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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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POSITION VACANT: ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATIONS OFFICER

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is a non-government organization dedicated to fighting corruption in PNG and promoting transparency, honesty and accountability in public and private dealings.

TIPNG is an equal opportunity employer who promotes respect in the work place. We take pride in also offering the following:

  • A fun & exciting work environment with the opportunity to contribute to positive societal change
  • Training & development for our employees
  • Exposure to local, regional & international networks
  • A competitive salary to attract the right person
  • Access to supportive coaches and mentors

We are looking for suitable applicants to fill this new and exciting position as ADMINISTRATION & OPERATIONS OFFICER.

The Administration & Operations Officer will work with the Organizational Development team and ensure the efficient and effective running of the organization’s overall operations. 

Generic Responsibilities

  1. Ensure 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. Actively seek Membership for TIPNG amongst stakeholders
  5. Live and breathe the values of TIPNG within and outside of the organization and throughout all work carried out on behalf of the organization

Specific Responsibilities

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the Administration & Operations Officer shall:

  1. Administration
  2. Maintain office equipment and systems, including data and information management, filing and backup systems
  3. Respond to incoming emails, social media posts and requests in a timely and professional manner
  4. Keep a record of all incoming and outgoing correspondence
  5. Maintain strong relationships with suppliers and clients and other TIPNG staff
  6. Manage stationery, staff amenities and any items needed for the office
  7. Keep a Master Contact list for all organizations and individuals involved in the work of TIPNG
  8. Ensure the Insurance covers are renewed and updated
  • Projects & Programs
  • Assist with the coordination of logistics of projects and programs if and when required
  • Compile donor reports for Management to review
  • Property
  • Attend to any issues reported under the rental lease agreement
  • Attend to security concerns raised
  • Oversee the work of the Cleaner and Groundskeeper
  • Board
  • Ensure board reports are ready 7 days before a meeting
  • Ensure minutes of board minutes are recorded and circulated within 7 days of the meeting occurring
  • Organize refreshments for meetings held  at the TIPNG office
  • Lead the organizing of the Annual General Meeting, in close consultation with the Chief Executive Officer
  • Keep Calendar of the Chief Executive Officer
  • Human Resource
  • Facilitate the recruitment processes in an effective, timely, fair and transparent manner to select qualified candidate for the job
  • Ensure all employee information and recruitment processes are recorded in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Ensure all employee information properly in hard and soft copies, including personal documents, contracts and appendices, policies sign-off, performance and training records, etc are filed properly.

SKILLS & REQUIREMENTS

  • 2-3 years of experience in administration work
  • Be computer literate, able to use MS Office Suite
  • Some experience in Finance and Human Resource
  • Great communication skills
  • Be exceptionally well organized, flexible and have the ability and multi-task
  • Must have experience of working effectively under pressure, to tight deadlines, for long hours, whilst maintaining professionalism
  • Be a team player, willing to support team members in their roles, and to be able to seek support from them when you need it
  • Must be highly flexible

APPLICATION CLOSE: Friday 30th July 2021

Applications must include a CV no longer than 3 pages, a Letter of Application, 3 most relevant certificates and a list of 3 referees with reliable telephone number and/or email address.

Send applications to:

Chief Executive Officer

Transparency International PNG Inc.

P O Box 591, Port Moresby, NCD

Applications can be dropped off at the TIPNG office: Section 54, Lot 31, Lokua Avenue, Boroko

For more information, call Tel: 3234917 or 3237517 or email: info@transparencypng.org.pg

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APPOINT A COMPETENT ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER AND UPDATE THE COMMON ROLL FOR 2022 NATIONAL ELECTIONS

Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) welcomes the Government’s actions to publicly advertise the position of the Electoral Commissioner this week. This action comes on the back of TIPNG raising concerns over the importance of having competent and stable leadership within the PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC), if we are to have any chance of delivering a reasonable National General Election in 2022.

The success of the 2022 National General Elections will greatly depend on our efforts to restore the public trust in the PNGEC, and we can start by ensuring we undertake a transparent and rigorous process to appoint a leader that can restore integrity to the office and the organisation.

“On June 2nd, during the Moresby Northwest By-election, TIPNG drew the Government’s attention to the need for the Electoral Commission Appointments Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, to convene as a matter of urgency to recruit and appoint a permanent head of the PNGEC. On Tuesday 29th June the position was advertised by the Committee in the newspaper with applications closing on Friday 6th August 2021,” said the Chair of TIPNG, Peter Aitsi in a recent media statement.

“The people of Papua New Guinea rightly expect that the four Members of the Committee; namely the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chair of the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Appointments, and the Chair of the Public Services Commission, will commit to safeguard and protect the integrity of the appointments process. Along with the appointment of a head of the Electoral Commission, immediate efforts must be directed to update electoral roll, this is equally critical,” said Mr Aitsi.

TIPNG is calling on the Prime Minister and Government to give priority to 2022 National General Elections by restoring the integrity of the administration of the PNGEC and to have the existing roll made accessible to the public so voters can ensure that their names are listed, while protecting the enrollment process for new voters coming on to the roll.

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TIPNG members elect 2021 Board

Saturday 26 June 2021, Port Moresby – Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) held its Annual General Meeting today to present its annual report for the year 2020 to its members.

As part of the business of the AGM, the financial members of TIPNG elected Mr Peter Aitsi as chair, Ms Michelle Hau’ofa as secretary and Mrs Akae Beach as treasurer to serve for the coming year. A further 11 individuals were also elected to serve on the board and they were; Jerome Sesega, Brian Alois, Belinda Kanau, Philip Samar, Paul Barker, Mary Udu, Richard Kassman, Christopher Elphick and Michael McWalter, Seini Fisi’ihoi and a new member to the Board, Mr. Bill Neill.

In welcoming the 2021 TIPNG board directors, Chairman Peter Aitsi said, he looked forward to their active participation and contribution on the board. An important responsibility for the Board will be to oversight the governance of the organisation along with deepening the association’s long-standing relationship with the private and public sector. This relationship is even more important now in the face of the shrinking space for civil society voices and where the apparent impunity for the corrupt is becoming more blatant.

“The new Board will seek to advance a number of key priorities including lending support to the establishment of a strong Independent Commission Against Corruption. Another immediate priority will be the rolling out voter education and increasing our advocacy for the proper management and conduct of the 2021 elections integrity. Our focus remains on empowering citizens to act against corruption and reduce the current level of public apathy,” said Mr Aitsi.

“TIPNG has set a new course in our Strategic Plan 2019-2023 and that is to build stronger and more active partnerships. The cornerstone of sustainable change will always be in collective effort. We have sought engagement from like-minded organizations and individuals to widen the anti-corruption network across the country and with these organisations lend our combined support to the mandated watchdog agencies,” he added.

The role of director of TIPNG is voluntary and directors receive no payment. The Board is responsible for setting of the organisation’s vision, articulating its purpose, managing its financial performance, statutory compliance and overall performance of TIPNG.

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PROPOSED CASINO DEAL A SERIOUS CONCERN GIVEN TRACK RECORD OF NGCB

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) remains concerned about the proposed building of a casino in Port Moresby and what appears to be a less then arms-length interest being shown by the regulator – the National Gaming Control Board (NGCB). Given the NGCB is the recipient of public taxes collected from gaming activity, it is only right the government and the NGCB disclose the terms of the MOU signed by The State and the developer.

The public statements made by the NGCB chairman at the signing of the MOU, appear to suggest a more active interest in this new casino, which in TIPNG’s view could comprise the regulator’s independence and may result in more favourable consideration been given to this project.

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) Board Chair, Peter Aitsi in a statement highlighted; “If this were to happen it could weaken the governance and oversight of the gambling industry, and as such the general public is right to ask questions and demand full transparency in the conduct and decision making of the NGCB”

“Our concerns are further justified given the most recent Auditor General Report in 2020 states the NGCB has not submitted financial statements since 2017. Given the entity is receiving public funds, the public has a right to know how much money is being collected from the sector each year and where these monies are being spent. And indeed, if any public monies are intended to be invested in the proposed new casino,” said Mr Aitsi.

The track record of the NGCB does not engender public confidence, as also evident in past Auditor General reports, such as for 2015 which stated that circa K50 million worth of donations and financial assistance paid from the Community Benefit Fund, were not supported with any form of acquittal or detailed reports.

Given the global risks associated with gambling industry and specifically casino’s it is vitally important the activities of regulators are beyond reproach and they remain fully independent to ensure they can effectively regulate the conduct of individuals and companies operating in the industry. Countries have been placed on the global grey list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in some instances, as a result of assessed weak regulatory oversight of operations of casinos.

The global experience has shown where regulators are weak, the presence of casinos can result in an increase of money laundering and criminal syndicate activities. That is why TIPNG is calling on the public disclosure on the terms of the agreement between The State, the Paga Hill Development Company and an undisclosed number of other parties (which have so far only been identified as “project partners”). The NGCB’s past track record of financial management, and the lack of public disclosure of the details in the MOU, should be a cause of concern to all citizens.

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