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TIPNG Signs Anti-Corruption MoU with CLRC

Wednesday 15th September 2021 Port Moresby – Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) and the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) earlier today in Port Moresby have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an agency-level anti-corruption strategy for the CLRC. This initiative is part of TIPNG’s Promoting Anti-Corruption and Integrity Strategies (PAIS) Project funded by the European Union to strengthen public trust in national integrity institutions. 

“TIPNG commends the leadership demonstrated by the CLRC in signing an MoU to develop an agency-level anti-corruption strategy. This decision speaks to the foresight of the Commission in ensuring that it is further equipped to fulfil its constitutional role. It is auspicious that this signing is happening on the eve of Independence Day when all Papua New Guineans should reflect on their patriotic duty to oppose corruption wherever it occurs. To that end, the CLRC has a vital mandate to safeguard the integrity of our National Constitution, so that the rule of law is not compromised in our country. As a key part of the legislative consultation process, the CLRC ensures that laws in Papua New Guinea are of the people, by the people, and for the people,” said Chief Executive Officer of TIPNG, Ms. Arianne Kassman in a media statement. 

CLRC’s mission is to provide the Government with high level, independent advice on the Constitutional Laws and other law review and reform activities, and the state of the laws, as well as to promote community awareness and understanding of laws and the legal system in Papua New Guinea. The CLRC has a special constitutional responsibility to monitor the development of the Underlying Law and provide regular reports to the Parliament on the appropriateness of the application of the Underlying Law principles (Schedule 2.14 of the Constitution). In addition to this, the CLRC Chairperson is tasked to refer any decisions of the lower courts, which may be inconsistent with the proper development of the Underlying Law, to the National Court, as set down in Sections 8 and 13 of the Underlying Law Act 2000. 

TIPNG through the PAIS Project will be working with state agencies to develop internal anti-corruption strategies in 2021, that will be shared with citizens and journalists so that they can more effectively engage with the public sector to take action against corruption. This work has been informed by TIPNG’s 2021 National Integrity System Assessment (NISA) Report which found that all 14 National Integrity pillars in PNG were less than adequate. Furthermore, the NISA identified a clear integrity gap between the existing laws and practice by agencies. The internal anti-corruption strategies developed by TIPNG in partnership with selected agencies will go towards bridging this integrity gap. 

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OGP National Workshop Opens Dialogue on Governance Priorities

Thursday 9th September 2021, Port Moresby – As the single largest multi-stakeholder initiative promoting good governance and a people-focused democracy in PNG, the PNG Open Government Partnership (OGP) has now formally opened up the conversation to the general public through the launch of the PNG OGP National Co-Creation and Good Governance Conference this morning (09/09/21). The conference is co-hosted by the Department of National Planning and Monitoring and TIPNG (as the PNG OGP co-chairs) at the Laguna Hotel in Port Moresby and in partnership with the European Union. 

The two-day conference, which will be held from September 9th – 10th, 2021, will be focused on providing an update to the people of PNG on the implementation of the seven national commitments under four primary clusters in PNG’s first OGP National Action Plan (NAP) 2018-2021, which include Freedom of InformationPublic ParticipationFiscal Transparency, and Extractive Resources Transparency. The conference will also provide an opportunity for interested organizations and civic groups to engage in the OGP co-creation process, by giving their recommendations on what they believe should be the key priorities for the second PNG OGP NAP 2021-2023. 

During the official opening, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) Chairman, Peter Aitsi stated that while the PNG OGP initiative is built on a foundation of public participation and consultation, this was not only essential to building sustainable frameworks for good governance but also to reinstate public trust in PNG democratic systems and processes. 

“The ambition of the PNG OGP encompasses TIPNG’s anti-corruption focus but also goes beyond that to the very heart of representative and participatory democracy in PNG. We (TIPNG) have continued to support the OGP process in a voluntary capacity, because it directly contributes to our national goals and directive principles, as enshrined in our PNG Constitution, and further, implementing the OGP strengthens our systems of governance for the common good of all Papua New Guineans,” said Mr. Aitsi. 

“For those of us who are fortunate to attend physically and be in the room, it is incumbent on us to engage as partners and participate in the OGP process. We need people of goodwill to speak up and suggest ways to commit to improving PNG’s governance through the election year and beyond,” he said. 

The Open Government Partnership is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from national and sub-national governments to promote open government, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. 

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Agency Anti-Corruption Strategies Urgently Needed for PNG

Wednesday 8th September 2021, Port Moresby – To further promote the anti-corruption agenda among PNG agencies, Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) convened a workshop today (08/09/21) to showcase how interested agencies can develop organic anti-corruption strategies to boost their mandate, and better engage with the public. The workshop was part of TIPNG’s Promoting Anti-Corruption and Integrity Strategies Project (PAIS) Project, which is funded by the European Union. 

“At TIPNG, we have positioned ourselves as a strong and willing partner in empowering Papua New Guineans to boldly stand up against all forms of corruption in our country. We want to critically and constructively engage with all stakeholders and encourage popular demand for good governance and accountability, but this cannot be achieved without the aid of our existing state agencies. TIPNG is committed to working with agencies to strengthen public trust through the development and sharing of agency-level anti-corruption strategies,” said TIPNG CEO Ms. Arianne Kassman during the Workshop yesterday. 

The half-day Anti-Corruption Strategy Workshop was co-facilitated by TIPNG and Square Circle, a global development consulting company based in Brisbane, Australia. The primary objective of the Workshop was to inform interested agencies about the contents of the generic anti-corruption strategy template developed by the TIPNG and Square Circle, and to demonstrate how the template could be customized for each agency. The workshop today was attended by: 

  • Auditor General’s Office (AGO) 
  • Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) 
  • Interim ICAC Office 
  • National Economic and Fiscal Commission (NEFC) 
  • National Judicial Staff Services (NJSS) 
  • And the Public Services Commission (PSC) 

TIPNG through the PAIS Project will be working with state agencies to develop internal anti-corruption strategies throughout the remainder of 2021, which will be shared with citizens and journalists so that they can engage more effectively with the public sector to take action against corruption. This work has been informed by TIPNG’s 2021 National Integrity System Assessment (NISA) Report which found that all 14 National Integrity pillars in PNG were less than adequate. Furthermore, the NISA identified a clear integrity gap between the existing laws and practice by agencies. The internal anti-corruption strategies developed by TIPNG in partnership with selected agencies will go towards bridging this integrity gap. 

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TIPNG signs anti-corruption MoU with NEFC

Tuesday 7th September 2021, Port Moresby – Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) and the National Economic and Fiscal Commission (NEFC), earlier today in Port Moresby, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an agency-level anti-corruption strategy for the NEFC. This initiative is part of TIPNG’s Promoting Anti-Corruption and Integrity Strategies (PAIS) Project funded by the European Union to strengthen public trust in national integrity institutions.

“TIPNG welcomes the decision by the NEFC to partner with us through an MoU for the development of an anti-corruption strategy that will support the mandate of the Commission. PNG’s National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2010-2030 calls on state agencies to develop internal anti-corruption strategies and to date there has been almost no uptake of this national policy. TIPNG invites other agencies to follow the leadership demonstrated by the NEFC and implement and inform the public of internal of internal measures to bridge the integrity gap we see in our national integrity system,” said Chief Executive Officer of TIPNG, Ms. Arianne Kassman in a media statement.

The National Economic & Fiscal Commission of Papua New Guinea’s role and mandate are established under the National constitution (Section 187H) and defined under Section 117 of the Organic Law on Provincial and Local-level Government. The Commission’s overarching role is to advise the national government on economic policy and Intergovernmental Financing Arrangement matters. Its specific functions also involve assessing revenues available in the provinces and determining the level of operational (goods and services) grants in the re-current budget to the provinces and local-level governments, monitoring and reviewing the operational grants on how provinces spend this funding and conducting a periodic cost of services study to estimate the cost government’s basic service delivery obligations for grant calculation, policy development and budget purposes.

TIPNG, through the PAIS Project, will be working with state agencies to develop internal anti-corruption strategies this in 2021, that will be shared with citizens and journalists so that they can more effectively engage with the public sector to take action against corruption. This work has been informed by TIPNG’s 2021 National Integrity Systems Assessment (NISA) Report which found that all 14 National Integrity pillars in PNG were less than adequate. Furthermore, the NISA identified a clear integrity gap between the existing laws and practice by agencies. The internal anti-corruption strategies developed by TIPNG in partnership with selected agencies will go towards bridging this integrity gap.

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Civil Society Ready for Open Government Partnership in PNG

In the lead up to the creation of PNG’s 2nd Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan (NAP) next month, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG), has now rallied civil society organizations (CSOs) to participate in the national OGP effort to co-create an agenda of reform.

TIPNG facilitated an OGP CSO session last week (Tuesday 24 August 2021) at the Catholic Bishop Conference. In an effort to ensure CSOs are well equipped to meaningfully participate and contribute in the National OGP Workshop scheduled for later in September 2021. The session was attended by The Voice Inc, Consultative Implementation & Monitoring Council, the Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights, Equal Playing Field, Oxfam, the Institute of Engineers, the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the International Monitoring for Elections Systems Foundation, the PNG Resource Governance Coalition and Bread for the World.

As the CSO Co-chair of the PNG Open Government Partnership, TIPNG is responsible for coordinating the participation of CSOs in the work of the PNG OGP and by doing so, ensuring greater representation of PNG citizens in the development of priorities and approaches for the National Action Plan.

“Civic participation is critical to the OGP in Papua New Guinea, most notably in the development of new commitments for the next two years. It is for this reason that we have hosted this session with CSOs. TIPNG wants civil society to be well equipped and knowledgeable about the OGP process and in doing so, ensuring a higher level of engagement in the NAP co-creation process,” said TIPNG Deputy Director Policy & Partnership, Mr. Yuambari Haihuie following the meeting.

PNG’s 1st OGP National Action Plan will lapse on August 31st ,2021 while co-creation of the 2nd OGP National Action Plan (2021-2023) is currently underway. The OGP platform promotes partnership from Government and civil society to co-create ambitious reforms with principles of accountability, transparency, public participation, innovation and technology. The focal point for OGP in Papua New Guinea is the Department of National Planning and Monitoring, who house the OGP Secretariat.

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INTEGRITY FIJI ACCREDITATION A STRONG VALIDATION OF IMPACT AND POTENTIAL

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) CEO Arianne Kassman joined the official launch of the Transparency International (TI) National Contact in Fiji yesterday, in what has now marked a significant milestone in the progression of the TI global agenda on anti-corruption in the Pacific.

Registered non-profit organization Civic Leaders for Clean Transactions – Integrity Fiji was officially launched as the National Contact for TI in Fiji, during an event last night (Wednesday August 11, 2021). The official launching was attended by Fiji government officials, civil society and the media. As well as a number of representatives from TI chapters in the region, as well as the TI Secretariat in Berlin, Germany, who were able to join virtually.

Ms Kassman, in congratulating the Integrity Fiji team said the accreditation now comes as a strong validation of their work in the areas of in anti-corruption and sustainable development over the past four years, since they were founded in 2017.

“On behalf of TIPNG, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Mr Jofiliti Veikoso, Dr Joseph Veramu, and the rest of the Integrity Fiji team, and especially the many energetic young people who have continued to support this cause. This occasion marks a significant milestone not only for Integrity Fiji in their journey to becoming a fully-fledged TI Chapter, but also for Fiji as a whole, towards consolidating the movement against corruption within the country,” said Ms Kassman.

“Our collective efforts against corruption in the Pacific and indeed across the globe rely greatly on our allies and the strength of our networks. In that respect, we know that Integrity Fiji has a lot to bring to the table in terms of their local knowledge and experience from many years of working in Fiji. We are very much looking forward to working with them, learning from them (especially their youth programs) and supporting them in the next part of their journey to full accreditation,” she said.

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MOBILE LEGAL OUTREACH UNDERSCORES STRONG WILL FOR ANTI-CORRUPTION IN EAST NEW BRITAIN

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) brought its Anti-Corruption Help Desk (AnCoHD) to Kokopo last week as part of its annual outreach program.

The Anti-Corruption Help Desk is a community service provided by TIPNG that provides an avenue for people to report corruption. The AnCoHD assists people by providing legal assistance and seeking pathways for redress. The Anti-Corruption Help Desk statistics of complaints brings to light the hotspots of corruption, informs and empowers people of their rights and responsibilities and strengthens anti-corruption mechanisms within agencies.   

Most complaints received by the AnCoHD in East New Britain (ENB) were related to ineffective public administration in the province, land issues and the lack of funding at the Local Level Government. 

The TIPNG AnCoHD team processed and filed corruption complaints from the people in ENB, with several people travelling in from as far as the Pomio District to file their complaints. 

“The willingness of people to travel in from all four districts to meet our TIPNG team and raise their grievances on corruption-related issues has given us a greater appreciation of the strong will to oppose corruption among people in ENB. While we only hosted a one-day anti-corruption outreach in Kokopo, I encourage anyone who could not make it out to meet us to get in touch with our AnCoHD team on our toll-free number 180 6000,” said TIPNG CEO Arianne Kassman. 

“Our mission at TIPNG has always been to empower people in Papua New Guinea to take action against corruption. This can only be achieved with the help of the public and individuals who have the courage to step forward and speak out against corruption. To everyone who makes the effort to come forward with any information relating to issues of corruption within your communities, know that you are not alone and that we are here to support you,” she said. 

In order to secure strong and active referral pathways for corruption cases, TIPNG also met with several key government agencies within the province, including the ENB Provincial Administration, Department of Lands & Physical Planning, Public Solicitor, and the Ombudsman Commission NGI Regional office. 

TIPNG also visited four secondary schools in the province, including OLSH Vunapope Secondary, Don Bosco Technical Secondary, Kokopo Secondary and St Mary’s Secondary schools to raise awareness about corruption. 

Anyone who needs assistance with a corruption-related complaint can call our toll-free hotline on 180 6000

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TIPNG SCORECARD SHOWS AUDIT REPORTS MISSING

With the National Parliament reconvening on Tuesday 10th August following a 6-month suspension, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has taken the opportunity to highlight that the majority of public bodies have failed to submit annual financial statements, as required under the Public Finance (Management) (Amendment) Act (PFMAA) 2016. Many have failed to provide reports for multiple years. As the end of the term of the 10th Parliament approaches, TIPNG is calling on the Members of Parliament and the Department of Finance to support the Auditor General’s Office (AGO) in making a commitment to ensuring public audit reports are submitted and tabled in Parliament, as a measure to improve the accountability of these entities in spending public funds.

TIPNG’’s “ACCOUNTABILITY SCORECARD” uses the last available report from the AGO to show which public bodies and
statutory authorities have been accountable. Shockingly, only seven of these agencies have demonstrated some level of accountability since 2016, the rest of the 65 agencies have failed to report how they have spent billions of public funds provided to them via the budgetary process. This trend reflects a serious breakdown in financial management and represents a direct violation of the PFMAA 2016, Section 63 provision on Reports and Financial Statements.

“The Minister of Finance and the Auditor General’s Office through recent announcements on the APEC Audit Report and the COVID-19 Audit Report, have articulated a greater appetite for more accountability in the use of public funds. While such efforts should be commended, the people of Papua New Guinea expect more from our government and Parliament in particular, as the ultimate mechanism responsible for oversight of how public funds are spent,” said TIPNG Chair, Peter Aitsi in a media statement accompanying TIPNG’s Accountability Scorecard.

“TIPNG calls on public bodies and statutory authorities to check their score on the Scorecard and work with the Department of Finance and the Auditor General’s Office to ensure the provision of timely, accessible, and accurate public audit reports from all State agencies. As Papua New Guinea prepares for the 2022 National Elections, the Government must ensure that our public accounts are in order and made available to the public via department websites. This is critical if we are serious about keeping our officials accountable in their performance and responsibilities.” Mr. Aitsi said.

To further ensure accountability in the public sector:

  • Members of Parliament must ensure Accountability in the management of public finances through robust parliamentary debate and ensuring the work of committees is effective.
  • Parliament must keep a regular meeting calendar for Parliament sessions, to ensure all public finance reports are tabled in a timely manner.
  • The Auditor General’s office must be provided adequate budgetary support to carry out its constitutional role All executives of government departments, agencies, and SOE’s must be required to provide timely reports under the
  • PFMAA and tabled in Parliament and mandated to make these reports available online so the information is accessible to the people of PNG.

At the 1st National Integrity Summit in May 2021, TIPNG in a European Union Funded report on PNG’s National Integrity System found that there was a significant “integrity gap” between law and practice. In the National Integrity System Assessment Report TIPNG recommended that ensuring accountability through Parliament would help bridge the integrity gap.

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OUR 2021 SECOND QUARTER NEWSLETTER IS OUT NOW!

Check out our 2021 Q2 issue on the link below!

Featuring updates from on:

  • our 1st National Integrity Summit in May
  • our call for greater transparency in the new casino deal between the National Gaming Control Board and the Paga Hill Development Company
  • our call for the National Government to re-establish strong leadership within the PNG Electoral Commission in the lead up to the 2022 National General Elections
  • our ongoing participation in the PNG Open Government Partnership
  • information on our new Integrity Awards of Excellence and our Investigative Journalism Awards
  • and much more!

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AN EFFECTIVE AND INDEPENDENT FASU IS ESSENTIAL TOWARDS CURTAILING MONEY LAUNDERING IN PNG

Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) has issued a statement calling on the Private Sector and Government to respect the Independence of the Bank of Papua New Guinea’s Financial Analysis and Supervision Unit (FASU) and allow due process to be followed.

TIPNG has taken this position in light of the various comments made relating to the actions taken by the FASU in issuing a ‘show cause’ notice to the BSP Financial Group Ltd (BFL).

“The financial intelligence unit of the Bank of Papua New Guinea is an operationally independent unit with its functions and powers specified under Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing (AML CTF) Act 2015. A diligent independent regulator is expected to undertake its responsibilities and dutifully assess the conduct of operators against the relevant laws. The notice issued by FASU to BFL should be viewed as an action that is available to FASU as the responsible regulator. An independent and well-functioning AML CTF watchdog is of significant benefit to the PNG banking and finance sector as it acts as a shield to deflect attempts by corrupt individuals who may attempt to coerce or threaten businesses to breach these laws,” said Peter Aitsi, the Chair of TIPNG, in a media statement.

“Earlier this year, at the EU-funded 1st National Integrity Summit hosted by TIPNG, attendees were informed by the Director of FASU that the regulator had sent approximately 10, 000 files to different law enforcement agencies, yet no action has been taken on these referrals, and even more worrying is that there have been no prosecutions.”

“This was particularly concerning for the country as PNG is scheduled for a mutual evaluation by the Asia-Pacific Group on Money-Laundering’s (APGML) next year. This trend of inaction on suspected money-laundering activities cannot be ignored lest PNG falls back into the APGML grey list, if this happens it will gravely impact the confidence of the international financial markets in PNG’s banking and finance system and also reflect poorly on the reputation of Government of PNG. To avoid such an outcome, the Government and Private Sector must actively encourage and support the efforts of an independent and effective regulator,” said Mr. Aitsi.

In terms of PNG’s overall governance, the role of independent and effective regulators is vitally important if we are serious about reducing the level of corruption in our Country.

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