21 Apr 2008

PNG watchdog says dumped corruption inquiry must be re-instated

7:49 pm on 21 April 2008

There is shock and dismay in Papua New Guinea at the Government's sudden axing of an inquiry into corruption within the department of Finance.

The Opposition says the Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, acted to ensure key bureaucrats would not be investigated while Transparency International says the inquiry should be immediately re-opened.

The commission of inquiry had been set up by Sir Michael nearly two years ago after serious concerns alleging widespread misuse of public funds at the department.

But last Friday he shut it down.

Mike Manning of Transparency International in PNG, says his organisation is dismayed at the development and says it is vital that the finance department is fully investigated.

"We want the inquiry to be re-instated and completed. This is the root cause of all bribery has to come via the Finance Department. All the payments have to be made through there, so if you are going to get any handle on what is going on, that is the place it has to happen."