Transparency International recently released their latest Corruption Perceptions Index, with PNG coming in at number 139 of the 167 countries measured. If you’re interested in learning more about the issue of corruption in PNG, you’ll find a very useful list of resources here.

A few weeks ago Transparency International released their latest Corruption Perceptions Index, an annual ranking of how countries stack up against each other with regards to  the prevalence of corruption in their nation. The Index basically works by aggregating together heaps of reputable polls, surveys and measures of corruption to come up with a score and then ranking the results. But corruption comes in many forms and flavours, so an index of this kind drawing from many flawed sources is of course not going to be perfect. That said, it is still a helpful yardstick to see how your country stacks up in the world.

So how did PNG fare in the index? To put it bluntly, badly. Of the 167 countries measured by the Index PNG sits (with six other countries) at 139th, nestled in between the autocratic Tajikistan and war-torn Central African Republic. To make matters worse this ranking has remained largely unchanged for the past decade. We highlight this report because it’s important to both acknowledge PNG’s levels of corruption, and to bring attention to where it stands on the global stage. But if we want to talk solutions, there’s not a lot we can learn from this document. Anyone who works in PNG knows that PNG problems need PNG solutions. And, like most things, corruption in PNG is also unique.

Institute for Money Technology and Financial Inclusion/Flickr

We’re no experts on corruption, and this piece is not meant to give everyone the answers, but here is a list of some great work on corruption in PNG in case you are interested in learning more:

  • This publication from the Anti-corruption Resource Centre provides a summary of corruption in PNG and explains how corruption as a social phenomenon is difficult to define as it involves many different kinds of abuse of power.
  • Grant Walton, a Research Fellow at the Development Policy Centre at ANU, is a key figure in corruption studies in PNG. He has produced interesting research on corruption, its definition on Papua New Guinean society and culture.
  • This video interview with Hon. Bart Philemon, former PNG Treasurer and Minister for Public Services, at the Lowy Institute discusses leadership problems and PNG solutions for corruption.
  • Visit Transparency International PNG’s website for more information about their advocacy work. They currently run several civic education programs and endorse the ongoing efforts of Community Coalition Against Corruption (CCAC) and Businesses Against Corruption Alliance (BACA) – two coalitions that work to incorporate cultural considerations and community-based solutions into the fight against corruption.
  • For more information regarding anti-corruption body, Taskforce Sweep and their chairman Sam Koim, this article sums up their current situation.
  • Here is a Dateline story investigating accusations of money laundering from PNG in Australia. Instances of money laundering are an ongoing challenge for the two nations and need to be addressed if corruption is to be stymied.
  • And here is Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop’s response to the SBS story.
  • Finally, the National Research Institute (NRI) in PNG published this work in March 2015 exploring political governance and service delivery issues in PNG. They consciously avoided using the term ‘corruption’ in their presentation at a recent workshop with public servants. This work provides interesting insight into public sector reform and the necessity of addressing corrupt behaviours and their causes to improve service delivery.


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About the Authors

Chloe Hickey-Jones - Intern, Melanesia Program, Lowy Institute - Lowy Institute

Chloe Hickey-Jones

Intern, Melanesia Program, Lowy Institute

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Chloe Hickey-Jones is an intern in the Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute. Chloe has a Bachelor of International and Global Studies (Honours) from the University of Sydney where she majored in Government and International Relations. Chloe grew up travelling between Australia and Lae in PNG, where her interest in Australian policy in the Pacific Islands region developed. In her internship at the Institute she assists with research on the issues of corruption and development in Papua New Guinea.

Jonathan Pryke - Director, Pacific Islands Program, Lowy Institute - Lowy Institute

Jonathan Pryke

Director, Pacific Islands Program, Lowy Institute

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Jonathan Pryke is the Director of the Pacific Islands Program at the Lowy Institute. Prior to joining the Institute Jonathan was a Research Officer at the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University where, on top of his research obligations, he was editor of the Development Policy Blog and a co-convenor of the Australasian Aid Conference. Jonathan is interested in economic development in the Pacific Islands region, Australia’s relationship with Melanesia, the role of aid and the private sector in Pacific Islands development and Pacific labour mobility. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Sydney, a Masters of Public Policy (Development Policy), Masters of Diplomacy and Graduate Diploma in International and Development Economics from the Australian National University.