Clency & Norman: Making impossible possible
Remembering footie, politics & John Kaputin

At its core, PNG is corrupt. Easter showed that

Corruption: It's in Your Hands (

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - An Australian PhD student conducting research on corruption in Papua New Guinea met a group of youths in Port Moresby.

After a few exchanges he asked them: “What is the root of corruption?”

One of them pointed to the national parliament building, and said: “There lie the roots, the stem, the branches and the leaves of corruption.”

Whilst this view of the source of corruption is popular among Papua New Guineans, it’s misplaced.

The politicians are corrupt, but they are voted into place by equally corrupt Papua New Guineans.

Democracy is designed in a way to enable ‘the people’ to decide who gets into parliament.

On average, Papua New Guineans have replaced half of their MPs in every election since independence.

But the problem is this - voters remove half and replace them with another cohort of corrupt politicians.

The fact that the 50% of the people voted as replacements MPs who continued to abuse and misuse power and money shows the problem lies not only with the politicians, but also with voters.

For more detailed information link here to the ANU Development Policy Centre’s ‘PNG election database 

Corruption perceptions index 2022
Coloured red, Papua New Guinea is one of the world's most corrupt countries

So the two equations we need to bear in mind are GOOD VOTERS = GOOD POLITICIANS and CORRUPT VOTERS = CORRUPT POLITICIANS.

Recent events revealed another example of the decaying state of PNG.

A technical glitch resulted in Bank South Pacific crediting quite large amounts to customer accounts.

The word soon spread and customers began to withdraw cash even though BSP immediately issued a notice advising customers of the glitch.

Despite this notice about 30,000 customers continued to withdraw funds in excess of their entitlements.

The saddest thing of all is that this happened on the Easter weekend.

The 2011 census (the most recent the government has done) showed that 96% of Papua New Guineans profess to be Christians.

And Easter is one of the most sacred times in the Christian calendar.

Easter marks the dates on which Jesus Christ died for humanity and was resurrected.

His death paved the way for forgiveness of sins.

His resurrection demonstrated that He could defeat sin, hell and the grave.

Easter is a symbol of hope and redemption. It begins with a holiday on a Friday and ends on Monday.

This Easter just past, 30,000 Papua New Guineans used the most holy of days of their religion to conduct nationwide theft.

A more troubling issue is that portions of the educated population and Christians continue to blame BSP for crediting customers’ accounts, and defend the theft on that basis.

These people represent the elites of our nation.

Christians represent the moral heart of PNG. The fact that a significant portion elites and moral avatars supported this theft goes to show why PNG is corrupt at its very core.

Corruption score 2022Corruption in PNG is not a matter of the poor and uneducated struggling to make ends meet.

It is not a matter of sinners expressing a lack of internal convictions.

Corruption is prompted by elites, rationalised by moral avatars and followed by a committed congregation to spread throughout the breadth and width of the nation.

Until Papua New Guineans stop rationalising corruption, nothing will change.

Further readings on corruption by Grant Walton & selected others

‘Small is (sometimes) beautiful: perceptions of corruption in seven small Pacific Island countries’ by Grant Walton (2023)

Boom and bust? Political will and anti-corruption in Papua New Guinea by Grant Walton & Husnia Hushang (2022)

Can civic nationalism help reduce corruption? Insights from Solomon Islands’ by Grant Walton (2022)

Is education a magic bullet for addressing corruption? Insights from Papua New Guinea by Grant Walton & Caryn Peiffer (2021)

Everyday corruption in PNG: a way of life?’ by Teddy Winn (2020)

Using the c-word: Australian anti-corruption policy in Papua New Guinea’ by Grant Walton & Stephen Howes (2016)

Reporting corruption from within Papua New Guinea’s public financial management system by Amanda HA Watson & Colin Wiltshire (2016)

The challenges of fighting corruption in Papua New Guinea by Sam Koim (2014)


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Lindsay F Bond

From the land of 'opportune this and neo that', it has been noticed that corruption is the subversion of the ordinary, the expected and some might say the decent. Perhaps 'descent'.

Consider, at the development upper crust in NSW, "totems of developers’ manipulation of planning and profits."

Thus be it put, tall towers straight from business bent.

Lindsay F Bond

Will it be only a matter of time before opportunism becomes more dominant?

"Police officers and soldiers watched helplessly as people, including women and children, looted five container trucks they were escorting along a highway in Enga on Saturday" - Trucks Looted by Lorraine Jimal (The National)

Thomas Vue

Religion and democracy have reinforced the Melanesian 'group-think' culture to the core and delivered a perfect recipe for corruption.

If you are a non-religious person and free thinker, ethical and with high moral standards, you would feel out of place in our PNG Melanesian society because it would say you are not 'religious'.

If you're a religious person with few or no moral standards and ethics, and flow well with the group-thinkers, you would fit comfortably into this society because you are 'religious'.

It's sad that we had to collectively take religion as our only basis for morality and ethics.

Perhaps we need to look through the lens of anthropology to really understand why we are in all this self-inflicted misery.

We need to unlearn so many things and start thinking like 'thinking humans' again.

We need outdoctrination not indoctrination.

Bernard Corden

Dear Pauline: "Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything” - Josef Stalin

Pauline P Kama

On the matter of voting, here's how it is.

Numerous women and decent men turn up at the polling booth every five years and are turned away. Women are told to stay at home. Supporters of known corrupt candidates get to cast a vote two or three times.

Given these barriers, can it really be said that the people are choosing their politicians?

Is it possible to count the number of decent people (non-Christians too) living in fear and who are less likely to challenge the violent, lazy voters and ‘inside the system’ supporters who the corrupt politicians need to keep them in power.

These people work together to maintain the chaos while the ones in power maintain their own lifestyle.

There’s no such thing as a Christian country.

Lindsay F Bond

Opportunism engenders the flocking that follows and wallows amongst bad fellows lacking hallows.

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