TODAY TONIGHT | Channel 7
AUSTRALIAN AID IS BEING LOST to corruption, with an estimated $1.7 million being stolen from Papua New Guinea's budget annually.
The stolen money is then brought to Australia to be hidden in our banks and the Queensland property market.
Around 59 people have already been charged with corruption offences in PNG, and it is alleged much of their illegally obtained money is spent in Cairns.
Professor Jason Sharman, deputy director of the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University, is a renowned expert on money laundering.
Professor Sharman, along with Sam Koim, head of PNG's Anti-Corruption Task Force, are on a mission to lift the lid on billions of dollars of dirty money leaving PNG to be laundered in Australia.
"Corrupt politicians and senior officials are buying houses and gambling. Obviously they need bank accounts to do so, and setting their families up here (in Australia) as well," Professor Sharman said.
"Most of Australia's aid program is effectively wasted."
Mr Koim says they have a number of prominent politicians and businessmen on their radar.
"Almost half of the budget is being stolen. That is how big the problem is," Mr Koim said.
"They see Australia as the Cayman Islands. They see that it is the safest place where they can bring their stolen money from PNG."
There are more than 100 homes in Cairns that belong to Papua New Guineans, a similar number in Brisbane. They inhabit some of the nicest suburbs, and include the prominent PNG politicians and officials.
Read the full transcript of the program here