Reports of the sacking of nine civilian staff of Papua New Guinea’s Defence Department should be of concern to all public servants and the general public, says Transparency International PNG.
“The nine staff reportedly spoke out about issues of maladministration, mismanagement and misappropriation within their department,” the corruption monitoring watchdog said in a statement.
“It is concerning to read about any threat, suspension or sacking of people who draw attention to illegality, whether it be real or alleged.
“Witness accounts are powerful tools in exposing corruption, fraud and mismanagement. Raising the alert of authorities when corruption occurs, is an obligation for all public servants.”
Transparency International PNG chairman Lawrence Stephens said: “Whistleblowing plays a crucial role in saving resources and even lives. Improvements will not happen when criticism is punished.”
He adds that employers should provide clear internal reporting channels for workers to safely disclose any wrongdoing.
“Corruption often goes unchallenged when people do not speak out about it and people should not be punished for expressing their opinion in exposing wrongdoing,” Stephens said.
“This highlights the need for the government to enact pending whistleblower provisions under the delayed Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill and protect those that speak out about corruption and ensure that their claims are properly investigated.”
He said the Department of Finance should be commended for its “Phones Against Corruption” initiative, which is an innovative approach to expose and combat corruption using text message system on mobile phone technology.
- Transparency International PNG provides a community service for the public to report corruption called the Advocacy and Legal Advice Center (ALAC). The ALAC provides free support to victims and witnesses of corruption.
- “Victims and witnesses of corruption can contact the ALAC on 3202188/82 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be kept confidential.