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  • Nigel Akuani 

ICAC Fundamental to PNG’s Prosperity

Port Moresby: The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has been described as fundamental to Papua New Guinea regaining its once renowned honour for being a country of peace and prosperity.

The assertion was made by students from De La Salle Secondary School during the Chat Room of Wednesday 21st July 2021. Their discussion began with a brief history of ICAC’s early establishment, then went onto focus on the duties of ICAC, role of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), purpose of Transparency International in accommodating ICAC, comparison to other countries ranked by CPI in regards to corruption, function of the Youth Against Corruption Association (YACA) among young people, finishing off with an earnest call to every member of society to always do the right thing.

Issac Timothy, currently in Grade 11, said ICAC was an enacted constitutional office intended to regulate and eradicate corruption that was reportedly widespread throughout the country. “Though PNG is still developing, the establishment of ICAC is a positive step in the right direction because what our leaders are now trying to do is to set a precedent that will change the pathway of our country and our future generation for the better,” he said.

“For far too long has the practice of ‘Wantok System’ eaten away our society’s integrity causing a detrimental toll on the lives of many. The positive impact that ICAC will have will be for the younger generation to benefit from and carry forward in breaking these forms of corruptive systems,” he added.

Grade 10 student Anthony Kaiopuna, whose ambition is to be a doctor, described corruption here in PNG as being proportionate to a pandemic due to the deteriorating impact it had on various public services. “Corruption is rife and causes so much deprivation, suffering, and death. Health, education, and living standards have declined and many young people are being forced to roam the streets and engage in acts of violence because there is no plan to cater for their needs and to empower them,” he stated.

He said though ICAC was yet to become fully functional in its duties, people of good will were paramount to ensuring ICAC’s overall operation was activated. “There are people who have the will to cause change but they have to act out and be seen in order for others to follow in their support. All it takes is for one person to make a change and when this happens, it will ultimately cause a ripple effect in society who will now push for better transparency and governance so that all people benefit as a whole,” he stressed.

Philip Armour, a student of Grade 9, recalled the recent local Military Fraud allegations published across the media and said it was time for people to start changing and reporting to ICAC for it to realize its purpose. “It starts with the small deeds we do. Honest deeds eventually reframe a person’s state of mind and attitude into becoming one of honesty and integrity,” he emphasized.

Aspiring to become a lawyer in future, Daniel Kivoi currently in Grade 10, told of how many times it seemed that young people’s voices went unheard on matters of national importance but maintained that a time would come when young people would rise together for the common good of all. “ICAC has been established and though it might be slow in its efforts now, our young people of today are very energetic and we will be the ones to ensure it fully functions in the near future so that equal and fair distribution of wealth and services is provided,” he said.

Before bringing their talk to an end, the young lads made a sincere call for all parents to start guiding their children and ensure that they grew up in an honourable and responsible manner.

On Wednesday 28th July, the Chat Room will have students from Don Bosco Technological Institute give their take on the pivotal role the ‘Whistle-blowers’ Act’ plays in safeguarding the identity and protecting nationals when reporting malpractice and corruption by officials in governmental and private sectors operating across the nation.

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