28 May 2005

PNG asks for Australian help to fight white-collar crime

8:04 am on 28 May 2005

The Papua New Guinea foreign minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, says Australian help is needed to fight white-collar crime and corruption.

Sir Rabbie says Australian intervention is crucial to help investigate high-level corruption, which could lead to prosecutions against politicians and public servants.

The police minister, Bire Kimisopa, says the assistance programme is vital, as the bottom line is that his people are suffering.

He says PNG is politically stable for the first time in 10 years, and it will never get another chance if it misses this opportunity.

Mr Kimisopa says PNG has been silent on corruption for too long and it can't go on.

The senior ministers were speaking in Canberra after talks with Australian officials on how to get the assistance programme started again.

PNG's Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that laws granting Australian police immunity from prosecution while on deployment were unconstitutional.