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TIPNG Calls on Chief Secretary to Release Full Manumanu Report

Port Moresby, 20 April 2018 – Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) has said that the Government must make a report on the Manumanu Scandal available for public scrutiny. This report cost tax-payers K2m. Media outlets have not been given access to the full report into the payment of K46m made to a dubious business entity for land allegedly valued at only K10,000 in Central Province.

“The Administrative Inquiry was tabled on the floor of Parliament last week Friday (13/04/18), and this week the formerly suspended Lands Secretary and the head of the MVIL have gone to the courts to be reinstated to their positions on the basis of this completed Inquiry,” said Lawrence Stephens, Chairman of TIPNG, “this is in addition to Ministers William Duma and Fabian Pok who were also sidelined and subsequently reinstated by the Prime Minister after the 2017 National Elections and before the Manumanu Inquiry report had been completed.”

Since its tabling in Parliament, TIPNG has attempted to obtain the Manumanu Administrative Inquiry Report from the Government Printing Office and been informed that the full report has not been released by the Chief Secretary’s Office as custodians of Commissions of Inquiry.

TIPNG is calling on the Chief Secretary and the Department of PM & NEC to release the full report on their public website as a first step to making it available.

“Now that the report has been tabled in Parliament, the people of Central Province, the general public and media outlets must have access to the findings of the Manumanu Administrative Inquiry and we must reflect on whether it meets its original Terms of Reference,” said Mr. Stephens, “For the Manumanu Inquiry to be complete it must include documents pertaining to the valuation and sale of the land as well as the NEC decision resulting in the K46m purchase with funds from the implicated agencies and leaders. If the report is deficient in any of these aspects it is difficult to see how it exonerates either of the two Ministers or eight Heads of Departments.”

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Works Minister must publicly provide evidence that Brian is lying.

Port Moresby,  13 April 2018 – Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) calls on the  Works Minister Honorable Michael Nali to provide evidence that suspended Works Northern Manager, Mr Brian Alois, lied about inflated costs for some roads.

It was reported that Mr. Brian Alois, Senior Engineer in the Momase Region was suspended after making a presentation, at the invitation of the National Planning Minister, on the economics of building roads in PNG. Participants at the National Planning Summit, including the Secretary for Works, heard Mr Alois provide details of the spiralling costs of each kilometre of road construction. Mr. Alois who is also the President of the Institute of Engineers PNG provided details of costs of roads in 1994, 2004 and more recently and stated in his presentation that it currently costs up to an average of K3 million per kilometre of road.

The Department of Works must present its data and justify the suspension of Mr. Alois accused falsehoods, otherwise the public can assume that this is a witch hunt by a Government department terrified of truth.

The Minister of Works called Mr Alois  a liar on the floor of Parliament. Mr Alois is a senior public servant and civil engineer who has given his professional opinion  appears to have risked his career by presenting,  verifiable data in a public forum at the invitation of the government.

“Mr Alois’ suspension over allegedly making false comments at the  National Planning Summit in March 2018 is simply unacceptable. Speakers were invited by government to assist Papua New Guinea by bringing their experience and advice to a public planning meeting. For the government to then punish speakers for doing what they were requested to do is outrageous.. If ministers or other public servants disagree with the facts and opinions it is up to them to produce facts, ” said TIPNG Chairman, Mr Lawrence Stephens.

Citizens expect public office holders to respect a basic principle that effective public service should be seen to be provided with integrity and impartiality.

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Preserve the integrity of the Administrative Inquiry into the Manumanu land case

Port Moresby, 7 February 2018 –  It is extremely shameful that the Minister for Lands and Physical Planning has needed to report files, important to an Administrative Inquiry launched by the Prime Minister, are missing. It is simply not acceptable that Prime Minister O’Neill and Minister Tkatchenko are prevented from delivering on promises they have made to the nation and shamed by public servants who fail to secure documents essential to delivering of these promises.

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) calls on the Prime Minister  to preserve the integrity of the process he himself started in February 2017 when he announced an administrative inquiry into the Manumanu Land Deal.

“If the inquiry is deficient due to missing documentation,  then it is clear that a much more robust investigation, even a Commission of Inquiry, should be established and the matter reviewed appropriate investigators and by the Judiciary,” said Chairman of TIPNG, Mr Lawrence Stephens.

The reported missing Manumanu land files are very likely to have an impact on the ongoing administrative inquiry. TIPNG has been concerned about the upholding of the principles of good governance in the Manumanu case.

Since the case surfaced, TIPNG has been calling on the Prime Minister to revoke his decision to reappoint ministers he stood aside to permit an Inquiry to be conducted. and preserve the integrity of the Administrative Inquiry. TIPNG has constantly called for the tabling of the findings of the Inquiry. It is difficult to see how the inquiry will be effective given the latest disclosure.

TIPNG also calls on the Ombudsman Commission and investigative authorities to take note and strong swift action. The people need assurances that government exists for them, to protect and advance their interests. If the likely evidence of fraud can be tampered with when in the care of public officials, citizens lose trust in the Government system and can even begin to doubt the sincerity of promises made to them.

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Government must be Transparent on Central Rice Project Deliberation

Port Moresby, 26 January 2018 –Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) is calling on Minister for Agriculture and the National Government to ensure that the decision-making process for the controversial Central Province Rice Project must be transparent for public scrutiny. The project involves an alleged international criminal and could damage the food security & well-being of all Papua New Guineans.

In a recent statement Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Honorable Benny Allen, said that the Government was in the process of reviewing the Naime Rice Project in Central Province. Naime Food Ltd, a company only registered in 2011, was requesting both a 10-year break from paying taxes and 80% control of the domestic rice market in Papua New Guinea.

In response to this, Chairman of TIPNG, Mr Lawrence Stephens, said, “The people of Papua New Guinea deserve to know why their Government is endangering their access to food by bringing in a company that was registered only 7 years ago, has not grown a single grain of rice and is alleged to have ties to the former Indonesian fugitive DjokoTjandra. These circumstances raise serious questions about why this proposal was made to give Naime Food, by law, control of 80% of the rice in PNG.”

“TIPNG finds it concerning that other state bodies responsible for Competition, Consumer Protection, Trade, Commerce, National Planning, National Security or even compliance with International Criminal Law have not vocalised their opposition to this shady deal,” said Mr. Stephens.

“As an organisation representing the views of citizens that value clarity and integrity in Government’sdeliberations, we call on Minister Allen to be open and inclusive of all views before making this important decision,” added Stephens.

In 2009 Indonesian businessman DjokoTjandra was sentenced in absentia to 2 years imprisonment and ordered by the Indonesian Supreme Court to pay back $57 million he allegedly received from the sale of now bankrupt Bank Bali. Tjandra fled to Port Moresby in 2009 and was given refuge by the PNG Government 3 years later with local media reporting him getting PNG citizenship. Tjandra’s dealings with the O’Neill government were highlighted in a 2017 Review of 20 Outstanding Cases of National Concern 2007-2017 by TIPNG.

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Oct-Dec 2017 Newsletter – Integrity Champions!

The last three months of 2017 were exciting months for us at TIPNG with the launch of our Elections Observation Report, the recognition of seven national agencies for their integrity initiatives.

We celebrated our 21st anniversary and International Anti Corruption Day at our new office property purchased after 20 years of fundraising. We are on the road to sustainability!

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2017 National Parliamentary Elections not delivered effectively, efficiently and of acceptable quality

Transparency International PNG reported that the 2017 National Parliamentary Election was not  delivered effectively, efficiently and of sufficient and acceptable quality.

TIPNG presented the findings of its election observation on Thursday 9/11/17 during its Integrity Seminar held to commemorate the organization’s 20th anniversary.

TIPNG fielded 313 domestic election observers nationwide to observe polling. The observers covered 536 polling stations around the country to asses if proper electoral processes were adhered to and 1527 individual voters interviewed.

Key findings from voter survey were:

  • voters reported that voting rights were taken by others without permission.
  • voters said polling officials were responsible for delays in voting that resulted in voters not being able to vote.
  • voters interviewed reported threats to voters on polling day, if they did not vote for a particular candidate.
  • voters were offered bribes or asked for bribes to vote for a particular candidate on polling day
  • there was a lack of secrecy in voting. Regional variation was noted, with Southern and New Guinea Islands Regions generally upholding secrecy.

” The survey results not only show serious issues, but that the voters were too tolerant of their rights not being upheld. We want to remind all citizens that their core role is not only marking the ballot paper to choose their leaders, but to have the courage to protect the integrity of the elections,” said TIPNG Chairman Lawrence Stephens.

Key Findings from Polling Place Survey:

  • Often, polling place management and election administration was not carried out according to electoral law
  • Lack of Secret Voting
  • bribery and intimidation of voters during polling
  • security personnel were not impartial
  • polling places lacked election materials including security.

TIPNG recommends for major changes in the organisation of the PNGEC and its partners to promote behaviour that will lead to democratic elections. The following areas are recommended by TIPNG  for the PNGEC and relevant agencies to improve:

  • Enforcement of existing laws by agencies during the elections
  • Electoral Roll Update and Verification
  • Security and prevention of election related violence
  • Election Awareness.

TIPNG looks forward to working with the government and other institutions to implement the recommendations of its report to help improve PNG’s elections.

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Championing Integrity within our National Elections and National Agencies

To commemorate its 20th anniversary, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is hosting an Integrity Seminar to reinforce messages of integrity,  good governance and partnership.

The Integrity Seminar is being held at the Lamana Hotel in Port Moresby from Thursday 9th November to Friday 10th  November 2017. The theme of the event is “Championing Integrity within our National Elections and National Agencies”

 There are two parts to the Integrity Seminar:

  • A focus on the national elections
  • Recognition of  anti-corruption initiatives by national agencies.

“The Integrity Seminar will identify ways to improve the electoral process, with the launch of the TIPNG 2017 National Elections Observation Report, and also strengthen national agencies by identifying and promoting best anti-corruption initiatives that we can be replicated,” said TIPNG Chairman, Mr Lawrence Stephens.

Day one of the seminar (Thursday 9/11/17) will see the presentation of findings from TIPNG’s election observation. During the 2017 National Parliamentary Elections, TIPNG fielded 313 volunteers nationwide to observe polling. The results of the observation will be presented in a report to the Electoral Commission of PNG (PNGEC). It is TIPNG’s hope that the PNGEC takes on some of the recommendations put forward in the report and start working towards ensuring integrity in the 2022 national elections.

Day two (Friday 10/11/17) involves the recognition of anti-corruption initiatives developed and implemented by selected national agencies. The agencies will be showcasing their initiatives to encourage the sharing of ideas and replication of an initiative within another national agency. TIPNG will be presenting awards to the selected agencies To give recognition to these, sometimes unsung, initiatives.

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2017 National Election Observer Report

It is TIPNG’s view that the 2017 National Parliamentary Election was not  delivered effectively, efficiently and of sufficient and acceptable quality.

TIPNG presented the findings of its election observation yesterday(Thursday 9/11/17) during its Integrity Seminar held to commemorate the organization’s 20th anniversary.

Key findings from voter survey were:

  • voters reported that voting rights were taken by others without permission.
  • voters said polling officials were responsible for delays in voting that resulted in voters not being able to vote.
  • voters interviewed reported threats to voters on polling day, if they did not vote for a particular candidate.
  • voters were offered bribes or asked for bribes to vote for a particular candidate on polling day
  • there was a lack of secrecy in voting. Regional variation was noted, with Southern and New Guinea Islands Regions generally upholding secrecy.

Key Findings from Polling Place Survey:

  • Often, polling place management and election administration was not carried out according to electoral law
  • Lack of Secret Voting
  • bribery and intimidation of voters during polling
  • security personnel were not impartial
  • polling places lacked election materials including security.

The following areas are recommended by TIPNG  for the PNGEC and relevant agencies to improve:

  • Enforcement of existing laws by agencies during the elections
  • Electoral Roll Update and Verification
  • Security and prevention of election related violence
  • Election Awareness.

 

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Newsletter – Read about our work!

Read about our activities in this double edition newsletter (April-September) covering events at our corruption complaints helpdesk, elections and our work with young people.
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Corrupt land officials must be dealt with

Transparency International PNG (TI PNG) commends Minister for Lands, Honorable Justin Tkatchenko’s undertaking to deal with officials that issue public land titles to business entities or individuals.

TIPNG is pleased to note that the Minister Tkatchenko is working with the National Capital District Commission to take back all the public land that was given away.

Corruption in land management happens when officials demand bribes for basic administrative steps, but also when high-level political decisions are unduly influenced. Administrative corruption involves bribes and illegal payments made to register land, acquire official documents and approve building permits. These land are obtained and “developed” into shopping malls, housing developments and other commercial activities.

“At TIPNG , we hope that the Minister for Lands also takes on the challenge to improve land governance. It is our strong belief that the right to land must not depend on the ability to grease the palms of public officials, but for officials to display integrity in perform their duties,” said TI PNG Chairman, Lawrence Stephens.

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