Peter S. Kinjap: Only a ‘scrub up’, fresh MPs can save PNG’s future

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A cartoon about the lack of action in reversing the huge Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABL) land grab, or to stop illegal logging in SABL areas. Cartoon: PNGExposed

OPINION: By Peter S. Kinjap in Port Moresby.

The current Papua New Guinea government is being accused of being the most corrupt in the short history of Papua New Guinea. It has tampered with the national constitution, bent it, or even created new laws to escape being held responsible and avoided passing tougher legislation to fight corruption.

It’s so sad — a sad scenario for Papua New Guinea indeed.

Before going into the 2012 general election, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill promised the nation that he would curb corruption. He set up the Investigation Task Force Sweep (ITFS) which has done an excellent job exposing and prosecuting corruption.

But why did O’Neill disband it? Why did Police Commissioner Garry Baki put a “vetting” on the high-profile investigations cases that include accusations against O’Neill?

At the 2012 Alotau Accord, the governing coalition partners pledged to table in the Parliament the Anti-money Laundering Legislation, Whistleblowers Legislation, Freedom of Information Legislation and Independent Commission against Corruption Act (ICAC).

But during the People’s National Congress (PNC) reign from 2012 to 2017 with its coalition partners, none of these laws have got passed in the Parliament as promised during the election pledges to fight corruption.

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Instead, O’Neill sees fit to legislate a Cyber-Crime Law and even proposing amendments to change election dates and nomination fees.

‘Sitting’ on whistleblowers law
Several times the Opposition have blasted the government for “sitting” on the Whistleblowers Protection Act and not tabling it in Parliament.

Even National Court Justice Martin Ipang spoke of the need for the Whistleblowers Act in the courtroom when ruling on Western Governor Ati Wobiro’s case.

Citizens needed to be protected if they have heard about corruption, or if they seen it, or if they become victim of corruption and want to report this.

Papua New Guinea needs the Whistleblowers Act. This is a very important law for PNG together with the ICAC. But the PNC-led government has failed and fooled the nation.

A new government that will be formed after the 2017 elections must see to ensure these laws are enacted.

People would be asking why time and again “most corrupt” politicians are not exposed and brought to justice.

Here is an answer from one politician with his observation. Samuel Basil, a two-term Bulolo MP says: “PNC’s best bet (if they lose government) is to have another veteran MP’s political party to take reign.

“Why? Because it’s like having partners in crime taking control over once again, or simply put it, it is corruption changing hands.

“If they bring their brothers down they will all go down together, it’s like they all have been closely knitted together.”

Only fresh new MPs without any connections with the current and past regimes can clean this country up — there is no other way.

There has to be a “scrubbing” period. Citizens from all walks of life need to face the judiciary to “clear” anything against them.

Your vote in 2017 means, “save PNG, or destroy it”. Over to you.

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