5 Sep 2003

PNG says Australian audits can detect aid abuse

3:27 pm on 5 September 2003

Papua New Guinea's foreign minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, says if Australian aid funds have been abused in projects in PNG, the Australian audit processes should be able to detect that.

Sir Rabbie made the comment amid a continued debate over Australia's decision to review its annual 200 million US dollar assistance to PNG.

The Australian government says it has adopted a firmer policy and requires an absence of corruption in return for a maintenance of aid because Australians deserve to get a return on their money.

Sir Rabbie says all aid given by Australia is tied to projects and programmes across a range of sectors and none is in the form of budgetary support.

He also says any review should also take into account the views of Papua New Guinea.

Sir Rabbie says it's not clear how much aid is spent in PNG because some of the money is spent on goods and services, studies and reports emanating from Australia.

Meanwhile, a union leader in PNG says it's never too late to do away with Australian aid.

Andrew Kandakasi told the National newspaper that Australia has made a big noise about aid being an issue of corruption.

He has accused Australians of having corrupted Papua New Guinea's leadership by what he calls legalised bribery.