PNG ATTORNEY GENERAL: ‘ROTTEN’ CORRUPTION RAMPANT

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By Nidra Kewere Mapi

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 14, 2008) - Massive corruption exists in Papua New Guinea today causing the majority of people to live in poverty while a handful live like "Hollywood stars" and own properties here and abroad, Attorney-General Allan Marat said yesterday.

In an address to first year law students at the University of Papua New Guinea, Dr Marat said corruption was the reason why development was at a "snail’s pace."

He said PNG needed honest leadership, which is lacking today, a leadership that loves PNG and cannot use its position for personal gain.

"Today, there are leaders who think about themselves first instead of the country. There is massive corruption in Government today. As I am speaking, it is getting stinky and rotten. The public service is rotten. People are living in luxury, enjoying themselves at the expense of our people," Dr. Marat, the Rabaul MP who is serving his second term in Parliament, said. "Corruption is eating the goodies of society; bribery is now a norm in the system of Government. Public servants are collecting service fees for all they are doing, even though they are paid fortnightly salaries."

Marat told the law students PNG was no longer safe to enjoy working as professional.

"While some of us are living on our fortnightly salaries, which we work hard for, some leaders and bureaucrats are living like Hollywood stars. They spend most of their time in hotels and clubs. They own properties both here and abroad. They become rich overnight. This is really sickening. Corruption is running this country down," Marat said.

"This is the whole reason why development is at a snail’s pace. This is the reason why Government services are not reaching our people. The only thing to do now is get rid of these people and have them prosecuted."

He urged the new students to be agents of change and stand up for the good of the country. He said the process of change had to start with the future leaders of this country, who are the students, whether law students or those from other institutions.

"I encourage you to aim high and achieve your goals as individuals and to have the heart and vision for PNG," Dr Marat said in his address.

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