The innovative “Phones Against Corruption” initiative by the Department of Finance and the United Nations Development Program is set to expand to another 44 government agencies.
Having been described as a runaway success, the Phones Against Corruption initiative is an anonymous reporting system, through which members of the public are encouraged to report concerns relating to acts and incidents amounting to corruption.
As a precursor to other, yet to be formalised anti-corruption initiatives, such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Phones Against Corruption initiative has already aided in uncovering about 500 corruption-related cases in the past four years.
Of these 500 cases, more than 70 are in various stages of investigation, 10 have been completed, five are before the courts and two have resulted in convictions.
Finance Secretary, Dr Ken Ngangan said that his department had started the initiative to combat corruption in the financial management sector.
He said he was pleased that other government agencies were eager to join the initiative, but that the expansion also represented a considerable undertaking on their part.
“Phones Against Corruption is an initiative of my department. We are serious about curbing corruption within the finance management sector and we will take strict action in compliance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA),” Dr Ngangan said.
“The expansion to include 44 state agencies is a considerable undertaking by my department, but we are determined to continue upholding good finance management practices and good governance as per the PFMA. I am pleased that these departments share our commitment to do this by joining this initiative,” he said.
UNDP deputy resident representative, Tracy Vienings said: “UNDP is proud to be involved with this bold and innovative approach to ensure vital services reach the people. Promoting good governance, upholding the rule of law and combating corruption are key features of the work of UNDP.
“We will continue to support Government partners on this and support their efforts to deliver projects that contribute to real improvements in people’s lives and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
Testament to its success, the initiative has already won global recognition; winning the “Best Citizen Engagement” award at the GovInsider Innovation Awards in 2016 and the “Integrity Initiative of Excellence” from Transparency International PNG last year.