Report with a transcript of the discussions held from 09-10th November at the 2017 TIPNG Integrity Seminar. The Seminar saw the launch of the 2017 National Elections Observation Report and 7 Integrity Initiatives of Excellence were presented by their implementing National Agencies.
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Report Title: Transparency International Papua New Guinea Corruption Risks in Mining Awards Country Report
Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) is one of 20 national chapters participating in Transparency International’s global Mining for Sustainable Development (M4SD) Programme. The Programme is coordinated by TI Australia. The M4SD Programme complements existing efforts to improve transparency and accountability in extractive industries by focussing specifically on the start of the mining decision chain: the point at which governments grant and award mining permits and licences, negotiate contracts and make agreements.
The Programme has been about understanding the problem by identifying and assessing the corruption risks in the process and practice of awarding mining licences, permits and contracts. This report presents the main findings from the corruption risk assessment in Papua New Guinea.
Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) in a new report has identified 7 areas within the process of issuing Mining Leases that need to be addressed urgently to minimise the risk of corruption occurring. The report comes from TIPNG’s participation in a global research initiative called the Mining for Sustainable Development (M4SD) Programme.
This programme brings together 17 chapters of the Transparency International movement, in countries where mining is a major component of the national economy, to identify risks in the process of awarding Mining Licenses. The awards process is the start of the mining value-chain and any effects of corruption there will be passed along, eventually impacting a countries’ sustainable development.
The TIPNG Corruption Risks In Mining Awards Country Report highlights weaknesses in cross-institutional capacity, human resources capacity in regulators, coherence of feasibility studies & MOAs, the lack of a national geo-spatial agency, consultation with community representatives, Corporate Social Reporting and issues surrounding the inclusion of women and vulnerable members of communities.
“We believe that national agencies benefit from having an external party like TIPNG assessing the processes to ensure that they are of a world-class standard” said Lawrence Stephens, Chairman of Transparency International on the launching of the report, “Mining is a steady driver of the economy of our country and is key to ensuring future sustainable development. We hope this report and its recommendations will be part of the discussion going forward about how the minerals sector can be better able to address the risk of corruption in the issuing of mining licenses in PNG.”
TIPNG as a local CSO and national chapter of the global Transparency International movement has been supportive of efforts promoting transparency in the resources sector such as being an active member of the multi-stakeholder group within the PNG Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) Secretariat. While the recently launched report has been funded separately from the PNGEITI’s activities, it will certainly inform TIPNG’s work within this initiative.
Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has grave concerns about the Prime Minister’s commitment to integrity, given recent remarks justifying his dramatic change of mind in making two key Ministerial re-appointments, effectively acting against his own earlier decision, which in accordance with principles of good governance, was to protect the investigation into the K46m Manumanu Land Deal by sidelining Mr. William Duma and Dr. Fabian Pok until such time as it had been completed.
On Tuesday 26th September, in responding to questions on the floor of Parliament by Hon. Peter Isoaimo Member for Kairuku Hiri and Hon. James Donald Member for North Fly, the Prime Minister is reported to have justified his controversial decision to re-appoint Mr. Duma and Dr. Pok to ministerial portfolios by saying that, “We will address the issues that may come to light at the end of the enquiry [sic] it’s no point me preempt [sic] the outcomes of the enquiry [sic] under our jurisdiction, the members should know all citizens are innocent until proven guilty.”
This is a direct contradiction of the Prime Minister’s statement to the media in February of this year when he said, Mr. Duma and Dr. Pok, “will step aside from their ministerial responsibilities pending the conclusion and outcomes of the Commission of Inquiry [now an Administrative Inquiry].” Furthermore, Mr. O’Neill said that, “It is now clear that these agencies of Government have not worked together in a co-ordinate way to facilitate the implementation of the 2012 Government NEC decision. The acquisition of this land has been done in clear violation of the Governments decision, and resulted in 78.4 million Kina being paid.”
Chairman of TIPNG Mr. Lawrence Stephens, in a media release, said that, “Papua New Guineans know that if a Minister is being investigated he or she must step down to preserve the integrity of the office they hold, the PM must follow through his earlier commitment to integrity and revoke the appointments of Duma and Pok until the Administrative Inquiry into the Manumanu Land Deal is completed and the results made public.” Mr. Stephens also observed that the Members of Parliament and media must be commended for reminding the Prime Minister of his commitment to integrity and protecting the course of justice.
Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) will not allow a recent burglary to stop their mission to empower citizens to oppose corruption. The newly opened TIPNG office located in Boroko, NCD suffered a break and entry in the early hours of Monday morning with personnel being assaulted and close to K20,000 worth of goods stolen from the premises.
“We are a local Non-governmental Organisation fighting an important battle against destructive corruption and dependent on financial support from concerned citizens and donor agencies” said Chairman of TIPNG Lawrence Stephens, “While we cannot say for certain that the theft was as a result of our work against the corrupt, we will obviously continue to fulfil our mission of speaking up for Papua New Guineans, even though we are now challenged by the loss of our project equipment.”
The matter has been reported to the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) who are currently following all leads and asking for members of the public with information to come forward.