Date Posted: 03.02.2017
The reports of sackings of nine civilian staff of the Defence Department should be of concern to all public servants and the general public.
The nine staff reportedly spoke out about issues of maladministration, mismanagement and misappropriation within their department.
It is concerning to read about any threat, suspension or sacking of people who draw attention to illegality, whether it be real or alleged. Witness accounts are powerful tools in exposing corruption, fraud and mismanagement. Raising the alert of authorities when corruption occurs, is an obligation for all public servants.
Whistleblowing plays a crucial role in saving resources and even lives. Improvements will not happen when criticism is punished," said Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) Chairman, Lawrence Stephens.
He added that employers must provide clear internal reporting channels for workers to safely disclose any wrongdoing.
Corruption often goes unchallenged when people do not speak out about it and people should not be punished for expressing their opinion in exposing wrongdoing. This highlights the need for the Government to enact pending whistleblower provisions under the delayed Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill and protect those that speak out about corruption and ensure that their claims are properly investigated.
The Department of Finance should be commended for their "Phones Against Corruption" initiative which is an innovative approach to expose and combat corruption using text message system on mobile phone technology.
Transparency International PNG provides a community service for the public to report corruption called the Advocacy & Legal Advice Center (ALAC). The ALAC provides free support to victims and witnesses of corruption. It is an avenue for advocacy and to educate the public on their rights and responsibilities to combat corruption. The ALAC readily provides assistance in terms of structuring complaints, referring complainants to appropriate authorities and networking with state agencies to minimize corruption. Victims and witnesses of corruption can contact the ALAC on 3202188/82 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be kept confidential.