Ministry of Finance (Papua New Guinea)

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Papua New Guinea's Ministry of Finance is the department responsible for the "protection of public money" in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The ministry aims to improve "the transparency and accountability of the accounting and financial reporting and their frameworks" in the country.[1] The ministry is led by a minister of finance. The headquarters of the ministry are at Vulupindi Haus, Waigani.

Ministers of Finance

Controversies

The Paraka Scam

For the past six years, the Ministry of Finance has been embroiled in a multimillion-dollar corruption scandal surrounding former finance secretary Gabriel Yer and PNG lawyer Paul Paraka.

In 2006, it came to light that between 2001 and 2006, Yer and several senior officials had been making false compensation claims of up to PGK780 million against the state. 700 claims were made by lawyers against the state and approved by the solicitor general and the finance secretary without being tested in court.[23]

Yer made a claim in the name of his son for the sum of PGK700,000 through his lawyer, Paraka, which was paid in full.[24] Pakara profited from the scheme by making three of the largest fraudulent claims. In addition, he was hired by the state and paid PGK41 million between 2003 and 2006 to act on the state’s behalf for claims made through other law firms.[23]

Commission of Inquiry

Following the revelation of the scam, a Commission of Inquiry was established by former Prime Minister of PNG Sir Michael Somare. The Commission, led by Justices Maurice Sheehan, Cathy Davani and Don Manoa, was tasked with investigating the claims, establishing their legitimacy, the amounts illegally paid and to establish the roles of the solicitor general and the minister of finance, amongst other civil servants.[25]

The Commission was suspended and restarted five times between September 2006 and September 2008 due to issues over financing.[25] The Commission's 812-page report was published in October 2009 and presented to parliament in February 2010.[26]

At its tabling in Parliament, Somare commented that "people who read it, would shudder in awe" at the level of corruption in the finance department.[27]

Findings and response

The Commission's report was broadly damning and stated, "The plain conclusion is that in all but a handful of claims the statutory process has been grossly abused allowing illegitimate and improper claims and excess payments and excessive payouts to be legitimized."[23]

The report made 75 recommendations, including referring the matter to the police and the Ombudsman Commission for further investigation. It also recommended the criminal prosecution of 58 people.[25]

Upon completion of the report, Paraka secured an injunction halting broader publication of the report. In defiance of the injunction, a blogger published the entire report in May 2010.[23] injunction remains in place today.

Despite the Commission's decisive findings, little has been done by the government in response. No charges have been laid against the individuals named in the report and although Gabriel Yer was dismissed in mid-2011, he was reinstated to the position of finance secretary in December 2011.[28]

Somare's Appointment of O'Neill

In July 2010, Somare appointed MP Peter O'Neill as Treasury and Minister of Finance. According to PNG media sources, the appointment was seen as a "disaster". O'Neill, the current Prime Minister of PNG, was allegedly involved in the National Provident Fund (NPF) Tower fraud, in 1999, in which millions of Kina were stolen from the retirement savings of ordinary PNG citizens.[29]

There was a Commission of Inquiry into the NPF, which concluded in 2002 that O'Neill "definitely benefited from proceeds of the NPF Tower Fraud".[29]

The commission recommended that O'Neill and other members of parliament should be prosecuted for stealing, amongst other offences, however O'Neill was never charged.[30]

2021 ransomware

The department suffered a ransomware attack that locked hundreds of millions of dollars.[31]

References

  1. ^ Department of Finance. "About the Department of Finance". Department of Finance. Archived from the original on 2012-04-26.
  2. ^ a b c "Hon. Julius Chan, MP - Ninth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "PAPUA NEW GUINEA (National Parliament)". www.appf.org.pe.
  4. ^ "Chiefs of State and Cabinet members of foreign governments / National Foreign Assessment Center. Jan-Jun 1985". HathiTrust. hdl:2027/mdp.39015073049234.
  5. ^ "Chiefs of State and Cabinet members of foreign governments / National Foreign Assessment Center. 1988Jan-June". HathiTrust. hdl:2027/osu.32435024019796.
  6. ^ "Hon. Christopher Seseve Haiveta, CMG, MP - Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  7. ^ "Rt. Hon. Sir Mekere Morauta, KT, MP - Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  8. ^ a b "Hon. Patrick Pruaitch, CMG, MP - Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  9. ^ "::..The Organisation - Papua New Guinea Department of Finance". April 10, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-04-10.
  10. ^ "Hon. John Hickey, MP - Ninth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  11. ^ "Finance Ministry". Archived from the original on 2009-08-11.
  12. ^ http://bellschool.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publications/attachments/2015-12/BriefNote_2011_1_May_0.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  13. ^ "Hon. Peter Charles Paire O'Neill, CMG, MP - Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  14. ^ "Hon. Don Polye, MP - Ninth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  15. ^ "PNG's new cabinet announced in its entirety". RNZ. August 10, 2012.
  16. ^ "Hon. James Marape, MP - Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  17. ^ "Hon. Sam Basil, MP - Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  18. ^ "Hon. Richard Maru, OBE, MP - Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  19. ^ "Hon. Charles Kauvu Abel, MP - Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  20. ^ "Hon. Rainbo Paita, MP - Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  21. ^ "Hon. John Pundari, MP - Ninth Parliament of Papua New Guinea". www.parliament.gov.pg.
  22. ^ "PM Marape Announces New Cabinet". EMPV. 2020-12-20. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  23. ^ a b c d PNG Exposed (15 May 2010). "The Paraka scams – K780 million stolen from the people". PNG Exposed.
  24. ^ PNG Exposed Blog (20 May 2010). "Finance Sec Gabriel Yer led a triad whole stole K1.6 million". PNG Exposed Blog.
  25. ^ a b c The Commission of Inquiry Generally Into the Department of Finance (29 October 2009). "Final Report" (PDF). PNG Exposed Blog.
  26. ^ PNG Exposed Blog (21 November 2011). "Still no action on the theft of K780m". PNG Exposed Blog.
  27. ^ Liam Fox (2 March 2010). "PNG inquiry reveals Finance Department corruption". ABC Radio Australia.
  28. ^ Malum Nalu (13 December 2011). "Fred Yakasa is new police commissioner, Gabriel Yer new finance secretary". Malum Nalu.
  29. ^ a b PNG Exposed Blog (26 August 2010). "New Finance Minister benefited from NPF tower fraud". PNG Exposed Blog.
  30. ^ PNGEXPOSED (28 July 2010). "O'Neill's appointment as Finance Minister a cruel joke from a corrupt government". Papua New Guinea Blogs.
  31. ^ "Ransomware Hackers Freeze Millions in Papua New Guinea". Bloomberg.com. 27 October 2021.