PNG minister suggests new ICAC be headed by a foreigner

9:55 pm on 8 June 2020
Jelta Wong.

Jelta Wong. Photo: Facebook / Jelta Wong

A foreigner should head Papua New Guinea's new independent anti-corruption agency, a government minister says.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill passed its second reading in parliament last week.

With the final reading due in August, a long-touted ICAC is closer than ever to becoming a reality.

The Health Minister Jelta Wong says he's pleased with the content of the bill.

As the head of a sector which has been hampered by corruption, Mr Wong says it's important it be truly independent.

"We just have to wait for the third reading and make sure they put things in place where the people that are in charge are not pushed by other people, or they have relations," he said.

"I think the first commissioner should be coming from a foreign country so that it's a fair and just system."

Last year, a parliamentary committee uncovered extensive corruption in the country's public health sector, particularly around the procurement, supply and distribution of medicines.

The committee heard repeated accounts of health officials demanding bribes from companies involved in distribution of medicines.

It found that due diligence was rarely performed to guarantee the quality of contractors, nor the quality of the drugs supplied under the contract.