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Questions have been raised in Papua New Guinea Parliament, on the millions of kinas worth of Commissions of Inquiries (CoIs) instituted by the National Government into matters of public importance and concern dating as far back as the Sandline Inquiry of 1997.
Madang Governor Peter Yama who put this question to Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General Davis Steven says, the whole idea about inquiries is to 'bring corrupt people to justice.'
He said the many inquiries instituted are old and 'tax payers monies' have been spent' - adding that he is yet to see someone being prosecuted as a direct result of a CoI.
“Speaker my question is; when will all these inquiries that are still outstanding – it costs millions and millions of kina, while now this Government has gone again having another inquiry of UBS loan of K3 billion (US$882 million).
“That is going to also be shelved away and filed away in the cabinet when the next Government come in.
“So Speaker, question inquiry including PNGBC was sold for K80 million (US$23.5 million) the bank itself is now worth over six or seven billion kina.
“It was sold for K80 million; now when will all these accounting firm, law firm and Queens councils and all these people who collaborated in this crime and committed a very serious indictable offence against the people of PNG.
“Recommendations are already there for them to be prosecuted; when will you get them prosecuted?”, Yama questioned.
Meanwhile, all commission of inquiry reports will be tabled in Parliament after they are audited and analysed, Justice Minister and Attorney-General Davis Steven says.
Steven said Parliament had passed the Proceeds to Crime Act to facilitate whistleblowers.
“As to prosecution, obviously we will need to push where we must prosecute,” he said.
“We need to do recovery action.
“We are serious and committed.
“I’m sure this House will do the right thing.” Steven said the priority of the Government was in the rule of law.
“One aspect of it is the fight against the perception of corruption in our country which by international assessment has ranked poorly for decades,” he said.
“It is one of our priorities to improve our laws and enforcement in terms of the fight against corruption.
“Our priority has been to get the work on Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) completed and bought to Parliament for debate.”
Steven said Cabinet had approved the text of ICAC bill to be passed to the Speaker.
“Part of the strategy is to ensure the rule of law is seen to be alive and active to take a stock of all the COIs that have taken place in the past,” he said.
“Certain COIs are the subject of court proceedings,” he said.
SOURCE: NBC PNG/THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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