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PNG PM wants apology from Seven Network after corruption claims

peter o'neill png perspectivejpg

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O’Neill is dissatisfied with how his country was portrayed in the Today Tonight programme. Image: pngperspective.com

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has called on the Seven Network to apologise following a two-part Today Tonight report on Monday and Tuesday alleging more than $1 billion was being stolen from the budget of Papua New Guinea and hidden in Australian banks and the Queensland property market.

But the Seven Network defended its investigation.

Sam Koim, head of Papua New Guinea’s anti-corruption task force, told reporter James Thomas dirty money was leaving the country to be laundered in Australia.

“Most of Australia’s aid programme is effectively wasted,” he said.

“Almost half of the budget (is being stolen). That is how big the problem is.

“They see Australia as the Cayman Islands. They see that it is the safest place where they can bring their stolen money from PNG.”

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has denied the programme’s claims.

“These are baseless allegations we can write off as the creation of an attention-seeking reporter’s wildest imaginations”, O’Neill said in a statement, according toNews Corp.

‘Negative image’ 
O’Neill said the programme had tarnished Papua New Guinea’s international image.

“Channel 7 owes PNG and its citizens a big apology and the journalist responsible for concocting such a negative international image of PNG should be dismissed from his employment.

“No one has stolen Australian taxpayers’ precious 1.7 billion because that amount of Australian money has never featured in any of our national budgets to date.

“I can say without fear or favour that the Channel 7 TV report alleging $A1.7 billion of Australian aid money being stolen from PNG’s budget annually is the Australian media’s most ill-researched, mischievous and misinformed piece of journalism coverage on PNG affairs.”

Channel 7 defended its report, saying in a statement that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had misunderstood.

“Contrary to comments reportedly made by PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, the Today Tonight investigation into corruption in PNG did not allege that $A1.7 billion of Australian aid money was stolen from PNG’s budget”, the Australian broadcaster said.

“Following the report, the Australian Attorney-General and Minister for Home Affairs issued a joint statement, appointing a senior official to meet with the head of the AFP to investigate the allegations raised in the programme.”

Read Channel 7’s full statement and other responses

Cafe Pacific report and video

Source: Pacific Media Watch 8393

2 comments:

  1. Patrick, 23. September 2013, 16:42

    Such allegations about PNG’s goverenment handling of AID monies from Australia is not new. For the allegations to be laid to rest and PNG to have a clean slate in the International arena PNG needs to allow investigations to be conducted thoroughly on how monies donated are used. Ordinary Papua New Guineans are suffering when services are not tangibly seen. What has Peter O’Neil got to worry about, let the truth come out and we can then move forward. Stop using the people as if they are really saying or worrying things about image in the International scene. Let Sam Koim and his team find out if there is any truth in the allegations or not. All politicians and bureaucrats should just cooperate.

     
  2. Coralia, 21. October 2013, 9:55

    PNG govt/govt. officials/governance = corruption…sadly this is the general consensus on PNG internationally. What reputation is O’neill harping about?..

    If there’s anything the show did – for once it gave a voice to the ordinary people of PNG who are sick of having to live with this problem for decades helplessly watching self-serving politicians lining their pockets by fostering alliances with crooked businessmen to swindle money out of govt. coffers. The Kerevat govt. contract case is horrific, and the guy responsible has no conscience at all…a testimony to how deeply ingrained corruption is in the PNG governance/management system/culture. One can only imagine how many more cases like this there are!