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Marape promises but corruption continues

Rita Flynn Isolation Centre
Rita Flynn Isolation Centre in Port Moresby - scene of the latest rip-off by public servants raises questions about Marape's willingness to rein in corruption

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PORT MORESBY - The latest scandal over catering services at the Rita Flynn Isolation Centre highlights the Marape government’s broken promises to break the cycle of impunity enjoyed by senior bureaucrats.

The tsunami of corruption that is drowning our nation can only be addressed through greater transparency and public accountability.

Yet prime minister James Marape has repeatedly broken his promises to publish previous audit reports and to hold people accountable for corruption and mismanagement.

In May 2020, the prime minister promised the people of Papua New Guinea that audit reports on the funding of Covid-19 operations would be made public, but that never happened.

Last year the prime minister also repeatedly promised the audit report on the lavish spending for the 2018 APEC summit would be presented to parliament. It never happened.

It is hypocritical for the prime minister to now be demanding provincial health authorities acquit their Covid-19 funds when he has not acquitted to the people of PNG for his government’s spending.

The prime minister and his government have to set the standard for others to follow and not fall into the trap of ‘do as I say not as I do’.

It is depressing for the nation to still be hearing about officers in the Department of Health abusing their position for private gain when the Public Accounts Committee has already conducted a major investigation into the issue.

The Public Accounts Committee produced two reports in 2020 on its investigation into the supply, procurement and distribution of medicines and alleged corruption and abuse in the Department of Health, yet neither report has been made public.

There is a culture in PNG of complete impunity for public servants and politicians.

No matter how many times they offend, how serious the allegations against them and how large the sums of money stolen or misused, nobody is ever held accountable.

Nobody loses their job. Nobody is ever convicted or imprisoned.

We have audit after audit and inquiry after inquiry, but the findings are usually kept secret, the people who are implicated in corruption and mismanagement continue in their jobs and nothing ever changes.

The prime minister promised his government would be different.

He promised it would take effective measures to defeat the corruption that is denying people decent government services and a decent quality lives.

But all we see and hear are promises while the abuses still continue.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

One can only assume his reluctance is because he is complicit and involved in corruption himself.

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