of attempting to evade the police and apparently demanding that he be given special consideration.
“TIPNG reminds Mr Koloma and all citizens that they must comply with the efforts of legal authorities, exercising constitutional powers on behalf of us all, to cooperate when requested to provide information.
“There is only one law and it should be applied to all citizens equally,” he said.
“Moreover leaders like Mr Koloma must preserve the integrity of the office they occupy and, if being investigated for serious criminal offences relating to their office, step aside until being cleared. The people of Papua New Guinea demand deserve accountability.”
Mr Stephens announced that the Transparency International Secretariat in Germany will release its global corruption perception index next Thursday. The index ranks countries by levels of perceived corruption.
“Sadly Papua New Guinea has consistently ranked poorly,” Mr Stephens said.
“However, if the government and police continue to respond as quickly as seen with the NID saga, it is inevitable that one day the perception of corruption will decrease and our CPI score will improve.
“This would be something the government can rightly tout when hosting events such as the APEC senior officials’ meeting on prevention of corruption later this month.”