Wartoto Wil Speak If the Govt Serious to Weed out Corruption and Invite ICAC

PORT MORESBY - A prominent businessman has urged the government to be 'fair dinkum' and invite the Australian Federal Police to take charge of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) if it is serious about weeding corruption in the country.

Mr Eremas Wartoto the owner of SWT Group of companies and Travelair dubbed 'Mangi Lo Ples' - airline company and who is facing multiple corruption charges spoke out for the first time in an interview with the Post-Courier.

He said his case is before the courts which restricted him to make media comments but claimed that the Taskforce Sweep Team is a political team created to do witch hunt on certain individuals for political convenience rather than getting to the real issue of corruption.

He gave examples of the Sweep Team bias investigations into the abuse of the K500 million National Agriculture Development Program funds of which he has been charged for misapplying K13 million, while the rest of the people who got the rest totaling around K487 million are walking around freely.

He also gave an example of how he was awarded a K10 million contract out of the total K250 million RESI program to rehabilitate schools was arrested and charged while K240 million remains unaccounted and people involved in the abuse are free.

"Where did the other K240 million go because I do not see any contract and I do not see any completion certificates on file. Nobody except Kerevat showed a contract and completion certificate. Where are the completion certificates for the K240 million to show those money awarded has been done so why am I being targeted."

"That is why I draw the conclusion that those things make a reasonable man like me to think Sweep Team is biased, as it is not hard to find out who received funding as there is a cheque register in Waigani.

"If you are serious about fighting corruption, why can't they invite AusAid to run the ICAC and give it the power, the mandate and get some secondment from Australian Federal Police (AFP) to run ICAC if we are serious about ridding corruption.To me, the ICAC will be another political team just like the Sweep team. I have reasons to say that the Sweep Team is a political team, so lets be serious. Get ICAC to be independent and I mean independent."

"For Papua New Guineans to run it, I do not have any more trust. I do not have trust in the police and I do not have any more trust in our leaders to do anything independent. I am a businessman and not a politician and I am talking from my heart. We should call on our so-called friends the Australians, AFP and give them the teeth and power to run ICAC independently. Than and only then will corruption will be weeded all across the board."

Mr Wartoto said PNG has helped Australia with the asylum seekers issue and he is confident Australia will help PNG fight corruption independently outside the government body.

So let's be fair dinkum as the Australians say and invite the Australian Federal Police to help us fight corruption. [PostCourier]
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