The week that was – ending 9 December 2013: Of awards and websites, sharing, sacrilege, downturns and death.

It’s one thing to be an opportunist – to be in there with the main chance – but to be the one who knowingly creates the opportunity, is one step up again.  In drug speak:  Namah is not just the user, but the supplier.  More heinous still is when the ‘supplier’ is in a trusted position.

By PNG Echo

afphat2aok.jpg.w300h288Last week, the Australian Federal Police and PNG investigative authorities, signed an historic agreement to share information on corrupt activities affecting both countries. And it’s not before time – they should start with getting an updated list of PNG nationals owning property in Cairns and ask appropriate questions.

It would help if Australia implemented the proposed second tranche of legislation on money laundering (Tranche one covering banks and financial institutions passed – 2006) that regulates Accountants, Real Estate Agents and dealers in commodities such as gold.

When information is easily accessible – open to scrutiny, that scrutiny is a powerful force against entrenched corrupt practices

Wonderful websites

‘Available for scrutiny’ was the phrase firmly in the back of my mind when I accessed, for the first time, the new online facility at the Investment Promotion Authority. Fantastic!

Launched on 25 November, 2013 it still has a few glitches to iron out (such as the ‘show former directors’ button that doesn’t work) but I rank this, in significance, up there with Digicel setting up in PNG as a second an inexpensive communications company.

'Show former directors' not working
‘Show former directors’ not working

Corruption has thrived in PNG, in no in small measure, due to the fact that information has historically been so hard to access.

Monsters breed in the dark and they’ve been prolific breeders in PNG.

With this new innovation, company’s information is no longer subject to the whim (or worse) of a public servant who may, or may not give out the information, (notwithstanding that this is information “on the public record.”).

It has been identified that a large percentage (up to 95%) of corruption is due to available opportunity.  Remove the opportunity and…  automation does that.

Speaker Theo Zurenuoc
The Speaker

PNG Echo also took the opportunity to register with the PNG Parliamentary website, an innovation by Speaker Theo Zurenuoc, without the same pleasing results.

We got an automated response (?) that said that they were awaiting “admin” to approve my request.  That was 10 days ago.  I do hope I haven’t upset anyone.


Sacre Bleu!

Dr Andrew Moutu, Director of Museum
Dr Andrew Moutu, “Sacrilege!”

It could be that the Speaker is too busy committing what Director of the Museum of Papua New Guinea, Dr Andrew Moutu, has called “a heinous sacrilege.”

The Speaker, last week, had removed two structures from the Haus Tambaran (Parliament House of Papua New Guinea) thought to represent the powers of evil.

I’m with Dr Moutu. Unspeakable!

As if this vandalism, wrought on symbols that have guided the antecedents of today’s PNGeans, will fix the corrupt hearts of the many that walk the halls of the Haus Tambaran?

This is the cultural heritage of PNG – not to be cast aside lightly.

Who is advising the Speaker? (You whistle, I’ll point.) Christianity has a lot to answer for in PNG!

Awarding times?

Polye - order of St Michael and George
Polye – order of St Michael and George

In yet another strange happening, last week, Treasurer Hon Don Pomb Polye received an award from the Queen.

The Queen usually bestows awards on her subjects on her official birthday, or, alternatively, in the New Year’s Honours lists, neither of which occurred last week.

But, be that as it may, Hon Don Pomb Polye, now has an order of St. Michael and St. George for ‘services to the people of Kandep and of PNG as a whole.’

Under the circumstances, I feel it incumbent on PNG Echo to test out the veracity of that claim.  Stay tuned:  more on the Hon Treasurer later in the week.

Here a Commission, there a commission everywhere a …

Parliament should be busy next year – not only with the usual order of business but they’re going to have the opportunity to scrutinize the COI Finance Department as well as the results of the COI SABLs.

sabl-final-report-coverThe report found that out of the 42 SABLs that were scrutinized only four were found to be “proper”.

It seems Namah’s 2007 amendment of the Forestry act that made way for these SABLs produced that all important ‘opportunity’  (about which I’ve already remarked) for large-scale corruption.

It’s one thing to be an opportunist – but to be the one who knowingly creates the opportunity and then immediately takes advantage is one step up.  In drug speak:  not the user but the supplier.

More heinous still is when the ‘supplier’ of the ‘opportunity for corruption’ is in a trusted position.

Fortunes always changing

There has been a ‘downturn’ in mining that will challenge all the established paradigms.  Proof positive, nothing lasts forever.

Wouldn’t it be great if that held true for corruption also.


marc-alexander-nelson-mandela-colour-1-1024x1024It would be remiss of me if I did not pay my respects to the great man that passed away this week – Nelson Mandela.

Rest In Peace Madiba – you gave the world a shining example of perseverance against the greatest odds – and you prevailed. Your inspiration lives on.

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