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Standard of Parliamentary Conduct Must Improve

Monday 14th December 2020, Port Moresby – The Supreme Court has handed down a ruling by a panel of 5 judges determining the constitutionality of events in Parliament during November. The ruling is a clear reminder of the need to maintain higher standards of conduct within our institutions, this is more so important with regard to the conduct of Parliament. Papua New Guineans have every right to expect our elected leaders to lead by example in demonstrating proper conduct in carrying out their responsibilities.

The Supreme Court in its ruling has articulated and provided guidance on role and conduct of the office of the Speaker of Parliament, the Clerk of Parliament and of MP’s ensuring the constitutional functions of Parliament are properly maintained. These officials must conduct their duties for the public good and must always seek to maintain the integrity of the public office they hold. This is TIPNG’s view noting the Speaker of Parliament has followed the Supreme Court’s direction to reconvene Parliament on Monday (14/12/20).

“People in Papua New Guinea are right to wonder, who actually stands to benefit from all the court cases, in fact questions are being asked on how these cases are being funded and who is funding the political camps. Is it being funded from public funds, or private individuals or groups? Whatever the source, it should be extremely worrying given our current economic state and also the potential for external influence of our political leaders” said Peter Aitsi, Chair of TIPNG, in a media statement.

“Neither political side can claim the moral high ground, if both disregard the integrity of their public office and act against the public good for their own political self-interest. What the people of Papua New Guinea want to see is adherence to democratic principles in Parliament and compliance with legislative processes. TIPNG acknowledges the underlying strength of our democracy, and this is reflected in the conduct of our defense force, the police, the judiciary and our fellow Papua New Guineans for respecting the constitutional processes as they occur,” said Mr. Aitsi.

TIPNG encourages citizens to seek information from reliable sources, ensuring they read and share verified information. TIPNG encourages the PNG media to remain diligent and to be objective in their news gathering as this will be vital to ensure our public is kept informed by verified and non-partisan information.

Freedom of Information is vital to our democracy, and should not be squandered by sharing politically motivated falsehoods, which may in turn be used as a justification for state-censorship as we have seen in other jurisdictions within our region

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10 things you need to know about the ORGANIC LAW ON THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AGAINST CORRUPTION

On Thursday 12 November 2020,  Parliament passed the Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). While the Act is yet to be certified and published in the National Gazette, this vote signifies an important step in our nation’s anti-corruption efforts. Here are ten things you need to know about the ICAC.

10 things you need to know about the OLICAC – Download here

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SHORT TERM LEGAL CASE REVIEWER

TIPNG is seeking a suitably-qualified person to work as a Short-term Legal Case Reviewer under the Anti-Corruption Help Desk for 1 year (January – December 2021).

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Digital Engagement Officer

Dear

Idea makers,

Digital savvy,

Boundary pushers,

Relentless creatives,

Beautiful minds that produce videos, design graphics and other digital storytelling,

WE ARE HIRING!

DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT OFFICER

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Content Developer

Do you know someone that:

  • has a sharp mind.
  • listens to understand,
  • loves to read,
  • savagely takes notes,
  • is open to feedback,
  • has experience in analytical work?

Refer them to us!

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Coalition Engagement Coordinator

We are looking for an energetic people-person with a lot of tact and patience to build our anti-corruption coalition. Now this calls for some planning skills too!

Applications close 18 December 2020.

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TIPNG Welcomes ICAC

Tuesday 17 November, Port Moresby – Transparency International PNG congratulates the people of Papua New Guinea on the passing of the Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

“The campaign against corruption must be placed at the top of the agendas of our societies. Unless corruption is checked, it will poison our ways of life and corrode standards. At TIPNG, we welcome this law and the eventual establishment of the ICAC in our country. It is our hope that this body will further empower people in PNG to take action against corruption and work to protect the integrity of the people, society and nation of Papua New Guinea, “said Chairman of TIPNG, Mr Peter Aitsi.

Once established, the primary functions of the ICAC will be to:
1. Prevent and reduce corrupt conduct, undertake research, recommend systems, strategies, practices and policies;
2. Investigate and prosecute corrupt conduct; and
3. Arrest a person of corrupt conduct.

“The real challenge will be to ensure that the regulations that guide the ICAC will implement the spirit of the Legislation,” added Mr Aitsi.

It is also important to note that the functions of ICAC will not overlap other existing constitutional offices:

• The ICAC will investigate complaints of public officials or any individuals with corrupt conduct, while the Ombudsman Commission investigates only Leaders specified under the Leadership Code;
• ICAC has the same duties and powers of Police to arrest. This is to aid delay or compromise of investigation in anticipation for the Police to exercise their powers and also the limitations of resources by Police;
• ICAC can prosecute offenses relating to corrupt conduct but with written consent from the Public Prosecutor, as they are the mandated Office to carry out the prosecution function of the State.

Enacting the OLICAC and establishing the ICAC will boost Papua New Guinea’s international reputation and demonstrate leadership on governance issues. The ICAC will help to maintain stability in the country and inspire confidence in financial arrangements and restore public confidence in civil service. It is also the hope of TIPNG that the ICAC will ensure a level playing field for private businesses.

For the people of Papua New Guinea, the ICAC paves the way to help maintain a way of life that is fair and decent. It is TIPNG’s hope that the ICAC will empower citizens to take action against corruption.

TIPNG now looks forward to the certifying and enactment of the ICAC.

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TIPNG Signs 5-year MoU with UPNG for Legal Interns

Monday 12th October 2020, Port Moresby – Sharing of resources between partners is a vital strategy in the fight against corruption as stated by Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) at the signing of a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) School of Law on Monday 12th October in Port Moresby.

 

The MoU between the two organisations will enable the continuation of TIPNG’s annual Legal Internship Program (LIP) which started in 2018 and is now currently recruiting its 4th batch of students from the UPNG School of Law to be interns at TIPNG under the Anti-Corruption Help Desk (AnCoHD) Program.

“TIPNG has been fortunate over the last 3 years to have 11 students from the UPNG School of Law learn on the job with us as we seek to empower Papua New Guineans to take action against corruption,” said TIPNG Chief Executive Officer Arianne Kassman.

“This partnership enables Law Students at UPNG to receive workplace experience with the country’s leading anti-corruption CSO and offers those few that are selected the unique opportunity to apply their legal skills to ensure justice for victims and witnesses of corruption in PNG.”

TIPNG’s AnCoHD Program offers free legal advice to Papua New Guineans that wish to report cases of corrup

 

tion, specifically where a person in a position of authority, abuses their position for personal gain. The AnCoHD has a toll-free number 180 6000 that can be called from Digicel, Bmobile & Telikom all across the country by those who want assistance with an issue of c

orruption. The LIP interns will also assist with TIPNG’s other Policy, Advocacy, Communications, Events and Administrative duties.

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TIPNG NIS ASSESSMENT PAVING THE WAY FOR ICAC

In anticipation of the establishment of a PNG Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is now undertaking a National Integrity Systems Assessment (NISA).

As a precursor to a fully functioning PNG ICAC, the NISA will undertake a review of internal policies within public offices in order to identify recommendations, which would allow for more streamlined implementation of anti-corruption strategies across the three arms of PNG Government. As the first of two phases in TIPNG’s new Promoting Integrity and Anti-corruption Strategies (PAIS) project, the NISA will be focused on;

  • Assessing whether there has been any progress made over time with regards to the country’s integrity systems,
  • Assessing whether there has been any progress made over time with regards to the country’s integrity systems,
  • Identifying specific changes (both positive and negative) which have occurred since the full NIS report was published in 2003,
  • And identifying recommendations and advocacy priorities for improving the country’s integrity systems.

An induction workshop hosted by TIPNG at the Lamana Hotel today, was the first step towards solidifying a partnership with government and statutory agencies. The event was attended by more than 10 representatives from different government agencies including European Union Ambassador Jernej Videtic, Department of Justice and Attorney General Secretary Dr Eric Kwa and TIPNG founding director, Richard Kassman.

Mr Kassman, during the event today highlighted the importance of strong collaboration between all stakeholders as critical towards achieving more effective and sustainable outcomes.

“TIPNG remains very optimistic about the possibility of a fully empowered PNG ICAC in the near future. It has been a recommendation which we, as an organization, have been advocating for the better part of the last 23 years,” said Mr Kassman.

“However, we are also fully aware that an effective ICAC cannot function in isolation. Raising the integrity of governance in PNG has to be a collaborative effort. And our current joint efforts with other government agencies through the NISA and the PAIS Project as a whole, are targeted at mitigating this risk.”

“The overall objective of the PAIS Project is to strengthen public trust in state agencies. The project will achieve this by ensuring that there are formal pathways for addressing corruption both internally, within themselves, as well as externally, through the ICAC, once it is brought fully online,” He said.

With funding from the European Union, the entire project has been developed to include heavy consultation with agencies in areas of government including the; Legislature, Executive, Judiciary, Public Prosecutor, Law Enforcement Agencies, Electoral Management Agency, Ombudsman, Supreme Audit Agency, Anti-Corruption Agency, Political Parties, Media, Civil Society and businesses.

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Our First PAIS Project Newsletter out now!

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is excited to inform everyone about its new project: Promoting Anti-Corruption & Integrity Strategies (PAIS). We are also grateful for the support of the European Union.

About the Project: As the name suggests, the PAIS Project will work with state agencies to enhance their capacity to address corruption complaints both internally and externally. The PAIS Project believes that when frameworks and actual practice by agencies to address corruption are working well, it enhances the agency’s reputation and strengthens public trust in that agency.

Building on from the past: The last NISA for Papua New Guinea was done in 2003. In this report, it was observed that there were adequate anti-corruption laws available in Papua New Guinea (Sections 87, 88, 92 and 97 of the Criminal Code refer to fraud, undue influence, tendering and bribery). The weakness however was in the effective implementation and policing of these laws. A related weakness was that organizations entrusted to fight corruption such as the Ombudsman Commission had not been given enough ‘teeth’ to deter corrupt practices.

The PAIS Project will revamp the NIS Assessment survey tool and evaluate key public institutions and non-state actors in Papua New Guinea’s governance system with regard to their overall capacity, internal governance systems and procedures and role in the overall integrity system.

Progress:

• There will be an Integrity Seminar held in September 2020 to invite agencies and organisations to participate in PAIS.

• Following the Integrity Seminar will be an Integrity Summit which is scheduled to be held in February 2021 to present the NIS assessment findings.

You and PAIS: Why should the PAIS Project matter to you? Through the PAIS Project, agencies in Papua New Guinea will have effective strategies in place to address corruption and other issues of abuse of power. In turn, citizens will be more empowered to access these systems to report corruption.

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