13 Jun 2006

PNG Archbishop calls for life bans for corrupt public officers

7:59 pm on 13 June 2006

The Catholic Archbishop in the Papua New Guinea capital says leaders guilty of serious official misconduct should be banned from public office for life.

Brian Barnes says this would help weed out deep-seated corruption in government.

Under the country's Leadership Code, public leaders can be banned from public office for up to three years if found guilty of serious breaches of the code.

But Archbishop Barnes says a three-year ban is a joke and suggests lifetime bans for very serious offences and nothing less than 10 years for serious offences.

Speaking with other concerned community leaders in Port Moresby, Archbishop Barnes says the country's Ombudsman Commission needs to strengthen its role as watchdog over the government.

He says the commission is doing a very good job bringing leaders to account but there are public concerns a current parliamentary select committee review of the watchdog could lead to a weakening of its powers.