Abuses in Foreign Missions


The PM recently instituted an Audit into the operations of one of the Foreign Missions allegedly for disposing of state property without complying with due processes as stipulated under the Financial Management Act (FMA), Public Service Management Act (PSMA) and the Foreign Service Manual of Operations and other related guidelines.

This disposition and the subsequent audit carried out, as they say “is Only the tip of the iceberg”. Whilst waiting for the outcome of the audit, let us scrutinize some of the conduct of our Foreign Missions and its Officers at Post. The PNG Embassy in Manila Philippines will be in the uppermost list in official corrupt practices, abuse and mismanagement, especially of funds, allocated and funds generated through its Consular Services i.e. visa and Immigration services fees etc.

From the Ambassador down to all staff, each has a fair share of misuse and abuse. The Ambassador and his staff have no regard for the existence of the FMA & PSMA and the need to report to FA on its operations. Because the Ambassador is abusing his official position of trust, all officers want to have a fair share in this malpractice. It is alleged that a former officer of the Embassy has abused more than K500, 000.00 while serving there.

The Officer is alleged to have used the money for his/her over-aged children school fees and another extravagant lifestyle. The officer has since resigned or absconded from duties after returning from Manila. This officer is yet to be arrested and prosecuted, so far nothing has been done about this. Another female officer from the same Embassy has also used more than K100, 000.00 from the Embassy to purchase a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). A case of outright abuse.

When FA knew about this she was given a Letter of Return, however, this officer blackmailed the Foreign Affairs Secretary with her response by giving the notice to expose his alleged abuses of public funds whilst in Manila for personal business. In her letter, she has explicitly detailed all phone records of calls/SMS and directions given by the Secretary.

If she was to come back, the letter would have made headlines in all dailies and electronic media outlets. The letter was cc’d (Copies circulated) to Chief Secretary, Ombudsmen Commission, National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate. However, it is doubtful that this letter ever made it past Secretary Foreign Affairs.

The Secretary surrendered to her threat, she is still in Manila now. Similar abuses and mismanagement are rampant in most of our High Commissions and Embassies. For instance, The High Commission in Solomon Island Honiara bought 2 staff houses two years ago that are way below the exorbitant price paid, over K3 million.

These houses are in dire need of maintenance. Similar cases happening in most of our esteemed High Commissions/Embassies abroad. Hopefully, after the findings of the New Zealand Audit, PM O’Neil will sanction an Audit team to extensively investigate all the High Commissions and Embassies to uncover all the corruption/mismanagement that is practised unabated by those working abroad.