Population: 'Mama, papa na faivpela pikinini'
There are ways to keep our country united

PNG's corruption is systemic & worsening

| Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG)

Edited extracts from the Civil Society Report on the Implementation of Preventive Measures
of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY - The overall findings of the report indicate that Papua New Guinea is only partially compliant with its obligations under the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Furthermore, although laws and relevant agencies have been established to carry out these obligations, improvement is needed in areas where laws are inadequate and where UNCAC provisions are not strictly enforced. 

Corruption, and particularly systemic grand corruption, has worsened in PNG in the decades following its political independence from the Australian colonial administration in 1975.

In addressing this issue, past and present PNG governments have continued to look for avenues to address and minimise corruption.

The country has enacted laws, joined international initiatives, and adopted global principles and anti-corruption commitments.

The concern by local and international observers is that, whilst these policies, principles and laws exist, enforcement is lacking.

The report highlights significant deficiencies in the implementation of PNGs obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption.

It particularly notes gaps within existing laws that allow corruption to grow, the lack of harmony between key agencies such as police, courts and government departments, political interference in the functions of these agencies which affect their ability to perform their functions efficiently, and under-resourcing.


There have been a few notable achievements to systematically address corruption in Papua New Guinea since TIPNG’s last civil society report on the implementation of UNCAC in PNG in 2012. 

In 2020, following decades of campaigning by civil organisations, ICAC and whistleblower laws were enacted.

Moreover, the 2019 Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption established an independent body responsible for investigating corruption complaints in relation to public officials or any other person or entity.

With the aim of strengthening governance in PNG, ICAC will also work in cooperation with other bodies to facilitate administrative arrangements for this cooperation as well as the exchange of information and the referral of matters.  

Along with ICAC legislation, the PNG government also enacted whistleblower legislation for the purpose of safeguarding employees who make a protected disclosure.

The act however requires a tremendous amount of improvement to close gaps that, if left unaddressed, will allow for corruption to seep through.

Improvement is needed to the scope of whistleblower protection and to address the lack of an independent body to coordinate and implement whistleblower protection. 

Apart from the establishment of these two landmark laws, there has also been significant reform made in relation to the management of public procurement.

In 2018, the government passed the National Procurement Act 2018, to establish provisions for the management of national procurement to provincial and local level governments

TIPNG has been invited to give feedback on proposed amendments, which aim to strengthen transparency and restore confidence in the procurement process. 

There have also been government-led efforts to strengthen integrity through the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Country Risk Assessment, and the establishment of a National Coordinating Committee.

However, despite these developments, PNG still performs poorly on indicators such as the Corruption Perceptions Index, as these initiatives have yet to lead to tangible action to address impunity for grand corruption.

There is a multitude of deficiencies in mechanisms that hinder the successful implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption by PNG.


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Bernard Corden

Dear Lindsay - Another significant factor, especially in NSW and Queensland, is the implementation of behavioural economics via nudge theory.

It is a fundamentally flawed concept that treats decision making as a rational process.

Most of our decisions in life such as getting married, buying a house or car and having kids are anything but rational and more often arational.

The human brain is not a computer on top of our body and does not make decisions. It merely hosts conversations and nudge theory is an otiose attempt from behaviourists to square the circle and turn our 3.1459 recurring subjective minds (head, heart and gut) into one objective brain.

Nudge theory disregards the enigmatic power of the collective unconscious and treats decision making mechanistically like approaching an and/or gate in an event tree logic diagram.

Lindsay F Bond

At Bernard's invitation, I began reading in the more than 500 pages of report from the 'Commission of Inquiry into Forensic DNA Testing in Queensland'.

At Paragraph 53 came this: “Turnaround times became a concept. Management consultants came to be retained in an effort to improve efficiency”.

It seems that the year 2012 was as much problematic for many people of Queensland as it was for (entirely unrelated reasons) the people of PNG.

The Queensland report has mention of the word 'organic': "a story of a natural organic progression with no evident consideration being given".

Respectfully, at mention of a 'scampbell' process, my guess is the slippery slope is more societal than singular.

As with crowd invasion of a field at a football match, even storming of US Capitol building, the societal breakdown may have wilder individuals in the surge, but surge it is.

That which is said to be corruption in PNG, such as at elections, has only the strength of estrangement and efficiency of opportunity.

Bernard Corden

A review of the executive summary in the report by Walter Sofronoff KC covering the Commission of Inquiry into Forensic DNA Testing in Queensland reveals quite spectacularly how processes, procedures and systems can fail. The Cossack didn't pull any punches:


The rot started back in 2012 with the election of Can Do Campbell Newman and the slash and burn tactics.

Lindsay F Bond

After all, Stephen, tertiary courses are on offer for enlightening each annual set of hopeful jobseekers to be best equipped for ensuring corporations maximise shareholder returns.

So be it no surprise that such research, or equivalent endeavour, might contribute to what is targeting the more readily accessible croppings.

Stephen Charteris

I am reminded of an old adage that goes something like:

People who are determined to be corrupt will ensure the best processes, procedures and systems fail.

However, those who are determined to abide by the principles of honesty, transparency and fair play will ensure that even the most lax system in the world works.

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