by PETER S. KINJAP - Letters / The National, Feb 15th, 2017.
THERE are many good politicians, public servants and private citizens who want a corruption free and prosperous Papua New Guinea. But there are many others who are rotten within the system of government and in the public service.
While news about a public servant sentenced to nine years gaol for defrauding the state of K5 million sends a signal, there is much more corruption; very much more. What is exposed is the result of the fine work of the anti-corruption team, which works hard to expose such abuse.
The most recent fraud concerned K5 million awarded for three Bailey Bridges to be constructed; but the culprit completed just one, pocketing the remaining money. A crude crime, but so common in many government departments. It’s even got its own slang – “kicks & cuts”. There are also “grips & grabs” – funds paid for doing favours, especially for people in a position to award contracts. Both “kicks & cuts” and “grips & grabs” are popular forms of corruption in PNG today.
As graft finds its way into new twists and turns, those with criminal minds look for ways to make their deals look “legal”, providing us with yet another term – “legalised corruption”. Sometimes, common people are confused about whether something is corrupt or not, especially if it is legalised corruption.
A country with a population approaching eight million where about half the people are illiterate offers a much higher prospect of continued legalised corruption. It is sad to see a country blessed with abundant natural resources with so much being grabbed by a very few corrupted hands.
Corruption will continue until politicians and public servants change their ways and the rest of us vote in good political leaders who can truly fight against corruption. The question many Papua New Guineans ask is why we continue to elect political leaders who have been implicated in a corruption?
It’s depressing to witness this happening with same old recycled politicians manipulating the same old public servants. Let’s hope 2017 will bring change.