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18 November 2011

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Interesting article that makes some fine points.

Australia lost its halo a long time ago.

Our own Wheat Board was caught with its pants down misbehaving in Iraq.

Our Reserve Bank subsidiaries were caught in the act of bribery in neighbouring countries, just so they could get the printing contracts for currency.

There are too many more examples of corporate influence bought with legal political donations, cash for comment and so on.

So yes, we are far from not corrupt.

It is not, however, as simple as labelling PNG the victim of corruption - it is also indeed the perpetrator.

No doubt, some Australians grows rich from PNG’s corruption, but Australia too is a victim, scammed of $500 million in aid monies, little of which makes it to the projects and people who need it.

Australia itself has not yet implemented TI, which makes a mockery of it’s trying to pressure PNG to do so.

Companies in both countries would do a lot to help fight the scourge of corruption if every one of them published every amount paid, to whom, for what. No need to wait for the government to implement TI.

Publish what you pay.

I don't think banks anywhere ask too many questions about where your money comes from when you deposit it.

However they will investigate it further if requested by a legal authority.

Even the Swiss banks are now cooperating in helping to track down Gaddafi's and Mubarek's millions.

And there's also the Proceeds of Crimes Act which allows assets to be seized if proven to be derived from criminal activities. But this involves some fairly high-level forensics.

Although the registration of properties in Australia lies within the responsibility of its relevant State Government Authorities, in the case of foreigners wishing to purchase properties the overall approval of such purchasers lies with the Commonwealth government through its Foreign Investment Review Board.

Details on the final decision-making process and criteria for approvals involving such overseas transactions are not known, however for those readers interested see the following link:
http://www.australia-migration.com/page/Foreign_Investors_Buying_property_as_a_foreigner_or_Temporary_Resident_in_Australia/178

Records of the ownership of properties within State authorities are readily available to the public through property searches however the usage of such information is government under provisions of various associated State government privacy Acts.

In Queensland, when property transactions are conducted, the selling agent is obliged to submit the relevant Form 14 transfer document which identifies buyers and sellers and purchase transaction details.

It is not the role of either state or Commonwealth governments to publish such information, as such disclosure as well as being inappropriate would no doubt also contravene Privacy Acts, however if such a request was made by a duly delegated overseas government then compliance would ensue.

The real issue here is not the disclosure of such information but the inefficiency of the relevant supervisory bodies, such as the PNG Ombudsman Commission, which oversight the reporting and disclosure of pecuniary interests held by the country’s politicians, to enforce the associated laws applying.

Recent court cases in PNG highlight the inadequacy of penalties applying to PNG politicians who breach the disclosure provisions relating to pecuniary interest by failing submit the required information required within reasonable time deadlines.

As such, it would seem that the penalties applying to such breaches of trust by PNG politicians need to be updated with the penalties increased to levels of mandatory severe fines or imprisonment rather than the mere slaps on the wrists that currently apply.

Perhaps also if the PNG Ombudsman feels that further investigation into overseas property transactions involving PNG politicians are needed, then that body could quite easily obtain such information from the relevant Australian authorities.

The people who are stealing from the public purse and sending this money from PNG to buy Australian real estate need to be properly identified.

Unfortunately business is business once thieves get the money.... Unless we can follow the paper trail...

Do the banks and real estate companies in Australia closely scrutinise their PNG investor clients?

Are the accounts open to such scrutiny or is their an issue of sovereignty involved?

Spot on!

It's true that the onus is on us to prevent theft of our resources from our end. But a true friend would see our short comings and step in to try and block it from their end too.

Australia needs a strong and independent PNG for its own vested interests.

A better and more sustainable way to do that would be to help PNG use its own money to develop itself properly. And not by stationing 250 US Marines at Darwin next year.

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