PNG: The Most Corrupt Pacific Country
Transparency International’s 2008 Global Corruption Index (known as the CPI index) was recently published and the results don’t bode too well for Papua New Guinea – particularly as the country is undergoing an economic renaissance.
The CPI index is based on a series of surveys that rate the effectiveness of officers like the ombudsmen, public prosecutor and the courts. This year it ranked PNG at 151st out of 180 nations studied – which placed it on the table in amongst countries such as Laos and the Central African Republic.
Although PNG’s ranking fell from 162 last year, it is still perceived to be the most corrupt country by investors and other groups within the Pacific, particularly after Tonga improved its ranking dramatically.
PNG Transparency International chairman Peter Aitsi commented that the CPI scoring has not changed:
“Last year we were two out of a possible 10, remembering that the highest scoring countries are around about the 9.4. At the bottom end of the scale out of 180 countries, we have Somalia at one, we have Afghanistan 1.5.
This gives you an idea of where PNG fits in. We’ve scored two, which places us in the bottom 30 of the perceived most corrupt countries in the world.”
Transparency International’s 2008 Global Corruption Index findings follow through on a year in which corruption allegations have dogged the PNG Government and its public servants. These allegations have included politicians earning huge sums through secret logging deals, Department of Finance officers demanding a 10 per cent cut to cash cheques, and the stop-start commission of inquiry into the half a billion dollars that has disappeared from the Finance Department treasury.
TI PNG director Judith Day said the country must stop playing the blame game.
“We just can’t blame the leaders … we (people) are helping it (corruption) to grow, allowing it to grow,” she said. We must realise our system has collapsed and we’re not managing it and it’s a problem but we’ve got to be in there together with the politicians and the bureaucrats.
There is no accountability at all in most departments, and the question we’ve got to ask is how can we fix this? We need to fix that so that the people can receive the services that the public service are supposed to provide”.
Samoa set the example in the Pacific by being ranked at 62, while Tonga fell to number 138 compared to number 175 last year. New Zealand was ranked joint first with Denmark and Sweden while Australia was 9th out of the 180 nations.
Somalia, Iraq and Burma ranked at the bottom.
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