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25 March 2011

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I wonder what His Excellencies response is to queries about the reported 50% of PNG budget siphoned off through corruption.

There's almost pin drop silence on this issue.

And we're worried about the money someone else gives us?

The size of that log...impressive.

Mind you, that 0.14% is probably equivalent to an Australian consultant's AusAID salary. That's the real story.

Phil - The AusAID figures are the ones used in the original Adelaide Advertiser report.

I agree with Paul. However waste and mismanagement are not the same as fraud. I think these are separate issues and should not be confused.

Widespread corruption clearly occurs in PNG, but this again is a separate issue and needs to be addressed locally.

The issue is simple. No one should be paid anything unless they produce pre-set results or meet agreed benchmarks established prior to the commencement of the project.

With respect to Mr Lepani, the responsibility must be with those who are directly responsible for managing the funding. Contractors will only rort a system where they are allowed to get away with whatever are the minimum requirements to achieve payment.

If the PNG government knew about this problem then why didn't it raise the issue with the Australian government?

That begs the question of who actually was benefitting from this situation?

It also begs the question of the conpetence of senior AusAID and DFAT staff who must surely be culpable?

I think the telling thing about those figures might be the source, Peter.

Also, what one person thinks is money well spent might very well be thought to be outrageous misuse by another.

I produce social mapping studies for the petroleum exploration industry among other things. I spend a lot of time on them to make sure they are accurate.

However, the studies are just one of the hoops that the companies have to jump through to get their approvals. I doubt very much whether the company people get past the executive summary at the beginning and I know damn well that government doesn't read them. Neither do the people I'm writing about unless I pass on copies to them.

Up against the immediate problems that someone like Lydia has in Kaugere it is all an outrageous waste of money and time.

I'm not quite sure who to believe on this one. According to AusAID's figures, fraud under investigation in PNG's AusAID program is a very small percentage of the total.

This hardly warrants the description of PNG as 'corruption central' with accusations of widespread and systematic fraud in the AusAID program.

Papua New Guinea:
Active fraud cases 30
Actual/potential loss to AusAID $597,208
AusAID funding 2010-11 $415m
% at risk 0.14%

Source - AusAID

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