TIPNG’s Advocacy & Legal Advice Center (ALAC) is part of a global concept initiated by the TI - Secretariat in Berlin with funding secured from both the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID) and Australian Aid agency AusAID.
The Advocacy & Legal Advice Centre is a service to the general public that provides free legal assistance to victims and witnesses of corruption. It is an avenue for advocacy and to educate the public on their rights and responsibilities to counter corruption. ALAC does not investigate nor does it prosecute because TIPNG does not have the legislative authority to do so. But what ALAC can do is readily provide legal assistance in terms of structuring complaints, referring complainants to the correct authorities and building bridges with state agencies to combat corruption. Since its inception in 2009 and official launch in March 2010, ALAC has conducted partner-collaborated approaches and awareness forums in eight provincial centers (Western Highlands, Milne Bay, Morobe, East & West New Britain, Oro, New Ireland and Central provinces), which allowed the program to access over 3000 people. Awareness was also conducted through television and several radio talkback interviews reaching an estimated audience of over 500,000 people.
ALAC PNG has established rapport with appropriate public sector stakeholders including the Ombudsman Commission (OC) and National Anti-Corruption Directorate (NACA), provincial governments and non-government organizations nationwide to increase public awareness and strengthen the complaint system available. The program has also contributed to the strategic priority related to the re-assessment of the OC complaints systems; an indication of ALAC establishing itself and its involvement to implementing positive systemic change.
At present ALAC maintains a complaints database that tracks indications of where and how corruption has crippled systems within the public and private sectors including non-government sectors. ALAC has registered over 250 complaints with public procurement (16.4%), police (9.4%) and judicial (8.45%). These matters are the common primary corruption areas of most complaints. This tool draws these statistics from the actual complaints registered at ALAC and substantiates other everyday complaints related to those areas of concern.
Following a logging complaint received from a concerned individual from Manus Province, the case has generated momentum through TIPNG’s Advocacy & Legal Advice Centre’s (ALAC) assistance. In February, ALAC hosted and facilitated a forum for Manus Professionals living in Port Moresby to bring awareness on the extent of logging in Manus Province and to strategise a way forward in addressing the issues faced in the province.
In November 2014, RPNGC Internal Affairs Directorate with the Advise by Australian Federal Police conducted investigations training in Buka for Police Officers. In view of the existing partnership TIPNG through ALAC was invited to provide two guest instructors to speak about anti-corruption and good ethics.
What was the outcome? The participants were very enlightened about the effects of corruption and the ways to combat corruption at a personal and corporate basis. The Police representatives from Buka have requested for TIPNG to go back to Buka and conduct similar similar session to more people from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
That is not all. TIPNG and the Ombudsman was also given the opportunity to speak on the same topic to representatives from all the government agencies in Buka. Again the feedback was very positive.
From a corruption complaint that was received at TIPNG, the PNG Institute of Builders invited ALAC to address over 100 builders and Architects that participated in the National Builders Summit in Port Moresby on 3rd December 2014. After a brief presentation on what TIPNG has done to combat corruption, it was recommended the PNG Institute of Builders will use the assistance of TIPNG to review the current system of awarding building contracts through the Central Supply and Tenders Board.
In appreciation to ALAC, a participant said, “Your remarks at the close of the Summit were a highlight of the day”.
ALAC and the PNG Institute of Builders do hope to see the formulation of a mechanism that can bring to light non transparent deals that affect the Building industry in PNG.
A total of 29 people attended the Press Conference on the 18th of March by the Advovacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC). It started on time 10:00 am, presentation was well done by Natasha Utubasi ALAC Program Lawyer, a lot of comments made and questions asked by the Stake Holders and Media people. Question were answered by the Panellist consist of Lawrence Stephens (TIPNG Chairman), Natasha Utubasi (ALAC Program Lawyer) & John Karani (TIPNG Board Secretary). The event finished at around 11:30 am, followed by the media interviews and light refreshment.
A total of 39 members attended the Rules of Association Special General Meeting on the 24th of February. It started after lunch at 2:00 pm, with Lawrence Stephens (TIPNG Chairman) welcoming all the TI members and thanking them to attend the ROA SGM. Jerry Bagita (TIPNG Operations Manager) took over as the facilitator and opens the discussion of the Rules of Association Amendments. This was followed by all the discussions, comments made, voting for & against, some edits were made on amendment rules, some amendments were passed & some were referred to the next AGM coming up for revisit. The Panellist consists of Lawrence Stephens (TIPNG Chairman), John Karani (TPNG Board Secretary) & Jerry Bagita (TIPNG Operations Manager).The event finished at 5:00 pm with a closing remarks from the chairman Lawrence Stephens.