Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, is facing a confidence vote tomorrow. So naturally, now is the obvious time to pay every government MP US$900,000...
A Papua New Guinea Treasury source has revealed that the government has ordered a payment of US$900,000 to each government MP at the so-called 'Alotau retreat'.
The national broadcaster NBC reported the source, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the Finance Department was instructed to make payments ahead of tomorrow's vote of no-confidence in prime minister Peter O'Neill.
MPs who converged for the talks in Alotau and committed to support Mr O'Neill were in line for the payments, which were to be provided under the District Services Improvement Programme.
Officially, these funds are supposed to be used by MPs (but only government MPs, mind) to improve infrastructure in their districts. But what it actually is is a slush and bribery fund. And even if applied to their intended purpose, it still directs public spending to the government's supporters, effectively imposing a political test on the receipt of public services.
This practice is simply corrupt. Sadly, its the way politics works in PNG.