Cautious optimism about reducing corruption in PNG

11:05 am on 29 January 2020

Transparency International Papua New Guinea says long-term commitment to good governance is critical if efforts to fight corruption can succeed.

PNG was again this week marked as the Pacific's worst performing country in Transparency's Corruption Perceptions Index.

It was ranked at 137 out of 180 countries, with Somalia the worst and New Zealand the best.

PNG's prime minister James Marape has vowed new efforts to stamp out corruption. That includes preparing to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape.

Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape. Photo: PNG PM Media Unit

Transparency PNG's chair Peter Aitsi said there were promising early steps, but he said true reform in this area required sustained commitment.

"There needs to be a very substantive effort here, and a long-term commitment to reforms or improvements to our governance systems in order for us to have these initiatives take hold, and for us to then see the resulting impact in terms of improvements within our corruption perception index."

However, Mr Aitsi said he was "cautiously optimistic" that the new government was making the right moves to reduce corruption in the country.

Legislation allowing for an Independent Commission Against Corruption and for whistleblower protection was a positive sign, he said.

"A lot of this will be reliant on the capability within our Department of Justice and also the ongoing support that the prime minister is able to secure with his various coalition members in order for him to really drive through these changes and these initiatives that he's committed to."

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