Papua New Guinea a failed state says MP

MP Sam Basil says the findings of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are a sign that Papua New Guinea is a “failed state”.

The PAC, of  which Basil is a member, has found that accountability and transparency in the use of public money within all but five of 1000 government agencies has collapsed.

Just one example is the 100 million kina ($A40 million) missing from the National Forest Authority, the body overseeing and administering logging permits for an industry labelled in 2006 “as 70 per cent illegal”.

PAC Chairman Timothy Bonga has said  he is shocked by the poor result.

“The whole functional system of the (Forest) Authority has collapsed and the original finding of the Auditor General that 100 million kina ($A40 million) simply disappeared and the (Forest) Authority had no ability to audit or trace these funds,” he said.

“In total, we have made inquiry into 1000 agencies, each examined from 2003 to 2008.

“The findings have shown that the management and accountability by our public servants and the government has collapsed miserably”.

Bonga said the Bank of PNG, Institute of Public Administration, Post PNG, Goroka Base Hospital and Alotau Hospital were the only government entities well-managed.

The worrying state of affairs came from a PAC inquiry examining 33 government departments, 25 subsidiary agencies including 19 provincial treasuries, 19 provincial governments over 400 districts, 19 urban authorities, 19 hospital boards, 116 statutory corporations and all trust accounts.

In September 2008, the PAC found most government department heads did not even know how to make the simplest of bank transactions.

In 2008, the PAC estimated that over the past 10 years more than a $1 billion kina ($A400 million) had gone missing from PNG finance coffers.

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