PNG SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS A ‘JUNGLE OF CORRUPTION’

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 19) – Investigations into Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands have uncovered "a jungle of corruption never seen before."

This was revealed by the deputy chairman of the parliamentary national emergency committee Kimson Kare on Tuesday.

Mr Kare told Parliament, "Some investigations by the National Anti-Corruption Alliance (NACA) on the payroll fraud, and the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption squad on the unaccounted funds from the Southern Highlands provincial budget is now beginning to expose a jungle of corruption never seen before."

He said prosecutions were going to follow soon, adding this was the undertaking expressed by the new controller.

Mr Kare was making a statement in parliament before recommending the extension of the state of emergency for another two months. Parliament extended the emergency for another two months.

He said there was corruption and extensive abuse of powers at all levels of governance, including vehicles, government houses, land and other infrastructure being stolen, abused or misused.

The Wewak member of parliament said there was total disregard for the rule of law and practice.

"There were evidence that individuals and communities held in their possessions caches of guns and ammunitions and that there was evidence of massive build-up,’’ he said. "Public safety was at high risk that most public servants and teachers including many Southern Highlanders left the province to seek sanctuary elsewhere, "Mr Kare told Parliament.

He said a briefing by the previous controller had highlighted very serious abuse of public positions and resources of the provincial government and its administration. The state of emergency operations is allowing the security forces to address these abuses without interference from outside.

He said 102 houses had been identified for Mendi alone, 19 illegal occupants had been removed and 18 had been cleared. Mr Kare said even some public servants had moved into these houses without proper clearance.

The deputy chairman said 51 vehicles had been recovered by the security forces, adding there had been no register of vehicles or inventory of the government vehicles.

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