29 Sep 2005

Senior PNG civil servants in US$10m tax fraud, says minister

10:14 am on 29 September 2005

The Papua New Guinea Public Service Minister says senior civil servants have defrauded the state of about US$10 million in tax.

Sinai Brown has made the allegations after discovering a 2004 report which he says backs up his claims.

The minister has also told local media and NGOs that they should be focussing more on corruption amongst the public service and not politicians.

Mr Brown says civil servants are the real culprits of corruption, not politicians.

His spokesman, Patrick Leslie, says the minister's now preparing a submission to cabinet to inform them of his findings.

"If this can be happening to a constitutional office then obviously there must be other people so the minister is now writing to the prime minister and putting together a submission to cabinet to inform members of the national executive council what the minister has discovered and he is also attaching a copy of the auditor-general's report."

Patrick Leslie says the days of corruption plaguing the PNG parliament are over and a new era has arrived.

Today the composition and members of parliament is a bit different. These members are not like the previous members were. Maybe it's due to lack of understanding of procedures, that's why the previous members of parliament were charged by the Ombudsman Commission because of procedural errors. They were not as educated as the current members of parliament.

The minister says NGOs like Transparency International should realise that parliamentarians would not defraud the state of as much financial resources as civil servants would.