Author: Michael Arnold

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LEADERSHIP AND COLLABORATION NEEDED TO BRIDGE THE NATIONAL INTEGRITY GAP

With the official launch during the first day of the 1st National Integrity Summit 2021 today, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) in the National Integrity System Assessment (NISA) Papua New Guinea 2021 Report has made five recommendations to address the Integrity Gaps identified through its review of 14 National Integrity Pillars (national institutions mandated to uphold the national Integrity system).

In the NISA Report, made possible with support from the European Union, only five (the Judiciary, Procurement, Anti-Corruption Agencies, Ombudsman and The Media) of the 14 pillars of the PNG National Integrity System scored sufficiently adequate, due to the strong existing laws in PNG. Nevertheless, it is concerning that all 14 Pillars still fall short of having both an adequate legal framework and adequate actions in practice. This result points to a number of challenges that require action for preventing corruption and for strengthening democracy in general.

“The National Integrity System Assessment report highlights that there is an Integrity Gap due to the inadequate implementation of integrity laws in Papua New Guinea,” said TIPNG Board Chair, Peter Aitsi stated that “This assessment was based on information collected through thorough extensive research, interviews with anti-corruption experts and in consultation with 28 agencies in Papua New Guinea. It is incumbent on us all to work together to bridge this Integrity Gap, and while it will be a collective effort, it is also clear that firm and decisive action is required by our leaders.”

In the NISA PNG 2021 Report TIPNG, has pillar specific recommendations based on integrity strengths and weaknesses.  More broadly, TIPNG has also identified 5 thematic areas of action for the next 5 years:  

  1. OPEN UP PARLIAMENT! Broadcast full Parliament session, Demand MP Constituent Meetings, Release Annual Report on Parliament Performance, and restore Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates. 
  2. MAKE EVERY VOTE COUNT! Prioritize the National Census, register every eligible voter, and implement the electoral laws, to ensure integrity within the electoral process. 
  3. LET THE PEOPLE KNOW! Protect our media, empower our citizens and welcome informed investment by delivering an effective way for us all to access public information. 
  4. START ICAC STRONG! Recruit competent staff, use the National Anti-Corruption Task Force to coordinate anti-corruption partnerships, and protect the integrity of our new anti-corruption agency. 
  5. BRIDGE THE INTEGRITY GAP! Develop and Recognize integrity initiatives in agencies, enable citizens to hold public servants accountable, align Police Conduct with integrity provisions in Police Act and support multi-stakeholder forums.

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INTEGRITY SUMMIT SET TO CONSOLIDATE NATIONAL COALITION AGAINST CORRUPTION

To mark the completion of the National Integrity Systems Assessment (NISA), Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is now gearing up to host the National Integrity Summit from May 13th-14th, 2021, in collaboration with the European Union. The integrity summit, will feature the official launches of the 2020 NISA report as well as the Integrity Initiatives of Excellence Awards, also known as the I(integrity)-RATE Awards.

This National Integrity Summit is the first of two such events which will bring together government, civil society, the media and citizens to discuss a range of topics around corruption and to improve the country’s response to tackling corruption. TIPNG Board Chair, Peter Aitsi said that while the NISA is an insightful tool for gauging the strength of our integrity systems, the development and implementation of effective solutions must be supported by all participating agencies to ensure a lasting impact.

“The NISA is an important tool, not only as a means of monitoring the health of our integrity systems, but also as a means of identifying key areas which need improvement. This will be the first step towards developing realistic and practicable systems and solutions to address these weaknesses,” said Mr Aitsi.

“Any significant and sustainable effort to combat the corruption that is deeply rooted in our systems can only be achieved if we work together. This summit will act as a point of convergence for all concerned agencies. To raise our collective awareness of the challenges ahead of us and to engage in conversations which help us identify the most successful solutions, as well as how they may be replicated across our different agencies,” he said.

DAY ONE of the program (Thursday May 13th, 2021) will include the official presentation of findings from the NISA report, as well as two panel sessions covering; a.)  the challenges of prosecuting corruption and how these can be overcome, and b.)  how regulators (or regulating agencies) can ensure that corrupt actors are penalized.

DAY TWO of the program (Friday May 14th, 2021) will include the official launch of the I-RATE Awards as well as another two-panel discussion covering; a.) inter-agency approaches to stopping illicit financial flows in PNG, and b.) whistle-blowing and investigative journalism.

The NISA is the first phase of TIPNG’s Promoting Anti-Corruption & Integrity Strategies (PAIS) project. The second phase will involve TIPNG working closely with participating agencies to development of anti-corruption strategies and frameworks to combat corruption within their closed systems as well as their partner agencies. The PAIS is funded by the European Union.

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ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM TO BOOST SYNERGY BETWEEN MEDIA AND CIVIL SOCIETY

In its efforts to continue to support the role of the mainstream media, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG), through its Promoting Anti-corruption and Integrity Strategies (PAIS) project is now enhancing its engagement with the PNG media and Civil Society Organizations.

Over the course of the next ten months, TIPNG will be facilitating a series of engagements with mainstream media and civil society organizations. These engagements will include investigative journalism skills training for reporters, and number of collaborative engagements targeted at fostering a stronger link between media and civil society organizations, through resource sharing and best practice.

As the first of these formal engagements, TIPNG hosted a Media Event to commemorate World Press Freedom Day yesterday (May 3rd, 2021). With the theme for this year being “Information as a public good,” the event will also coincide with the official launch of TIPNG’s inaugural 2021 Investigative Journalism Awards.

The goal of the 2021 Investigative Journalism Awards is to encourage professional journalists to investigate, follow through and expose issues involving corruption and breakdown of governance processes.

“Investigative reporting, is an integral part of journalism and plays a crucial role in bringing corruption to light and fighting against impunity. This makes it absolutely vital to ensuring our government remains a true functioning democracy,” said Mr Aitsi.

“TIPNG is dedicated to supporting the PNG media, as a critical facet of our democracy. To further boost the impact of investigative journalism in PNG we are now rolling out this media engagement series to support capacity building, as well as the establishment of an active coalition on transparent and accountable governance, as well as reliable information networks to compliment the functions of newsrooms around the country,” he said.

The PAIS project is a TIPNG initiative which is funded by the European Union, under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. The current media engagement program is one of several TIPNG initiatives targeted at supporting the evolution of an independent and empowered mainstream media sector in PNG.

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JOURNALISM AWARDS TO NURTURE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING CULTURE

In a bid to support mainstream media newsrooms and encourage more and better-quality investigative reporting in PNG, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has now launched its 2021 Investigative Journalism Awards initiative.

The 2021 Investigative Journalism Awards is an initiative by Transparency International PNG to recognize and encourage local journalists to take on the challenge of investigative reporting. Following the official launch of the awards during a TIPNG media engagement event yesterday, nominations are now open to all mainstream media journalists throughout PNG, under the following categories:

  1. INVESTIGATION INTO STATUTORY APPOINTMENTS AND USE OF PUBLIC MONEY: This category will focus on investigative journalism into administrative reforms on the appointments by merit and financial audits of public money including the procurement process by government.
  2. INVESTIGATION INTO SEPARATION OF POWERS: For this category, professional journalists are encouraged to thoroughly investigate the separation of powers and report on abuses of process and power within the three arms of government.
  3. OPEN CATEGORY: This category encourages journalists to discover and expose facts on cases of corruption at all levels of society and to expose any scandals. This includes, but is not limited to; Malpractice within law enforcement agencies, Political influence in the electoral process, Bribery cases in the elections, Governance of political parties, Transnational crimes and Sub-national level governance.

TIPNG Board Chair, Peter Aitsi with the firm backing of PNG Media Council President Neville Choi added the initiative that would be a step towards to rebuilding and reinforcing an investigative journalism in PNG.

“The media’s role in exposing cases of corruption and malpractice simply cannot be understated. And while we have had a few notable victories over the years, we know that a strong, ethical and consistent investigative reporting culture in PNG Media can also be a strong deterrent and a powerful tool for ensuring that those in power do not abuse that power,” said Mr Aitsi.

“The role of journalists in our country today is even more crucial than before, in not just uncovering, but spotlighting instances of corruption. And to move from just reporting on it, to including informative opinions to highlight and be bold to publicly hold leaders in both the private and public sector to account,” said Mr Choi.

The 2021 Investigative Journalism Awards is a TIPNG initiative under our Promoting Anti-corruption & Integrity Strategies (PAIS) project, which is funded by the European Union and supported by the Media Council of PNG. Winners will be announced during the second National Integrity Summit in February next year. For more information on the awards please contact our team at TIPNG.

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PRESS STATEMENT: PUBLISH COVID FUNDING REPORT AND RESTORE PUBLIC TRUST

Friday, 23rd April 2021 Port MoresbyAs concerns over the abuse of COVID-19 funding have been heightened in the past few weeks, with new allegations of the awarding of contracts to public servants suggesting a direct conflict of interest. TIPNG has now called on the government to release all reports on funding for the COVID-19 response to restore public trust. Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has been calling for greater accountability of COVID-19 funds since the initial declaration of the State of Emergency (SOE) in 2020, and subsequent emergency declarations.

“In the absence of reliable and readily available expenditure reports, public trust in both the National Government and the National COVID-19 response is greatly weakened. It is understandable that citizens will be skeptical and suspicious of the Governments’ handling of public health matters if they do not have full confidence in the management of public finances,” said Peter Aitsi, TIPNG Board Chair.

“Building on from the initial efforts in 2020 to track COVID-19 funding, TIPNG is sharing information from the most recent World Health Organisation situation report on PNG which includes funds received through the Government’s Trust Account. However, this is not all the information, for instance, there has been no consolidated public report released on international donor assistance received by the government or audited expenditure report presented in Parliament,” he said.

To ensure informed public debate, the National Government’s Financial Procurement Committee, under the Pandemic Act, must release to the public the following:

  • a detailed expenditure report for any procurement authorized by the office of the Emergency Controller.
  • a breakup of the Bilateral and Donor assistance, financial or otherwise, received to date.
  • a summary of funds allocated to Provincial Health Authorities, as well as acquittal status.
  • the full Internal Audit Report by Pape Accountants In 2020.

While Parliament has now been adjourned to August 10th 2021, the matter of transparency and accountability in the management of COVID-19 funding remains as urgent as ever. TIPNG now calls on the National Government and the Financial Procurement Committee to prioritize the release of this information, as it is critical to restoring public confidence not only in the COVID-19 response effort, but also in the PNG Government as a whole.

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OUR 2021 FIRST QUARTER NEWSLETTER IS OUT NOW!

Covering updates from our 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index and Anti-Corruption Enforcement dialogue, the National Integrity Systems Assessment, our involvement in the United National Convention Against Corruption Parallel Report, our 2020 Legal Internship Program closing, Membership, our Anti-Corruption Help Desk, and our involvement in the recent Lowy Institute panel discussions and the Provincial Elections Steering Committee in the lead up to the Port Moresby North-West By-elections.

This issue gives a snapshot our early interventions this year and some of our achievements over the course of the 2021 first quarter.

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WE ARE HIRING! – VACANCY FOR SHORT-TERM LEGAL CASE REVIEWER

Do you have a Bachelors Degree in Law, and a passion for helping people affected by the impacts of corruption? Or do you know someone who does? Applications are now open for a Short-Term Legal Case Reviewer. Help us get the word out!

POSITION VACANCY:

Transparency International (PNG) is a Non-Government organisation which empowers citizens and institutions to act against corruption in PNG. TIPNG promotes transparency, honesty and accountability in public and private dealings. TIPNG is looking for suitable applicants for this short-term role:

ANTI-CORRUPTION HELP DESK – SHORT TERM LEGAL CASE REVIEWER

TIPNG hosts an Anti-Corruption Help Desk (AnCoHD) which works to resolve corruption complaints by providing free legal advice and assistance to people in PNG who are victims and witnesses of corruption.

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).

CONTRACT PERIOD:

  • This is a fixed cost contract with the work to be carried out for two (2) hours on Fridays every week or any other day agreed to by TIPNG from the period commencing on the 4th January 2021 and ending 23rd December 2021.
  • At an Hourly rate of K150 for two hours on the selected day

SCOPE OF WORK:

The Legal Case Reviewer shall;

  • Provide legal advice for pre-screened clients as per the schedule by the coordinator, with an outline of at least a week of a month.
  • Get soft copies or hard copies of files from the agents of the contractee
  • Prepare status briefs of cases that require legal advice and interpretation of laws
  • Where necessary, contact the client to obtain further information
  • Prepare briefs to Pro Bono Lawyers where the files need legal representation
  • Draft letters of referrals and or review draft letters from AnCoHD Coordinator of referrals to the Government authorities.
  • Advice the agents of the contractee when it is not suitable to be contacted
  • Be available to be contacted through telephone, email, Facebook and WhatsApp
  • Return completed files at the end of every week
  • Inform the agents of the contractee immediately where there is a conflict of interest in any of the files
  • Submit soft and hard copies of the respective status reports, letter of referrals or brief to AnCoHD Coordinator
  • Keep a record of the telephone calls that is made to all clients

 

QUALIFICATIONS, EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS:

The Legal Case Reviewer should demonstrate the following:

  • Possess a Bachelor of Law (LLB) with an unrestricted practicing certificate
  • Minimum 3 years’ experience as a legal officer or a practicing lawyer
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications
  • A keenness to be a team player with multi-tasking ability
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality of sensitive information and other related issues
  • An understanding of the work of TIPNG and civil society in Papua New Guinea
  • Skilled in handling clients with professionalism and sensitivity
  • Excellent written, verbal and listening skills
  • Intuitive problem solver with excellent organization skills and ability to achieve results

Applications must include three (3) referees with reliable telephone numbers and/or email address. Send applications to;

The Chief Executive Officer

Transparency International PNG Inc

P O Box 591, Port Moresby, NCD

Applications can be hand delivered at the TIPNG office at Lokua Avenue, Sec 54, Lot 31 or emailed to info@transparencypng.org.pg

For More information, call us on Tel: 3237517 or 3234917

Application close on the 19th March, 2021 at 5:00pm.

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LAW STUDENTS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE 2020-2021 INTERNSHIP

Empowering the next generation of legal professionals with anti-corruption skills will strengthen the national integrity of Papua New Guinea for years to come. This was among the sentiments expressed at the formal closing of Transparency International Papua New Guinea’s (TIPNG) innovative Legal Internship Program (LIP).

This annual program by TIPNG, in partnership with the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), began in 2017. Through the LIP four students in their 3rd and 4th year of study at the UPNG School of Law are engaged for 8 weeks to develop their professional skills and assist people in Papua New Guinea to take action against corruption.

“We are thankful to Larry Agdop, Dempstar Kiasaka, Marlyna Kispe and Rebekah Watinga for their contribution to the work of TIPNG since they started in December 2020. They have been exemplary young Papua New Guineans in their conduct and commitment. It is our hope that the skills they have learned in the TIPNG office will inform how they, as legal professionals, contribute to the fight against corruption in Papua New Guinea,” said Arianne Kassman, TIPNG Chief Executive Officer, at the closing of the LIP on Friday 12th February 2021.

The four Interns in the 2020-21 LIP intake primarily assisted with TIPNG’s Anti-Corruption Help Desk (AnCoHD) which offers free and confidential advice to victims and witnesses of corruption in Papua New Guinea. Corruption complaints can be lodged by either visiting the TIPNG office, or calling 180 6000 which is the toll-free hotline. While TIPNG cannot investigate, arrest or prosecute cases of corruption, through the AnCoHD matters can be referred on behalf of clients to responsible agencies for assistance.

In addition to AnCoHD duties, the LIP interns assisted with legislative review, policy briefs, clerical tasks, events preparations and stakeholder meetings while with TIPNG. During the internship they also received presentations from the Interim ICAC, the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) Secretariat, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR), Aila Consulting Ltd, TIPNG founding Director Richard Kassman and legal professional Nou Vada. TIPNG recently signed an MoU with UPNG to run the LIP till 2024 and as such the next intake will be in November 2021.

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WE ARE HIRING! – VACANCY FOR FINANCE OFFICER

Do you have a diploma or higher in Accounting or Commerce and wish to join a dynamic team that is committed to driving positive change in our country, or know someone who is?

We are now accepting applications for a new finance officer! Help us get the word out.

Finance Officer – Terms of Reference

Generic Responsibilities:

  1. Adherence to TIPNG policies and guidelines
  2. Prepare and develop reports as required by management
  3. Ensure proper filing of documents – online and offline
  4. Live and breathe the values of TIPNG within and outside of the organisation and throughout all work carried out on behalf of the organisation
  5. Actively seek Membership for TIPNG amongst stakeholders

Specific Responsibilities:

  1. Finance
  • Payments
  • Reviewing requisitions and payments before approval by the CEO
  • Managing all payments, accounts receivable and accounts payable
  • Monitor and reconcile Petty Cash daily
  • Reconcile Project Contingency acquittals
  • Weekly payment Data Entry on MYOB
  • Invoices:
    • Raise all invoices for TIPNG and follow up on payments
    • Monthly reconciliation with Membership & SASWAC
  • Monthly Financial Reports:
    • Maintaining the ledger and preparing monthly bank reconciliations, profit and loss statements and balance sheet
    • Reconciliation and filing of bank statements on a monthly basis with appropriate approval.
    • Supervise the procurement process and ensure compliance to prudent financial principles and value for money.
  • Payroll:
    • Preparation of staff Payroll and remittance of statutory returns and ensure compliance with statutory regulations.
  1. Assets:
  • Annual physical verification of assets
  • Recognition of assets in MYOB
  1. Compliance:
  • Meeting all TIPNG taxation requirements for IRC and other statutory requirements
  • Applying the financial procedures and requirements as set out in the Financial
  • Procedures Manual
  • Ensuring implementation of sound accounting practice and resource management
  • Formulation, review and implementation of policies, systems and procedures to enhance and ensure efficient management of finances
  1. Audit:
  • Maintain accurate and up to date financial and contractual records and a register of fixed
  • assets
  • Preparation of TIPNG Financial Books for the annual audit
  • Liaising with auditors to ensure that audits are conducted in a timely manner
  • Ensuring that recommendations made by the auditors are implemented
  1. Reporting:
  • Preparing regular financial reports to Management, Board and Donors
  • Reviewing data captured in MYOB before YTD Preparation. This will involve checking
  • accuracy of Trial Balance, statement of Financial position, and statement of income.
  • Ensuring National Chapter Financial Information is updated each year
  • Managing communication with external agencies and partners regarding finance
  • Preparations of timely and accurate donor and management reports, and budget
  • proposals that includes being responsive to donor conditions.
  1. Undertake other office duties as directed including participating in project and other operational work of TIPNG in relation to governance and financial management

Ideals and Abilities:

  • Be able to work on non-routine hours as and when required
  • Be able to work under pressure & with limited supervision
  • Driver’s license would be an advantage
  • Is organized, proactive, understands basic accounting,

Qualifications & Experience:

  • Diploma Accounting/Commerce from recognized institution or higher
  • Minimum 3-5 years of experience.
  • NGO accounting and experience working with donor funds required
  • Computer literate with MYOB accounting package experience
  • Computer literate with MS Office, particularly MS Excel
  • Good budgeting skills especially set up and reporting using MYOB and spreadsheets

Closing Date: Friday 26th February 2021

Applications must include:

  1. Application Letter
  2. CV no longer than 3 pages
  3. List of 3 referees with reliable contact details
  4. 3 most relevant support documents

Applications can be sent to:

Chief Executive Officer

Transparency International PNG Inc.

P O Box 591, Port Moresby, National Capital District

Email: info@transparencypng.org.pg

Or Delivered to: Transparency International PNG Office, Section 54 Lot 31, Lokua Avenue, Boroko

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CPI2020 HIGHLIGHTS URGENT NEED FOR GREATER COLLABORATION AGAINST CORRUPTION

In support of government efforts to introduce effective anti-corruption reforms in PNG, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG), facilitated an Anti-Corruption Enforcement Dialogue involving the leaders of law and justice sector agencies, in tandem with their official launching of the 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report on Thursday January 28th.

A focus for this year’s CPI report was to measure, in the various countries, the impact of persistent corruption on health care systems and the how this may contribute to the erosion of democratic norms. The CPI results showed the impacts were more pronounced amid the recent COVID-19 pandemic for low-scoring countries.

In launching this year’s CPI report, TIPNG highlighted that PNG scored 27 out of 100, with a ranking of 142 out of 180 countries assessed.

The 2020 CPI results were officially launched in PNG under the theme: “Putting the sight back in oversight”.

Following an assessment of recent legislative reforms introduced by the PNG government, TIPNG has recommended four core areas which, if focused on, have the potential to drastically reduce the impact of corruption in country.

TIPNG’s four recommendations are:

  • Strengthening Oversight institutions: Anti-corruption authorities and oversight agencies must be independent of political influence and must have appropriate funding to perform their duties effectively.
  • Ensuring open and transparent contracting: Improved transparency in government tendering and expenditure will ensure that resources reach those most in need.
  • Promoting greater civic space: Allow for active citizen engagement, better use of public consultation forums in planning and national budget development so that government can be more accountable to its people.
  • Improve access to public information: Ensuring the public is able to better access public information in a timely manner will assist achieve greater transparency and accountability for Government.

During the official launch event, TIPNG Board Chair Peter Aitsi stated that corruption was not an issue which could solely be addressed by the government, but that greater collaboration and solidarity is critical to ensure effective and sustainable change is achieved.

“Greater collaboration is needed from all state and non-state actors to ensure that the recent reforms by the government are effectively implemented and translate into meaningful change at the community level. The impact of corruption in our country cannot be reduced unless we demonstrate solidarity and each person plays their part in driving the change we want to see in our country,” he said.

The official launch was attended by a number notable officials within the Government, Law & Justice Sector and civil society, including Prime Minister James Marape, Police Minister William Onglo, Chief Justice Sir Gibuma Gibbs Salika, Department of Prime Minister Secretary Ivan Pomaleu, Public Solicitor Leslie Mamu, Deputy Public Prosecutor Camilus Sambua, Public Service Commission Secretary Terence Tupi, Police Commissioner David Manning, National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate – Director Mathew Damaru, Interim Independent Commission Against Corruption Chair Thomas Eluh, Law & Justice Sector Chair Stanley Raka, Department of Justice and Attorney General Director (Legal Policy and Governance Branch) Josephine Pitmur, Catholic Bishops Conference General Secretary Fr Giorgio Licini and Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights Executive Director Peter Bosip.

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