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01 February 2011

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While there is no doubt that a PNG Independent Commission Against Corruption would be worthwhile, the question of how to staff it with people who are prepared to initiate action and follow it through is another matter.

Everyone knows what the real problem is: No one in power is prepared to make the existing systems of government work. Whether this is due to culture, a lack of training or just sheer ineptitude is debatable.

Until someone at the top says, 'that's enough!', and then is prepared to back this up with timely criminal charges and effective convictions, nothing will change. The laws exist, they just aren't being enforced.

If those at the top aren't prepared to abide by the law, those down the feeding chain won't either.

Perhaps PNG does need a strongman to take over and run the country. The trouble is: Where do you find some one who won't use their power for their own advantage?

That was the beauty about the kiap system. Kiaps were:

- responsible to a higher authority,

- subject to their decisions being appealed against,

- prepared and able to operate effectively with a minimum of supervision,

- constantly transferred around to ensure no build up of a personally entrenched power base, and

- working with the people at the village level in a transparent manner.

No wonder the 'Bully Beef Club' couldn't wait to get rid of it.

I am not certain if I understand everything Mark has said but I agree with the final statement that there needs to be more in-service training of financial managers at every level of government to ensure that public funds are correctly managed.

If they are not correctly managed and there is suspicion of corruption, then what happens?

This is where I see a need for an Independent Commission Against Corruption to be set up in PNG as soon as possible.

The educated person, who fears that corruption has taken place, who might even be a senior person working in government, doesn't appear to have any way of achieving justice.

In the case of the Keravat renovation money of 2009, there seemed to be no trustworthy method in place to check whether corruption had taken place or not.

The people responsible for financial matters at the provincial level were powerless, the head of the school's Board of Governors and the headmistress were all powerless.

The prime minister sent in a group of "heavies" from Moresby and when they reported back to him on what they had found out, they were warned it was a "sensitive matter".

The Keravat alumni, many of whom have very responsible jobs running many government and private aspects of the country, were also powerless and had no way of having the whole affair investigated in an honest way.

Was it financial mismanagment or corruption?

As for New Ireland, I keep hearing about Sir Julian Chan doing things for the local level, even toilet stops along the Buluminsky Highway.

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