PNG most corrupt country in APEC

Papua New Guinea is the most corrupt country in APEC. This is according to data published by Transparency International (TI).

Analysis of the TI Corruption Perceptions Index for the past five-years, 2013-17, shows PNG in last place among the twenty ranked APEC countries.

PNG’s average score is just 26.6 out of 100. This places it two points below Russia, in second last place, and 3.4 points lower than Mexico, third from the bottom.

In contrast, regional neighbour New Zealand has ranked first or equal-first in four of the last five years, with an average score of over ninety points.

In the latest 2017 Index, Papua New Guinea is ranked a lowly 135th among all 180 countries assessed; placing it in the lowest quartile globally, alongside fellow APEC members Russia and Mexico.

The highest ranking APEC countries in the TI index are New Zealand, in first place, Singapore, ranked sixth globally, and Canada, eighth. Papua New Guinea’s largest aid donor, Australia, sits in 13th place globally, and fourth in the list of APEC countries.

Given Papua New Guinea’s dismal corruption ranking it is not surprising that serious questions are emerging about the transparency and fairness of the extravagant government spending on hosting the Leaders Summit.

What is surprising though, is that major donors like Australia and New Zealand have not done more to ensure the transparency of APEC spending and to assist Papua New Guinea more generally to tackle its endemic corruption.

Rather than expensive new roads in the capital Port Moresby and a lavish fleet of new government cars, a fully funded and operational Independent Commission Against Corruption, which the PNG government has been promising for a decade, would have been a much more worthy and useful APEC legacy that Australia, New Zealand and other APEC donors could have ensured became a reality.

A fully funded and well resourced ICAC would have been a beacon of hope for a better Papua New Guinea; one that could have truly served the needs and aspirations of the nation for decades to come.