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Transparency International report says PNG is worst

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 30, 2011) – Several Pacific countries have scored poorly in a new survey ranking the level of corruption in countries across the globe.

The annual Corruption Perceptions Index, released by Transparency International, ranks countries on a scale of zero to 10, with the lowest denominator representing corruption.

Papua New Guinea was the worst performer amongst Pacific countries, scoring at a low 2.2.

But Solomon Islands, Tonga and Kirabati were close behind, all scoring under four.

New Zealand was considered the least corrupt country, with a score of 9.5.

PNG chairman of Transparency International, Lawrence Stephens told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program that PNG's poor performance was no surprise.

"If you just listen to what's been coming out of PNG, even in recent days... in a corrupt country," he said.


Solomon Island's new finance minister says one of the new government's top priorities will be to strengthen the enforcement of regulations to limit the possibility of corruption.

Finance Minister Rick Hou says it is important that the country create a clean and sound environment for doing business in order to expand the economy.

He says this can be achieved by "ensuring the business community and the investment community knows what is there for them, but also knows the rules."

Mr. Hou paid tribute to the nation's new Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, who led a program of economic reform as the nation's finance minister in the past 2 years.

After surviving an attempt to be removed on a vote of no confidence last month, Mr. Lilo says political stability will come from performance.

"Loyalty doesn't come with you fixing the numbers, it comes with you delivering," Mr. Lilo said.

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