Denmark, Copenhagen - Mandatory audit committees within government agencies combined with a confidential Phones Against Corruption tool for citizens are among a multi-pronged approach being taken against corruption in Papua New Guinea, the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) heard this week.
Speaking at the Public-Sector Excellence and Preventing Corruption session in Copenhagen, Denmark, the First Assistant Secretary in the Internal Audit & Compliance Division, Department of Finance in PNG, Tom Tiki, highlighted that media partnerships and local outdoor signage partnerships were complementing the work of government and reporting technology.
“We have scaled up 45 agencies with operating audit committees and our goal is to reach 300 by the end of 2018,” said Tiki.
“Using encrypted phone technology which guarantees anonymous reporting, we are averaging around 30,000 phone messages a year, on alleged cases of corruption. Having a mandatory audit committee system in place, makes individual agencies and regional offices accountable for their actions.”
He added, “It’s hard dealing with corruption because of family obligations – our ‘wantok’ system – so anonymous text messages cut through that cultural barrier.”
Three youth and civil society representatives from Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu along with a Samoan parliamentarian and Papua New Guinea’s Tiki, attended the IACC conference supported by the United Nations (UN) Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UNPRAC) Project.
Noting the range of policy interventions and community-based initiatives, Anti-Corruption Specialist for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, Mihaela Stojkoska, highlighted the importance of the Pacific representatives at the premier global anti-corruption event.
“Phones Against Corruption is a globally recognized innovative integrity tool and is now being replicated or adapted in other countries in the region,” said Stojkoska.
“Many Pacific governments are making changes to their internal practices to boost transparency and accountability, and partnerships using technology, with media and the community are making these processes even more effective.”
The IACC is the world’s premier global forum for bringing together heads of state, governments, civil society organisations, the private sector and others to tackle the increasingly sophisticated challenges posed by corruption. Established in 1983, the IACC takes place usually, every two years in a different region of the world, and hosts between 800 and 2,000 participants from over 135 countries worldwide.
The UN-PRAC Project Phase II is a four-year initiative jointly implemented by UNDP and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with funding from the Australian Government. UN-PRAC aims to support Pacific Island countries to strengthen their national integrity systems to promote ‘clean’ governments and create an enabling environment for trade, business, investment and sustainable development to increase in the region.
Phones Against Corruption is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) Australia through UNDP’s Anti-Corruption for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies in Asia-Pacific (2016-2020) (ACPIS).
The 18th IACC builds on the priorities set out in the Panama Declaration. The two-day Conference, which ended on 24 October moved the pledge of “acting together now” to concrete action.
Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate, Effective Governance, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: (679) 3227 552