Text service for PNG corruption proves effective

7:55 pm on 10 May 2016

A service in Papua New Guinea that allows finance ministry staff to anonymously report cases of corruption via text message is proving effective.

The 'phones against corruption' programme was introduced in 2014 as a way for staff, both in Port Moresby and in remote areas where cellphone is the only means of communication, to report cases for investigation.

Amanda Watson, a visting fellow at the Australian National University, has been researching the programme and says it has so far been very successful.

She said already two people had been arrested on allegations of misappropriating US$158,000 of state funds, and several hundred reports are being investigated.

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Photo: Costantino Costa / Cultura Creative

However, Dr Watson said few people were aware of the programme, and the investigation unit suffered from a lack of resources.

"They said that the service is working, it is effective at gathering information, but they need more resources to be able to investigate cases," she explained.

"As one of them said, 'It'll put pressure on the resources that we have in terms of manpower and finance to immediately undertake some of these serious issues'."

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