Author: Michael Arnold

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Freedom of Information Technical Working Group learns from Pacific Neighbors

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) and members of the PNG Open Government Partnership (OGP) Freedom of Information (FOI) Technical Working Group attended an online presentation last Wednesday (July 22, 2020) as a further step towards drafting of the FOI enabling legislation and policy for PNG.

The presentation, which was facilitated by the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UNPRAC) Project, in an effort to take stock of FOI efforts in Papua New Guinea and discuss some key principles to consider when drafting RTI legislation, with a focus on lessons learned from other Pacific Island countries such as Vanuatu. Additionally, Members of the Technical Working Group were able to discuss the role of an independent body, such as an information commissioner or ombudsman, in oversight and facilitating external review.

The panel of experts included presentations by three regional experts from Vanuatu, New Zealand & Australia, to inform members of the Group on FOI Policy and Legislation in their respective jurisdictions. The online meeting gave the Group an opportunity to work with other each other and the presenters to discuss and ask specific questions on what an effective FOI framework might look like in Papua New Guinea.

Members of the Technical Working Group included representatives from the Department of Justice & Attorney General (DJAG), the National ICT Authority (NICTA), TIPNG and the Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR) and is chaired by the Department of Communication & Information Technology (DCIT).

While Papua New Guinea has the Right to Information guaranteed under Section 51 of the National Constitution, guiding policy and enabling legislation is yet to be drafted.

The possibility of a PNG FOI law has been heralded as a game-changer for PNG, especially through its potential to redefine the relationship between PNG citizens and the National Government by ensuring citizens better access to public information, and allowing for greater public scrutiny and accountability of government operations.

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ESA’ALA YOUTH WORKSHOP AIMS TO IMPROVE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUTH COUNCIL

In exploring a new partnership with the National Youth Development Authority (NYDA), Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) co-facilitated a five-day workshop with the Esa’ala District Youth Development Council, in Milne Bay Province from July 6th-10th, 2020. The workshop was aimed at building the leadership capacity of the District Youth Council.

TIPNG sessions during the workshop adapted a practical approach to teaching members of the Esa’ala Youth Council how to identify issues in their communities and to build realistic and intuitive solutions through consultation and the development and implementation of structured robust action plans.

Twelve young people representing Dobu LLG, Duau LLG and West Fergurson LLG in the Esa’ala District participated in the training, which also supplemented practical approaches to tackling youth issues within Esa’ala, with insights on how to facilitate efficient consultation and dissemination of information through the use of digital media platforms.

While most of the sessions facilitated by TIPNG focused on building and implementing effective solutions for issues affecting Esa’ala youth, one session also included a crash course on ethical leadership. Through which, TIPNG presented the participants with three ethical dilemmas, which were targeted at reinforcing integrity in leadership.

“The young leaders were open to learn and it was encouraging to see them grasping the concepts introduced to them. At TIPNG, we have a focus on young people and our goal is to empower a new generation of informed and active citizens,” said TIPNG Youth Integrity Program Coordinator Dagia Aka.

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TIPNG VOTED NEW PNG RESOURCE GOVERNANCE COALITION SECRETARY

Following its inaugural annual general meeting (AGM) last Tuesday 21st July 2020, the PNG Resource Governance Coalition (PNGRGC) has now elected Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) as the coalition’s new secretary.

In addition to TIPNG as the Secretary, the following positions on the PNGRGC Council were voted in the 2019 AGM; Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights (President), Suau Development Foundation (Vice-President), and the PNG Institute of National Affairs (Treasurer).

Following their collective election to the PNGRGC executive during the AGM, all officer bearer agencies will serve in these roles for the next 12 months.

TIPNG Chief Executive Officer Arianne Kassman, who was present at the AGM highlighted the unique opportunity that the PNGRGC presented for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to work together in improving the accountability and good governance of PNG Extractive Industries.

“Ensuring the transparent and accountable management of revenue collected from the Extractives Sector in Papua New Guinea has been a consistent priority for TIPNG. While our focus towards ensuring this integrity continues, we are privileged to now have the opportunity to combine our efforts with those of other like-minded CSOs in PNG as we push for good governance from both Industry and Government agencies within the Sector,” said Ms Kassman.

Founded in 2015 and incorporated in 2018, the PNGRGC is an organization that is broadly responsible for coordinating the efforts of CSOs in promoting and advocating the principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in PNG.

The coalition now aims to achieve this through raising public awareness on resource governance and sustainability issues, and specifically advocate for accountability and good governance in the planning & management of the extractive sector.

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Our 2020 2nd quarter newsletter is out now!

For updates on our major advocacy campaigns, new projects, and how we are adapting to the new normal this quarter, check out this latest issue of our quarterly newsletter!

In this issue we cover major developments to the ICAC enabling legislation and our ongoing push for COVID-19 SOE finance reports to be tabled in Parliament and much more.

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Our 2019 Annual Report is out now!

Covering major updates on our campaigns, services, fundraising, finance and the global movement against corruption, take a look at our 2019 Annual Report for a complete overview on our operations from 2019!

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TIPNG members elect 2020 Board of Directors

Tuesday 30 June 2020 – Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) held its Annual General Meeting last Saturday, June 27, 2020. At the AGM the members received the financials for 2019, considered and passed amendments to its Rules of Association, and conducted the election of the board directors for 2020.

The members elected Peter Aitsi as chair, Secretary – Michelle Hau’ofa and Treasurer – Akae Beach and 11 other including; Brian Alois, Lawrence Stephens, Jerome Sesega, Belinda Kanau, Philip Samar, Paul Barker, Mary Udu, Richard Kassman, OBE, Christopher Elphick and Michael McWalter, OL were returned as directors.

A new face to join the board of TIPNG this year is Ms. Seini Fisi’ihoi, who was also elected to the Board to fill a vacancy left by long-serving director and long-time PNG anti-corruption advocate Fr John Glynn, who withdrew his nominations to focus on his other community commitments.

At the AGM on Saturday, Executive Director, Arianne Kassman outlined TIPNG’s strategy, which places a priority on building the organization’s internal capacity to fight corruption on multiple fronts, while growing anti-corruption networks and consolidating its anti-corruption efforts with those of other stakeholders. Through strong and effectual partnerships.

“While we have had many successes over the past year, we remain focused on growing and reinforcing the efforts of a community-wide movement against corruption in PNG. This includes reaching out to other like-minded organizations and individuals and uniting the voice against corruption in PNG,” said Ms. Kassman.

As a chapter of the global Transparency International movement against corruption, TIPNG has consistently advocated for the fortification and recovery of PNG democratic functions and the civil liberties of Papua New Guineas for over 23 years.

Ends…///

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PHOTO CAPTION:

TIPNG 2020 Board of Directors (back row, L-R) Richard Kassman, OBE, Paul Barker, Lawrence Stephens, Christopher Elphick, (front row, L-R) Seini Fisi’ihoi, Michael McWalter, OL, Treasurer – Akae Beach, Chair – Peter Aitsi, MBE, Secretary – Michelle Hau’ofa, Mary Udu and Honorary Board Member – Lady Mina Siaguru (Absent: Brian Alois, Belinda Kanau, Jerome Sesega and Philip Samar)

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Corruption Perceptions Survey 2013:

This reports sheds light on what Papua new Guineans think about corruption and anti-corruption efforts. It does so by presenting data from a survey into citizens understandings of corruption conducted during 2010 and 2011.

We interviewed 1800 rural and urban citizens across nine provinces and asked them about definitions, causes and reporting of corruption and their perceptions of the effectiveness of organizations in addressing corruption. In addition we asked respondents to evaluate scenarios that might be considered corrupt, as well as a variety of statements about corruption, trust, democracy, the legal system and leadership.

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NIS Papua New Guinea 2003

Perhaps as suggested by a billboard at a busy intersection on a Port Moresby street, corruption is killing Papua New Guinea (PNG). Indeed Corruption in its many forms has saturated many aspects of the public and private sectors of its society. Corruption is endemic and it happens at all levels of government and public sector organizations. There is also evidence of corruption in the private sector, although at less alarming rates.

The performance of various components of the National Integrity Systems study in PNG has produced a mixed bag of results. Except for the judiciary, the media, the PNG Ombudsman Commission and civil society, most government institutions are perhaps tolerant and passive towards corruption.

This report provides an analysis of national integrity systems in PNG and provides recommendations to improve the fight against corruption in country.

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Parliament Must Give ICAC Full Powers to Fight Corruption

Tuesday 2nd June 2020 – In June session of Parliament, when the Bill for the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is tabled for a second reading, the Government and elected representatives must ensure that the law being considered will create a fully empowered entity that is able to actively pursue corruption in Papua New Guinea. This was the call from Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) to the Marape-Steven Government and MP’s on the eve of the resumption of Parliament.

“The Government of Papua New Guinea has made a concerted effort since the gazetting of the ICAC Bill in October 2019, to enact this vital anti-corruption measure in 2020, and for their progress they should be rightfully commended. The ICAC Bill is now being brought for a 2nd Reading in Parliament all Papua New Guineans who value good governance, will be watching closely to see if the proposed ICAC will have the full powers of Investigation, Arrest & Prosecution required to be effective in addressing the scourge of corruption,” said Peter Aitsi, Chairman of TIPNG in a media statement.

“TIPNG welcomes Prime Minister Marape’s recent public commitment on getting ICAC to a third reading in Parliament, and so to assist the public to keep track of the process of enactment, TIPNG has produced a visual guide to the ICAC enactment process.” Mr. Aitsi said. “TIPNG also acknowledges the role of the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Laws & Acts and Subordinate Legislation, as they collect views from the Department of Justice & Attorney General (DJAG) and others to ensure the law for the ICAC, gives it the full powers of Investigation, Arrest & Prosecution in order to give this watch dog teeth. It is our hope that Sir Peter Ipatas, as Chairman of the Permanent Parliamentary Committee, will table a report next week in Parliament supporting a fully empowered ICAC for PNG.”

In terms of parliamentary process, the ICAC Bill will need to be read a second time, followed by a period of adjournment if there are changes and then read a third time in Parliament. Members of Parliament will vote at each of the readings of the Bill, if they are in favour or against the proposed ICAC. TIPNG urges all Papua New Guineans to inform their MP to support the fully empowered ICAC, and to take note of how their MP votes on this essential anti-corruption law next week.

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Click here to download a PDF flowchart of the ICAC Bill progress

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Updated COVID-19 funding timeline

With only six days to go before Parliament resumes at 2pm on Tuesday June 2, 2020 we are all now looking to the government to produce an audited report on PNG COVID-19 SOE finances.

As part of our ongoing campaign, in which we have urged the government to implement proactive measures to safeguard public money and the external donations which have flooded in since the government activated the current state of emergency on March 22 this year.

To kick off this series, we are starting with this updated timeline of funding from both internal and external sources, as reported on the public record.

Click here to download the updated COVID-19 Funding Timeline

Follow our Facebook page for further updates in the coming days!

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