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TIPNG Demands Transparency on APEC Vehicle Procurement

Port Moresby, 18th October 2018 – The only way to stop allegations of corruption is to be honest and transparent in procurement processes, says Transparency International PNG (TIPNG). In a media statement TIPNG is calling for the Government and APEC Authority to publicly disclose the total cost involved in the purchase of the Maserati and Bentley vehicles and to demonstrate their compliance with public procurement processes.

TIPNG said this in response to public condemnation of the purchase of 40 Maserati sports cars which were delivered last week and other luxury vehicles. Justin Tkatchenko MP, the Minister responsible for APEC, revealed that the government had procured the luxury cars on the expectation that they would be later sold to the private sector after the November APEC Leaders Meeting in Port Moresby.

“We have heard only vehement denials of corruption by the Government and the APEC Authority, but they have not been forthcoming with procurement documents, such as an invitation for bids or receipts of purchase, let alone a list of private sector entities willing to purchase the vehicles. It is therefore not surprising that the public are suspicious of these purchases” said the Board of TIPNG.

“To assuage these legitimate concerns, the Government, particularly the APEC Ministry and the Department of Finance, must publicly release these procurement documents, otherwise it may be necessary for the relevant agencies such as the Police or Ombudsman Commission to compel them to do so by investigating the matter.”

The Government recently passed the National Procurement Act as part of its Alotau II Accord commitments along with a spate of recent Public Finance reform legislation, which was intended to strengthen public trust in Procurement.  However it is difficult to see how the general public can have confidence in a system which, in the absence of transparency, is so readily made to support what are seen to be impulsive and extravagant purchases by state entities in the face of declining service delivery, a depressed economy and severe hardships being faced by the ordinary Papua New Guinean.

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NID Investigation report must be published as a public document

Port Moresby, 18th October 2018 – TIPNG commends the Minister for National Planning, Hon Richard Maru, for taking steps to restore the integrity of the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the National Identity (NID) project.

This follows the suspension of former head of NSO, Mr Roko Koloma, and the establishment of an investigation team into the NID project.

In welcoming these positive steps taken by the Minister, TIPNG strongly feels that there is still much to be concerned about in terms of public interest and accountability of public funds apparently splurged on this project

The NID project was launched in November 2014 and was envisioned to become a universal ID card for all Papua New Guinean citizens. Over K200m was allocated for this NID project to be rolled out nationwide.

Instead, there have been allegations of mismanagement levelled against agencies responsible for NID, and numerous complaints by citizens throughout PNG on the inefficient and sloppy service by the Office of Civil Registry.

TIPNG calls on the appointed NID investigative team to carry out their duties thoroughly and with urgency and to furnish a full report to the public.

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TIPNG Newsletter July – September 2018

We have come to the end of the third quarter for this year, and it it has been very eventful.

TIPNG would like to thank all the participants of the various events that happened during this quarter, and look forward to working with you in the next quarter.

Thank you for your continuous support, please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further information on our projects.

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Civic Education – Teaching responsible citizenship in primary and secondary schools

Transparency International PNG, through its School Based Civic Education (SBCE) Project, recently ran a workshop with the teachers of Hagara Primary School in Port Moresby, using civic education curriculum materials developed under this project. During the 2-day workshop, teachers were encouraged to integrate the teacher resource materials with their social science and personal development curricula to develop lesson plans for classroom teaching.

‘Most of the teachers training expressed that TIPNG Civic education materials contained a lot of things that are missing from the personal development, social science and community living resources that they have in their schools’, said TIPNG Civic Education Manager, Mary Udu.

“This encouraging for us at TIPNG knowing that we have filled in a knowledge gap”, added Miss Udu.

She added that after the training, teachers go back to their schools and find that TIPNGs teacher resource materials are very important documents to have in their classrooms.

TIPNG produced materials to assist teachers and students:

  • identify the functions and processes of civil society and state institutions and the way they contribute to national integrity
  • apply skills of active citizenship which model and promote democratic governance in their own community
  • interact with state institutions and demand for better governance.

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Empowered and ready to take action! Youth Democracy Camp a success

Fifty five young people completed the 10 day Mike Manning Youth Democracy Camp (MMYDC), run by Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) at the Correctional Services College in Bomana, Port Moresby.

The camp now in its 11th year, ended on a high noted with participants expressing how privileged they were to be a part of the camp and how much they learnt throughout the event. Positive feedback was also received from parents and family members of participants through social media who commented that they have witnessed a change in their children’s attitude and character.

Participants also had the opportunity to meet representatives from various government, civil society and non-government organizations who facilitated sessions that were informative and engaging. They also took part in a simulation that required them to form political parties, create a constitution and hold parliament sittings where bills were passed, in the Republic of Bomana – a country in crisis. A highlight of the camp was a mock parliament session held in the State Function Room during a full day visit to the national Parliament House.

Camp coordinator, Elizabeth Aribi expressed her gratitude to the Camp sponsors, the US Embassy Port Moresby and Exxon Mobil PNG for their funding support to the camp.

Participants at the camp came from 24 schools and 5 church and community based organizations throughout the country.

TIPNG through its Youth Integrity Program (YIP) has been running the camp with the aim to inform, educate and empower today’s young leaders on democracy and good governance.

After this camp, TIPNG hopes that the students that pass through the camp will be able to participate more actively to advocate for a less corrupt society and explain and teach others about how governments should work.

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Interim ICAC Committee is not ICAC! Legislation taking too long to enact.

Port Moresby, 27th September 2018 – The reported re-established interim Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Committee is not an independent investigative body for corruption. TIPNG calls on the National Executive Council (NEC) to clarify the legal basis for the interim committee to investigate corruption matters, especially when the investigations appear to be politically directed.

The NEC re-established the interim ICAC committee and issued directives for all files and assets of the Taskforce Sweep to be transferred to the Interim Committee and immediate investigations to be conducted into the operation of PNGSDP (Cloudy Bay), Community College Project and the National Agriculture Development Plan. Added to this, the interim ICAC will investigate any case directed to it by the NEC.

To date, no ICAC bill has been passed. The original ICAC Bill is still overdue for tabling in Parliament, it has been six years too long. Papua New Guinea deserves an ICAC that is independent and effective. TIPNG urges the Department of Justice & Attorney General and other agencies responsible for processing the ICAC Bill to facilitate wider public consultation. This process needs to be executed immediately and thoroughly, especially when it was reported that the Government was looking at modifying the Bill to remove powers of the proposed ICAC.

The ICAC is intended to be an independent constitutional body that will have powers to investigate, arrest and prosecute cases of corruption in both the public and private sector. The ICAC is envisioned to work alongside existing law enforcement agencies. Its successful implementation is a requirement for Papua New Guinea after the government ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) over 10 years ago.

Previously in Decision 191/2014, on 18th June of 2014 when the Taskforce Sweep was disbanded, the NEC established the interim committee to be “responsible for the establishment of the ICAC”. However instead of fulfilling its initial terms of reference, it is now trying to do the work of the delayed ICAC, at the directive of the NEC.

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Ward councilors encouraged to have 5-Year Ward Plan for increased Accountability

Madang, 19th September 2018 -Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) facilitated a workshop on Accountability within Local Level Governments (LLG) in Madang this month.

Twenty four participants from Wards 2, 3, 4 and 6 of the Madang Urban LLG (MULLG) were informed of the legal requirement for all Wards to have a 5-year plan as the absence of this vital document would reduce their ability to hold Ward Councilors and LLG Presidents accountable.

Guest speakers from the Consultative and Implementation Monitoring Council (CIMC) and the Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs (DPLGA) spoke to the participants on their role in the communities, and their priorities so that activities could be undertaken in line with those priorities.

These sentiments were further reiterated by TIPNG as Ward Plans were an important part of ensuring accountability at the Ward Level and that leaders that willfully avoided doing this could be deemed to violate the Leadership Code.
The mission of TIPNG is to inform, educate and empower citizens to take action against corruption where it may occur. Through this workshops TI is working with ward councilors to combat corruption by promoting integrity, justice and accountability at the ward level.

Previous Workshops in the Highlands and NGI region were held in the Goroka District in the Eastern Highlands Province and the Hoskins & Talasea LLGs in the West New Britain Province respectively.

The scheduled series of workshops were a result of the LLG Elections that were initially scheduled for 2018, before being deferred to 2019, and the indication that the LLG Service Improvement Programme (LLGSIP) would be scrapped in favour of increasing to K10,000 the annual fundsreceived by each of the over 6,300 Wards across the country.

The two day program of the workshop covered topics such as:

• The roles and responsibilities of the LLG
• The government system and the structures of different levels of the government
• The types of grants received by provinces and community needs

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TIPNG strengthening relationships in the Pacific

Port Moresby, 19th September 2018 –Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is hosting a staff of
TI Vanuatu who is in Port Moresby for a two week visit.

Mr Douglas Tamara, an advocacy officer of TI Vanuatu is visiting TI in Port Moresby to participate
in various facilitated meetings, including the Mike Manning Youth Democracy Camp (MMYDC).

“I have learned a lot from the youth camp and seen first-hand why it is important for youths to
participate in camps such as the MMYDC. In Vanuatu, youths are very shy to express themselves,
but here in PNG I’ve seen that secondary school students are eager to learn new things and express
themselves”, said Mr Tamara.

The purpose of this visit is to strengthen ties between the PNG and Vanuatu Chapters of
Transparency International through sharing of ideas and learning from each other’s experience to
aid in capacity building. One of the main reasons for Mr Tamara attending the MMYDC is so that
he can return home to Vanuatu and replicate the camp and its concepts.

“I have also learned so much on how to organize such an event as the camp and found out that a lot
of credit for its success over the years goes to the network and relationship that TIPNG has with
other organizations in both the government and private sectors”, added Mr Tamara.

During his visit Mr Tamara had the opportunity to visit parliament with the MMYDC campers,
attend a civic education teachers training and participate in amongst other activities.

Apart from TI PNG and TI Vanuatu, TI has chapters or offices in Solomon Islands, Australia and
New Zealand

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TIPNG presents election observation report at state of the Pacific conference

Port Moresby, 24th September 2018 -TI PNG Presented the Transparency International PNG(TIPNG) observation report on the 2017 National General Elections at the state of the pacific conference (SOTP) 2018 in Canberra Australia.

Executive Director of TIPNG, Arianne Kassman, was part of a panel focused on the 2017 National General Elections in Papua New Guinea, together with the Australian National University (ANU) Observer team.

According to the report, in 37 percent of polling places observed, observers reported that ballots were used by other people without their consent or presence. In 13.2 percent of those places, many ballot papers were marked by one person or a small group of people and 27 percent of locations reported occurrences of bribery and intimidation of voters.

Voters were also surveyed and it was found that 34 percent of the total number surveyed reported that their voting rights were taken by others and one third of voters reported threats to voters on polling day to vote a particular candidate. Almost half reported being offered bribes and nearly 40 percent said there was a lack of secrecy when voting.

TIPNG made recommendations in the report for a whole-of-society approach to addressing key issues of concern before the next general elections:

  • The electoral roll update and verification should be given the highest priority by the government,

with the PNGEC utilizing telecommunication, the media and working together with civil societies provincial and local authorities.

  • There must be ample time given to the plan for Security and prevention of election related violence whereby the PNGEC should develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to advocate for violence prevention.
  • Enforcement of existing laws by agencies through officials being identifiable by their name and unique identification number which must be displayed on their uniforms during the elections to combat bribery and intimidation of voters and officials
  • Combating lack of voter awareness through intense awareness campaigns carried out in schools, workplaces and churches. The media also needs to be fully utilized for awareness as well as for reporting election progress.

The biennial conference is a Pacific Research Program flagship event run by the Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA) of the Australian National University (ANU). SOTP2018 brought together leading academics, policymakers, business leaders, civil society representatives and the media to present on, discuss and debate current issues of interest concerning the Pacific Islands region.

The conference aimed to generate discussion on the factors shaping the forward-looking research agenda on the Pacific Islands region.

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