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Claims corruption is “single biggest threat” to PNG's future
1:53 pm GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Papua New Guinea

Concerns are rife in PNG that corruption could destroy the country's future.

In a state of the nation address Wednesday, the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill outlined an anti-corruption strategy and promised to rebuild the country's public institutions and infrastructure.

However, at least one public figure, the former member for Lae Open Bart Philemon, said more needs to be done to address the problem.

Philemon called for urgent action to fight corruption, saying the problem is the biggest threat to the nation's future.

On Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program, Lawrence Stephens, the president of Transparency International PNG, agreed with Mr Philemon.

Papua New Guinea ranks 154th out of 180 nations in Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which lists countries according to their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.

“When you listen to statements like the former member, like those of the prime minister, and like those of many other leaders, the ranking appears to be warranted and we are in serious trouble as a nation plagued by corruption,” Stephens said.

“People are far too accepting of the reality of corruption, far too ready to participate in corrupt activities, even down to the extent of bribing police officers and corrupt officials,” Stephens added.

Earlier this week an anti-corruption team appointed by the country's government arrested four people for allegedly misusing more than $US1.5 million in school funds.

It followed an investigation by Task Force Sweep, which was set up by the government last year to investigate the alleged misuse of public funds.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS


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