BUKA - Efforts by the Bougainville government to curb systematic corruption in the Bougainville Public Service continue to gain momentum as more public servants have been implicated in fraud.
Chief Secretary Joseph Nobetau said a further two officers employed by the Department of Community Government have been dismissed due to their involvement in gross misconduct, theft and fraud.
The officers were found to have misused funds allocated by the Autonomous Bougainville Government last year to assist with the funeral expenses of former premier Leo Hannet.
“The fact that these individuals could steal money that had been allocated to assist with funeral expenses brings great shame to them and the ABG,” Mr Nobetau said.
“The funds were meant to offset the cost to the family in recognition of Mr Hannet’s significant contribution to Bougainville.
“But instead these individuals acted selfishly for personal gain”, he said.
The culprits have been charged by the police fraud squad and court proceedings are pending. An additional person who had left the public service has also been charged.
“For too long public servants have acted in the belief that they are above the law,” Mr Nobetau said.
“The evidence in these cases shows callous disregard for lawful process and involved conspiracy with third party service providers who actively aided and abetted the fraud. Such acts cannot go unpunished.
“It is my hope that the criminal justice system will apply appropriate penalties to all those found to have been involved.”
Mr Nobetau has been working actively to implement the president’s mandate to clean up the public service and hold to account those who break the law.
Over the last two years more than 30 public servants have been dismissed due to theft and poor conduct, with dozens of other cases being investigated.