BUKA - While Bougainville has a modern system of laws and effective model of representative government and democracy, corruption is still rampant within the autonomous government, Bougainville president John Momis has said.
Dr Momis was responding to findings from the second joint autonomy review in a statement to the Bougainville House of Representatives.
“The report demonstrates that the ABG has been chronically underfunded over the life of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
“Where we have received precious funds, these have not been managed well,” he said, saying that the report found that the government and the public service consistently fail to adhere to legislation and that corruption has at times taken hold.
“This is why I continue to speak so forcefully on the need to ensure that our leaders are held to account,” Dr Momis said.
“I am heartened by advice that the fraud squad will soon be deployed to Bougainville to investigate allegations of fraud. Nobody is above the law. Everyone must be held to account.”
The report noted slow progress in advancing the drawdown of powers to the ABG, a result of poor funding from the national government.
There was also a lack of commitment and engagement at national government level.
“How can we harness the benefits of autonomy when we can’t exercise the powers and functions that autonomy provides?” Dr Momis asked.
“All we do is maintain a system of dependency, a system that relies on a dysfunctional national government bureaucracy and where policy paralysis prevails.
“It is up to both governments to do more,” he said.
The review noted a significant failure of government departments to address compliance issues and administer the law.
“We must harness the legal powers available to us. We have excellent laws, but we fail to administer them,” Dr Momis said.
“The Bougainville Peace Agreement is often hailed as a world best practice document but implementation has been poor.
“These are issues that must also be addressed jointly with the national government,” he said.