BRYAN KRAMER MP
PORT MORESBY - It is estimated that Papua New Guinea loses anywhere between K2 and K3 billion in public funds annually through white collar corruption.
These funds would normally be spent on building classrooms, improving the education system, better wages and housing for public servants and providing lifesaving medical equipment and supplies.
Instead they end up in the pockets of corrupt government officials and their foreign cronies who assist them to defraud the people of PNG.
It's believed up to a billion kina of these funds are channelled into offshore bank accounts.
Last week I attended a two day international conference on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing in Melbourne, Australia.
It’s an annual event attended by up to 164 member states who come together to exchange expertise and financial intelligence to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
PNG is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering - a regional body mandated to assist countries in the Asia Pacific region to strengthen their anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regimes.
Each member was given the opportunity to share their views during the conference.
The Papua New Guinean delegation included me, acting police commissioner David Manning and PNG's high commissioner to Australia, John Kali.
I welcomed the opportunity to work with other member countries who are experts in this field to combat money laundering in PNG.
In 2015 Papua New Guinea made headlines after a program aired on Australian television exposing how dirty money reaches Australia, purportedly laundered through foreign law firms.
A particular law firm was accused of laundering millions on behalf of corrupt PNG government officials. However, after the program aired, nothing was ever done.
In my capacity as police minister under the leadership of the Marape-Steven government I look forward to working with and learning from the international community to find out where those billions of kina stolen every year end up.
Further still, I want to ensure our law enforcement agencies are well equipped to investigate and prosecute those who have been stealing from our people.
What many people aren't aware of is that my real skill set is not in the legal profession but finance.
If there’s one thing I'm good at, it’s understanding numbers and tracking them. While words can be used to manipulate, deceive and exaggerate, numbers don't lie.