Millions lost in AusAID scams

From the Daily Telegraph 

  • Millions lost from AusAID program
  • 175 cases of fraud under investigation
  • PNG is corruption central with 71 identified cases of fraud

AUSTRALIA'S $4.5 billion foreign aid program is plagued by record levels of fraud, with millions of dollars being stolen by corrupt officials and overseas agencies.

AusAID has 175 cases of fraud under investigation - stretching across 27 countries and totalling millions of dollars.

Over 10% of customary land lost in dodgy agriculture leases

There has been a massive increase in the alienation and the conversion of customary land in recent years through the issuing of special agriculture and business leases (SABLs). 

The allocation of these leases, some covering hundreds of thousands of hectares, seems to be occurring outside all proper legal channels and without the informed consent of affected landowners. The leases are being handed out by the Department of Lands without compliance with relevant laws, which indicates either negligence or fraud on the part of lands officers and the government.

Untold agonies caused by Special Economic Zones in SE Asia

With the World Bank drafting the legislation for Special Economic Zones in Papua New Guinea and the government eager to use the new Act to declare the Pacific Marine Industrial Park in Madang as PNG's first SEZ, it is timely to review a report on the Untold Agonies that SEZs have created in SE Asia and critically examine some of the benefits they supposedly bring

Youthquake: will Melanesian democracy be sunk by demography?

In its latest briefing paper, the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) looks at the need for political reform to governing systems across Melanesia as its young population booms.

It asks a troubling question – will democracy be sunk by demography?

The Pacific in general, but Melanesia in particular faces a serious demographic challenge. More than half the population is under 24 and in broad terms, urban populations are doubling every 17 years while national populations are doubling every 30 years.

Where have the billions gone? Where do they end up?

Spotted on PNG Blogs

BETWEEN 2003 and 2008, the Somare government amassed a whopping K6 billion in extra revenue. That is money over and above what was budgeted each year. The excess billions were parked in trust accounts and drawn down in one-off payments which were approved in a number of mid-year supplementary budgets.

Who is Hudson Ramatlap protecting?


I refer to the comments by the first legislative counsel, Mr Hudson
 Ramatlap, and note with great concern that a person who is supposed to 
protect the independence of Parliament legislative process is now
 making outlandish comments in support of the contemptuous behaviour of
 the Prime Minister.

His statement is not only misleading, but calculated to undermine the 
seriousness of this matter.
 This is not just another political scoring issue here it is an issue 
of national importance. 

JICA joins ADB in contradicting govt claims over PMIZ

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency has joined the Asian Development Bank in denying it is involved in supporting the government's controversial Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) in Madang.

JICA’s public relations division has told ACT NOW! "JICA PNG Office has never been a party to this project both at the initial designing stage as well as construction”

“If some one is using JICA then, someone is doing it for his own benefit without the consent of the JICA PNG Office.” 

United Nations demands answers on land alienation and environment changes

The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has written a strongly worded letter (copy below) to the Papua New Guinea government demanding answers about the granting of agriculture leases over large areas of customary land.

The letter, signed by the Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, also raises concerns about the impacts of controversial amendments to the Environment Act last year, that took away citizens rights to challenge approvals for large-scale resource projects and seek compensation for any damage.

PNG PM found guilty of misconduct

By Ilya Gridneff, AAP

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Michael Somare has been found guilty of 13 charges of misconduct in office for submitting annual financial statements late or incomplete.

A three-member tribunal sitting in Port Moresby handed down its decision on Monday afternoon and will reconvene on Tuesday to hear recommendations for an appropriate penalty.

Somare, 74, who has been at the forefront of PNG politics for 40 years, will remain in the top job and is expected to be punished only with a small fine.