First House of Assembly Election, Yassip Mission, 1964

With Australian help, PNG has lost billions to corruption


Sam KoimAS MUCH AS HALF OF Papua New Guinea's A$3.5 billion development budget over three years has been lost to graft or dodgy overseas investments, the head of the Pacific nation's government anti-corruption task force says.

Task Force Sweep chairman Sam Koim (pictured) says Australian financial institutions have been complicit by turning a blind eye to dirty monies being redirected to Australian connections.

A Task Force Sweep analysis of PNG's 7.6 billion kina development budget from 2009 through 2011 shows almost half was lost to corrupt practices by public officials and government departments.

"We have uncovered a lot of instances where there was no recourse to budget and people were spending money left, right and centre, squandering funds and using them for private purposes," Mr Koim told AAP today.

"Given the trend of corruption and seeing that there is nothing on the ground level to show for the expenditure of public funds, we have reason to believe that at least half of the budget we were investigating was wasted, mismanaged or stolen.

"Government systems and control mechanisms have, over time, been corroded. It is safe to say (the money) has been stolen."

Despite being often described as "an island of gold on a sea of oil" because of its abundant natural resources, the nation of seven million has heavily degraded infrastructure, poor health services and a severe lack of access to education.

Mr Koim, who has previously described Australia as PNG's Cayman Islands because of to the amount of money invested there, denied local media reports claiming most of the stolen funds had been invested in Australia alone.

However, he said Australian financial institutions had turned a blind eye to transactions and investments from high-profile PNG public servants and politicians on Australian shores.


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Erasmus Baraniak

It is too convenient for PNG government officials to blame the Australian government or their banking system. A bit shallow,as if they are PNG's moral police. Far fetched. Its like saying I assaulted someone because you didnt stop me.

Mr Koim can do better than going around self promoting and self posturing.

What about the NPF cases, or are we doing selective investigations here? There are many files being put aside by Mr Koim that are not politically palatable. Surely he needs to look at his own office first before jumping on the band wagon of hysteria.

We are always watching. What about the MP from your own Province who shuffled tens of millions in and out of the country Mr Koim, and spent Millions campaigning?

What about the K500 Million this last government pilferred thru the National Planning Department thru ghost projects. You know about it. Why dont you do something about it?

Need I go on?

Tony Flynn

The Taxation Commission of that time in America got Scarface Al Capone. The Internal Revenue Commission has extensive powers to stick it into people of choice.

Why do they not choose to check up on blatant overspenders, many Members of Parliament and senior public servants are on a fixed salary. It should not be difficult to send a please explain letter. Non reply would lead to freezing of Bank accounts.

After all they froze my bank account in my misdirected younger days. Should I expect them to do less for leaders who actively evade or advoid tax on a large scale?

My problems with tax related to legitimate earnings; we are now speaking of corrupt earnings and payoffs.

Paul Oates

The thrust of this article appears to suggest that Australia as a whole and Australian banks in particular, have been complicit in the organised plundering of PNG's national finances.

To anyone who has been casting more than a suddenly jaundiced eye over the state of PNG's government control over their own national finances, this claim seems just a tad convenient.

Claims that at least half the national PNG budget have been 'mumuted' or 'squirrelled' away by corruption and malfeasance have been raised continually on this blog and as recently as last year, by a PNG Deputy Police Commissioner.

Some may well wonder therefore why no detailed results of the Commission of Inquiry into public finances have yet been publically released and those responsible indicted?

Others may well think about the glaring questions that continually seem to hover over past quasi government financial dealings like the Taiwan millions for example.

Many others could quite reasonably suggest that without overt and covert PNG political complicity, this could not possibly be allowed to have happened.

It would therefore seem timely that a transparent navel gazing operation could and should be more fruitful than a blame game on those banks that have yet to be notified that any funds they may hold have been the proceeds of illegal activities and should therefore be frozen until the PNG government rightfully and publically claims them back.

A direct request from PNG that the Australian Federal Police conduct an urgent investigation into the matter would no doubt produce some immediate results. Yet can there be any certainty that these results would be acted upon? History would indicate not.

The first action must come from the PNG government and must set out an official request for the recovery action of any illegally acquired funds and any off shore banking accounts or assets.

If the Australian government then refuses to act, there would be a recognised and moral basis for this kind of righteous indignation.

Over to you Mr Koim and your political masters. Everyone is waiting with baited breath for some action rather than some nebulous posturing and shoulder sloping.

Peter Kranz

I think this is derivative of something -

And on to her with victory bled
The right I see with honour's bed
The Brits say anything is said,
It's on to victory!

The white-pela's normal cred,
Is we love you, but with honour's dread,
That you must love us honour tru,
Until we bled for yupela tru!

On to victory!

Black-pela he must fear to tread
On wite-pelas lovely sacred bread
But on our God-given rights to tread!
We will no ore our thoughts to dread.

On to Victory!

Robin Mead

Some British financial institutions have been found recently to have been similarly complicit with corruptly acquired cash in Africa. And around the world banks have been doing this sort of thing for years.

Where are any realistic, meaningful and effective checks and balances on the parasite activities which enable and support corruption and the robbery of innocent citizens?

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