Dr Patrick Onguglo
The Prime Minister Peter O’Neill (‘aka O’Steal) has personally and unilaterally directed that the State of PNG borrow US$1.2 Billion Dollars through international financiers syndicated by the Swiss UBS Bank, to buy 10% of Oil Search Limited (OSL) shares. It is believed this transaction is motivated by personal gain. Therefore, this loan is believed to be for a corrupt outcome. This corruption is perpetrated by UBS and other international banks lending the money.
PNG does not need the loan. It is Peter O’Neill who needs the loan for his own corrupt gain. He is using the country’s assets to obtain a personal benefit. This must be made very clear to the international lenders. On this basis no future PNG Government will be liable to repay the funds, lent for an illegal purpose.
As of this article the international lenders will be deemed to be aware of the allegations I make here.( I invite the Prime Minister to contradict me if he can).
This is not an ordinary share purchase (investment) made by the Prime Minister on behalf of the people of PNG. What I am about to reveal is only known to a few key people in government circles.
In 2013 Total, the French Petroleum conglomerate entered into a deal with InterOil Limited wherein it purchased 60% stock in InterOil with the intention to develop the Gulf/Elk-Antelope LNG Project. Total bench marked the price of the InterOil shares against the known oil and gas reserves of InterOil’s Gulf/Elk LNG reserves, and international price indicators.
InterOil was started by two men in this country, Phil Mulacek and Gayland Baker in early 1990s. These two men, one a Texan and the other from California walked into Port Moresby government offices with empty brief cases promising to build an Oil Refinery in PNG out of one abandoned by Chevron in Alaska. While Curtain Brothers offered the Motukea refinery, these two men with very slick marketing skills, and Gayland Baker’s position as a director of conservative Fuller Christian Seminary, gained the upper hand.
The rest is history, of the way they manipulated government decision making processes, public announcements, to gain every benefit, favour, approval, license and a free lift up in every other step of that company’s development.
InterOil today is testimony to how Phil Mulacek has carefully and deliberately manipulated the goodness of the people of PNG and their government, how he has ruthlessly and unscrupulously exploited the weaknesses of key leaders of PNG, to build a personal fortune worth several hundred Million Dollars for himself and his extended family. Mulacek has been ably assisted by Christian Vincent, the Frenchman, his brother-in-law who acts as Phil’s main go-to man who has also gained in the hundreds of Millions.
In a small town things can get a bit incestuous, as Christian Vincent’s long term girlfriend in PNG happens to be the Fijian-Indian Lady with the short skirt who is the CEO for Peter O’Neill insurance company. Peter O’Neill is no stranger to Vincent and Mulacek having had many private dinners and meetings over the years when Mr O’Neill was a Minister in the Somare Cabinet.
Having sold 60% of InterOil to the French Company for several hundred Million dollars, Mulacek and co have been holding out the balance of the shares of 40% for a price that is almost triple what the French have paid for per share previously. The French having pre-emptive rights could not pay the price that the Mulacek camp has been asking for the balance of the shares. Meanwhile the Gulf-Elk LNG Project is not going anywhere fast.
The Mulacek camp have been trying to play Total against Exxon and Oil Search Ltd, who both also expressed interest in a piece of the action. Mulacek had hoped Total would pay the price to own the whole lot or Exxon would pay a premium to participate. No one took the bait. Over the years people have become tired and weary of Mulacek and his antics, always trying to profiteer and gain unreasonably, when he came to PNG with nothing. The InterOil project could have been fully financial 5 years ago had Mulacek not been greedy and held out.
This game has developed into a stalemate with Total holding majority stock and cant fund the project until it took the rest of the stock. It required a game breaker.
This is where the creative genius of Phil Mulacek came to the fore once again, and perhaps for the last time against the people of PNG. He approached Peter O’Neill through the lady with the short skirt for a private meeting. In that meeting it was laid out to ONeill that someone should assist Oil Search Limited (who has expressed interest ) to buy the balance of the 40% shares in Interoil for the exorbitant price that even Total would not pay. That Oil Search Limited had already been sounded out on this, and provided someone funded OilSearch Limited for the price of the Interoil Shares they would do the deal to further fortify them against any corporate raid. The State of PNG taking the shares would surely be a poison pill for the Dubai based Arabs seeking to do a raid on OilSearch Limited. The aggregate agreed price for 40% InterOil shares and OilSearch 10% shares was in the vicinity of USD1.0 Billion with enough fat to go around.
What was put to O’Neill in that meeting was that if he could get the Government of PNG to borrow USD$1.2 Billion from international commercial lenders, and buy 10% of Oilsearch Limited shares, Oilsearch Limited would use the proceeds definitely to buy the 40% shares from Interoil at its ridiculous asking price, AND THERE WOULD BE A VERY TIDY KICK BACK OF USD$100 MILLION FROM MULACEK & CO TO ONEILL for making this happen.
This was the game breaker. O’Neill became the game breaker. He became Peter O’Steal.
Having shook hands on the deal in last quarter of 2013, Phil Mulacek has been working feverishly with Peter Botten of Oil Search Limited, to get international lenders to lend to the State this huge sum of money, while Peter O’Neill has been carefully moving the right people into right places to take the decisions for him, and to cover his arse in the State agencies. The last act was to move the Minister for Petroleum William Duma aside and put his own man Duban in place to approve the deal. O’Neill knew Duma would see through the deal as unfair, unreasonable and corrupt and not approve it.
Last week Peter O’Neill has had lawyers and Financiers and bankers camping all over town feverishly working to finalize the deal. The only Minister working closely with O’Neill to close the deal is Ben Micah, who will support O’Neill because he needs ONeill to turn a blind eye to his own stealing.
Most of the Members of Parliament in the Government side do not know about this very juicy and lucrative deal that is going down just this week.
In fact most of the Cabinet Ministers do not even know. The Opposition does not have the manpower or the resources to keep up with Peter O’Steall’s very active life of carrying on private business deals while pretending to be Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. Only a few people close to him only know some of the deals, but not all.
This Prime Minister has made more money using his position as Prime Minister of this country than any other leader in the history of this country, and that folks, is the understatement of the Century. Nothing over K10 Million passes the Tenders Board, for example, without the Prime Minister getting a look in first. His fingers are so sticky that it is now common knowledge among all his Coalition Party colleagues that this man is not good for PNG.
Papua New Guineans need to ask, and ascertain very clearly that:
1. The State does not need the 10% of OilSearch Limited Shares. Oilsearch Limited is a public company. It can bloody well raise its own money and buy the shares. When Peter Botten was first approached to buy the Interoil shares he baulked at the sale price as he knew what Total paid. Interoil was asking far too much. When he was again approached with State Offer, he realized it would be a poison pill to have the State to hold substantial shares in OilSearch, so he happily agreed. Oilsearch quickly overpriced its batch of 10% shares and was also gaining from the sale of the shares to the State. Everybody gains from the State.
2. The Deal and the Loan is not in the best commercial or financial interests of PNG and its economy. The Country has already pledged its assets, including the previous Oilsearch Shares (18%), to the Dubai based financiers of our LNG interests. Why borrow more to get into debt with Swiss Banks this time and park the interest encumbered (shares) in the same commercial entity (Oilsearch) that the Dubai lenders already have priority in call over? Putting all our LNG eggs (revenue stream) in one basket is not a wise move.
3. Why didn’t Peter O’Neill opt to use the money to allow the State to exercise its option to acquire 22.5% of the Gulf Elk LNG Project?
4. Why is Peter O’Neill helping to protect OilSearch which is a public company- unless there is a catch?
5. Has Peter O’Neill relied on a fair and commercial valuation of the shares of Oil Search Limited to justify the price, despite the prevailing share price? Where is the professional valuation?
6. Why is Peter O’Neill borrowing USD1.2 Billion to fund shares when the money can be best spent on health and education and infrastructure?
7. How can the PNG economy which is already burdened by debt and currently underpinned by 2 consecutive years of massive budget deficits afford to shoulder this huge debt burden? Why has Peter O’Neill further mortgaged our future?
8. Why has Peter O’Neill further exposed the PNG economy to the LNG Project. All the hopes of the politicians are on the LNG Project. This is a huge and monumental gamble; particularly because the State has failed to honour its agreements with the Landowners, and the State ( Arthur Somare) has failed to explain what happened to the 3% of the State’s 22.5% in the PNG LNG Project. What happened to the 3%? Mr ONeill was Finance Minister. He knows what happened to the 3% in the Dubai deal. Perhaps he can explain? The Landowners will not allow leaders to trick and mislead them anymore. They are wiser by the day.
9. Why didn’t Peter O’Neill allow the USD1.2 Billion to be borrowed by Kumul Holdings or National Petroleum Company or even the IPBC, for it to buy outright the shares of Interoil? Why gift Oil Search Limited this money at the expense of the people of PNG? Why does OilSearch have to own the InterOil Shares (thereby the Gulf-ELK LNG Project) when the State could easily acquire it and own it- and not for that price!
10. What is the underlying rationale and underlying value in the exorbitant price (of the loan) of the InterOil Shares? Who has done independent industry benchmarked valuations based on which Peter O’Neill has agreed with Mulacek to do this deal?
11. What is the nature of the Mulacek-O’Neill kickback and how was it designed to be delivered?
12. Is it true this major investment decision worth approximately K4 Billion was made by one man, Peter O’Neill, without Cabinet or Parliamentary approval or debate? If so then it is clearly an abuse of the office of the PM, and he should be referred to the Ombudsman for investigation.
There are many things absolutely and seriously wrong with this investment decision. The Prime Minister has no power to unilaterally commit this country like he has done with Manus Asylum seekers etc. It has become abuse of power. He has become dictatorial.
O’Neill is currently getting government agencies and Departments to approve this transaction for which even the Finance & Treasury officials and the Bank of PNG have not done any formal prior appraisal of this loan. He is trying to rail road the proper government agencies to approve this transaction, when they haven’t even done any proper evaluation of this loan against the country’s other commitments and debt levels.
I call on Ministers of Cabinet, Government Coalition Partners and Leaders to demand full briefing on this transaction, and all documentation on this transaction be tabled in Cabinet and Parliament for public scrutiny. I call on the Cabinet Ministers and coalition partners to block this stupid loan.
I call on Senior Ministers to feel sorry for this country and its people, to take their oaths to serve the people seriously. I call on responsible Ministers to stand firm and not endorse this deal even it means their sacking. It is time for principled leaders to stand up to this PM and his greed.
Already the PM has set it all up so that he does not sign any documents himself. He is using quiet pressure through other people including, once again Ministers Marabe, Polye, Micah and Duban to sign and endorse this deal that Parliament and Cabinet did not approve. Even if Cabinet approved it, it seems they would have been mis-informed. When the shit hits the fan, the PM will naturally go after these Ministers and once again, blame them, as he did with the Paraka deal.
This is a stupid deal, designed to benefit a few greedy and selfish people. IT MUST BE STOPPED!
The Prime Minister needs to declare his interest in this matter publicly and resign. He has taken far too much from this country and the small people. He has to learn that enough is enough!
Justice Hartshorn, operating apparently in cahoots with the Attorney General Kerenga Kua and international law firm Allens, has managed to turn upside down a whole series of legal precedents, practices and rules to defeat an injunction obtained by Western Province landowners to stop the continued pollution of the Fly river by Ok Tedi Mining Limited.
While the judges ultimate decision, that the interim ex parte injunction should be lifted, may, ironically be correct, the method by which he took possession of the matter, his erroneous legal reasoning and his bulldozing of established legal principles leave a big stink hanging over his name and the lawyers who seemingly conspired with him to cook the process.
Here is a quick list of what Justice Hartshorn got wrong and how he manipulated the situation to deliver what was clearly a pre-determined outcome:
- It is unprecedented for the National Court to stay its own orders, and particularly one judge has no power to stay the orders of another judge. If a party wants a stay then it should appeal the original decision to the Supreme court.
- Hartshorn has seized on the power of the National court to issue a stay on proceedings and completely misinterpreted / abused that power to pretend it gives a right to stay an order.
- Hartshorn also relied on Supreme Court decisions and authorities that only apply in the Supreme court and which do not apply in the National court
- The original injunction was made ex-parte and given a return date to be argued inter partes. The simple and correct procedure was for any variation in the order to made at that inter parties hearing. Instead Hartshorn has grabbed control of the case and made his own orders without any legal precedent.
- In order to get the matter into his Court Hartshorn had to first make another erroneous decision. He ruled that the matter was a commercial matter and therefore could be transferred to his court. But the case is clearly not a commercial case in the legal sense as it is a case brought by the landowners over environmental damage and the dumping of poisons tailings into the Fly river.
- Hartshorn heard the case and made his decision without the mining company – the central player in the litigation – even being present or having any legal representation! The company had only just been served with a notice of the proceedings but Hartshorn refused to adjourn the matter to allow them to be present and heard.
To compound this litany of abuse, Allens, the legal firm instructed by Kua to appear for the State of Papua New Guinea, are also the long servicing legal representatives for Ok Tedi Mining Limited – putting them in a gross conflict of interest situation where they are acting for the regulator in a case brought by the landowners for gross environmental damage caused by another of their clients.
Even worse, there is other litigation currently before the courts in Port Moresby where Allens are acting for Ok Tedi Mining Limited in a matter instigated by the company AGAINST the Minister for Mining, the Minister for Finance and the State.
Clearly these big international lawyers have no conscience or appreciation of common legal ethics… but at the end of the day in this sorry drama it is the poor people of Western Province who continue to suffer while the fat cats in their air conditioned city offices count their ill-gotten gains.
There will be no action to revoke illegal SABL leases while Forest Minister Patrick Pruaitch remains in charge of the Prime Minister’s response to the huge land grab.
Pruaitch has been a staunch defender of the logging industry for more than a decade and has been directly involved in many of its corrupt and illegal deals
In particular, Pruaitch is a committed supporter of Rimbunan Hijau, the biggest beneficiary of the illegal SABL land grab. Pruaitch has been personally implicated in many of RH’s illegal logging deals over the past decade – as we reveal below thanks to the investigations of Masalai i Tokaut.
The Prime Minister has appointed a Task Force of three Ministers headed by Pruaitch together with Benny Allen and Tommy Tomscoll to implement the SABL Commission of Inquiry recommendation that 66 of 72 SABL leases be revoked because they are illegal.
But six months after its appointment the Task Force has not revoked a single illegal lease and the reasons for its inaction are obvious.The primary beneficiary of the illegal leases are foreign logging companies who are using the leases as cover for their fraudulent logging operations.
The Commission of Inquiry found that:
With corrupt government officials from implementing agencies riding shotgun for them, opportunistic loggers masquerading as agro-forestry developers are prowling our countryside, scoping opportunities to take advantage of gullible landowners and desperate for cash clan leaders… Our investigations reveal that over 50% of the so-called developers’ currently holding subleases on SABLs are connected in one way or another to Rimbunan Hijau (RH) Limited, which by far is the biggest logging operator in PNG’
In 2012 alone the value of the logs stolen for illegal SABL lease areas was K172 million – and that is just the value of the raw logs. Once sawn into rough timber the value of the logs multiplies four or five times.
Patrick Pruaitch been heavily involved in the corrupt world of the logging industry since been appointed Forest Minister by Michael Somare after the 2002 election. Since then Pruaitch has personally orchestrated many of the corrupt and illegal deals – many of them involving Rimbunan Hijau.
Pruaitch first came to attention in 2003 when the State conveniently paid K150,000 to the lawyer Pruaitch had used in a private matter defending himself against an election petition. The lawyer, Joseph Yagi, was also the lawyer for controversial logging company Concord Pacific which had an extensive illegal operation in Western Province. Read more – Ministers lawyer paid by the State.
As Forest Minister Pruaitch then refused to take any action after an internal government inquiry reveled six new illegal logging deals, the largest three of which involved Rimbunan Hijau – The Robber Barons are still here. Pruaitch also personally rejected a decision of the National Forest Board to award a new logging concession to a non Rimbunan Hijau subsidiary – Forest Minister Pruaitch beyond the law – and intervened to stop the Forest Board discussing sanctions against RH for illegal and unsustainable logging – Forest Minister Unlawfully Intervenes.
In January 2004, Pruaitch’s defence of an illegal logging operation in New Ireland was exposed as being full of lies and misinformation – Ministers explanation full of lies. Later the same year Pruaitch was exposed for lying to Parliament – Forest Minister lied to Parliament.
In 2005 an internal Forest Authority audit report found Patrick Pruaitch had stolen more than K20,000 from the public purse through double-dipping. The auditors described the Ministers conduct as “dishonest, unethical and improper’ – Ministers conduct dishonest and corrupt.
In 2006 it was revealed how Rimbunan Hijau was even writing Pruaitch’s media releases as Minister –
Other examples of the close relationship between Pruaitch and the illegal operations of Rimbunan Hijau are revealed in:
- Sold into slavery by Pruaitch
- Rimbunan Hijau puts the squeeze on Pruaitch
- Minister breaks law to save RH
- Pruaitch and Somare chopping down the Sepik
- Forest Minister tries to gag debate
Given this appalling history is it any wonder that no action has been taken by the O’Neill government to revoke the illegal SABL leases?
Peter O’Neill’s handling of the illegal SABL land grab shows he is impotent in the face of Malaysian logging company control of PNG politicians and officials.
Twenty-five years ago the Barnett Commission of Inquiry blew the whistle on widespread corruption and fraud in the forest industry in Papua New Guinea. Today, our politicians still remain under the control of foreign, mainly Malaysian, logging companies.
The 1989 Inquiry, headed by Australian judge Justice Barnett, famously described the logging companies as acting like robber barons:
“It would be fair to say… they are now roaming the countryside with the self-assurance of robber barons; bribing politicians and leaders, creating social disharmony and ignoring laws in order to gain access to, rip out and export the last remnants of the province’s valuable timber.
Almost twenty-five years later, the recent 2013 SABL Commission of Inquiry into fraudulent agriculture leases has found nothing has changed:
With corrupt government officials from implementing agencies riding shotgun for them, opportunistic loggers masquerading as agro-forestry developers are prowling our countryside, scoping opportunities to take advantage of gullible landowners and desperate for cash clan leaders… Our investigations reveal that over 50% of the so-called developers’ currently holding subleases on SABLs are connected in one way or another to Rimbunan Hijau (RH) Limited, which by far is the biggest logging operator in PNG’.
The Special Agriculture and Business Leases are the latest mechanism used by the loggers to get access to valuable timber resources. They have been used to take control of over 5 million hectares of forest – more than 10% of Papua New Guinea’s total landmass.
The SABL Commission of Inquiry recommended 66 of 72 leases be revoked as they are illegal. But six months after receiving the Commissions reports the government of Peter O’Neill has done nothing to implement those recommendations.
As a result million of dollars worth of illegally felled logs are leaving the country every week, mostly destined for China.
Swiss company SGS, which says it assiduously monitors log exports, says the value of the raw logs exported from the SABL lease areas was K172 million in 2012. Once sawn into rough timber in China the value of the logs multiplies by a factor of four or five. It is used in the manufacture of furniture, decking and other products for markets in Europe and the USA.
The only thing blocking the implementation of the SABL Commission of Inquiry recommendation that the leases be revoked is the Malaysian logging companies who are reaping rich rewards from the illegally felled timber and the politicians and bureaucrats who are in their pay.
Clearly the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, if not a direct beneficiary himself of the loggers bribes, is to impotent or incompetent to break their control over our politicians and bureaucrats.
“TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH SHALL BE REQUIRED”
By WHISTLEBLOWER via PNG News
The Department of Works and Implementation has been given a huge allocation in the 2013 and 2014 National Budgets. With the allocation and entrusting of such a huge amount of money comes great responsibility. Of all government departments and agencies, the departments of Works, Health and Education MUST receive the greatest scrutiny because they have received the greatest slice of budgetary allocations in recent years. Many times we focus on MPs and Ministers and overlook the implementers or public servants, starting with Department Secretaries.
Acting Department of Works Secretary David Wereh has been living a lavish lifestyle ever since his appointment in June/July 2012 to replace suspended former secretary Joel Luma. David Wereh who comes from Kuwi Village in the Koare LLG of the Ialibu Pangia District, Southern Highlands Province is another close associate and “wantok” of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. Word from sources close to the Acting Secretary is that he often receives orders and directives directly from Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, bypassing Works Minister Francis Awesa. This link to the PM will be revealed in some stunning revelations below.
Some investigations into the business dealings of Mr Wereh reveal that the Business Name “G.J.D Trucking (6-107136)” was incorporated with IPA on 24 January 2012. The business is listed as being owned by Matilda WEREH, the wife of Acting Secretary David Wereh. For a “TRUCKING COMPANY”, it is also interesting that checks done at MVIL do not show any “trucks” or even “motor vehicles” owned by this company.
The Business has a bank account with Westpac Bank, opened on 17 February 2012. What is very interesting is that even though this “trucking business” does not have any vehicles registered under its business name with MVIL, the business has been receiving substantial amounts of money from very interesting sources. While some payments appear to be regular and may be related to the business, there are other “irregular payments” that seem highly dubious and suspicious. A number of these payments can be easily linked to companies that have tendered for and won road construction or road maintenance contracts. Regular “CASH” deposits of K9,900 have been made into the account apart from other amounts.
The payment that stands out as being very interesting is linked to L&A Construction; a company which many commentators on Social Media have alleged has business links with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. A tidy sum of K111,000 was paid into the business account of G.J.D Trucking at Westpac Bank on 1st May 2012, around the time L&A Construction won the bid for the re-construction of Marea Haus (Pineapple Building). Another BSP Cheque for K200,000 from an unidentified source was deposited into the account shortly after on 4th May 2012.
There are also stories of so many contracts handed out to paper companies owned by tribesmen, clansmen, cronies, supporters and wantoks of both David Wereh and Peter O’Neill for real or imagined “road construction” and “road maintenance” works in the Ialibu Pangia district of Southern Highlands Province. Companies of cronies and close associates of the Acting Secretary like 7th Star Hire Car Ltd (1-83470) registered on 30 May 2012 have close links and business deals with the Acting Secretary. Directors of this company are a PNGan Garry KANDIPA and Australian Paolo UCCHINO.
Sources have revealed that David and Matilda Wereh have had a sudden change in their lifestyle, ever since David Wereh was appointed Acting Secretary for Works in 2012. Their children have been sent to the most expensive international schools and frequent overseas holidays to Australia are part of what has become a lifestyle which many Department Secretaries or public servants cannot afford on their public service salaries. It is not unusual for them to carry around large amounts of cash and throw lavish parties, both in Port Moresby and back in their village. Christianity has been used conveniently as a cover as they portray the image of being committed Christians who give much money to the “work of God”.
There are so many other examples of how Acting Secretary David Wereh is using his position to benefit himself and his and the Prime Minister’s cronies and supporters. With direct access to the PM, Mr Wereh is seemingly untouchable by his Minister Francis Awesa who has been relegated to the sidelines. It is no wonder road construction companies are sprouting up like mushrooms all over Southern Highlands and particularly in Ialibu and Pangia.
There was also a deposit of K150,000 on 7 March 2013 into the account of G.J.D Trucking with the narration “B/- Ela Enterprise”. It is not known whether this is a business name or a company. A check with IPA online shows that Ela Enterprise Ltd is a company owned by Indians and based in Madang. If the company is into “Road Construction/Maintenance” or similar works, then the link may be drawn that this payment was a “sweetener” for the awarding of contracts.
It is interesting to note that this account with Westpac Bank was closed on 10th February 2014 after Government Agencies such as IRC and others began asking questions. IRC are encouraged to check further on the “business activities” of G.J.D Trucking to see if all their taxes have been paid for the funds that have been deposited into that account.
The public on social media are encouraged to CONTRIBUTE any information you may know. All relevant documentation relating to this “unofficial investigation” are on hand. Together with any new information contributed on social media, a file will be put together and forwarded to the relevant authorities to investigate further and take appropriate ACTION!! For a start, Acting Secretary David Wereh MUST NOT be confirmed to this position if the government of Peter O’Neill is serious about fighting corruption!
Guards hired by scandal-prone British firm accused of using iron bars and rocks during riot at Australian offshore immigration detention centre
Jonathan Pearlman | Daily Telegraph (UK)
Guards employed by scandal-hit British security firm G4S have been accused of using iron bars and rocks to attack detainees at Australia’s offshore immigration detention centre in Papua New Guinea.
Though details of the riot remain sketchy, several witnesses have claimed that uniformed local G4S guards were behind the attacks, which left one detainee dead and 77 injured.
“They started beating them… some of them with sticks and some of them with all these hose, rubber hose and pipes,” an unnamed witness told ABC News.
“[The detainees] were trying to hide themselves… but the G4S went in, opened the room and pulled them out and [belted] all of them.”
The camp, on Manus Island, which holds about 1,300 asylum seekers, has been criticised as inhumane and unlawful by the United Nations and rights groups.
Local guards from G4S have told reporters they were outnumbered by hundreds of angry detainees who threw stones and shouted insults.
“They were swearing at us… so they start throwing stones and start pushing gates,” a guard told ABC News. “So what we do is we all G4S local nationals and expats we just rushed in to save our counterparts. So that’s where the trouble began and the fight started.”
Another said: “They were fighting, throwing things at us. So some of us were hit and we retaliated.”
G4S said its guards at the centre were not armed and that it was concerned about the allegations. It promised to support an official inquiry.
“Our personnel on duty during the disturbances acted with courage, strength and determination to protect those in our care,” the firm said.
Ashley Almanza , the head of G4S, the world’s largest security group, admitted late last year that it needed to “invest more in risk management” following a series scandals.
The firm, which operates in more than 125 countries worldwide, was heavily criticised for failing to hire enough security guards for the 2012 London Olympics. Its staff were also accused of torturing inmates at a South African prison.
The riots at Manus Island are being investigated by Papua New Guinea police, but the nation’s prime minister, Peter O’Neill, insisted that police fired shots “to calm things down”.
Australia has reopened its two Pacific island detention centres in the past 18 months in an attempt to stem the flow of asylum seekers arriving by boat from south-east Asia. Both centres have now been the scenes of violent riots. Australia’s Green Party has said that the Manus Island centre should be closed to prevent further “horror”.
Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, has also ordered an investigation into the G4S incident but said he would not succumb to “moral blackmail” to close down the centre.
“We will ensure these camps are run fairly, if necessary firmly,” he said.
Read about other G4S scandals on PNG Exposed:
- G4S boss Kerry McNamara was responsible for the infamous Tasty nightclub raid
- Disgraced G4S boss at the centre of bulling claims in 2008
- G4S boss McNamara banned from working at Brisbane and Melbourne airports
- More on the history of G4S security boss Kerry McNamara
- G4S boss Kerry McNamara labled “unethical and disgraceful” in police disciplinary report
Goodie. The Australian government has returned to the lectern to chastise PNG over corruption and lack of development. Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, has slammed the PNG government claiming corruption is rife, and laments PNG’s backward slide on the Millennium Development Goals.
Which would be fine, were it not an act of complete policy schizophrenia. Because while the Australian Foreign Minister tut-tuts at PNG, her government – and those before it – pursue an economic agenda in PNG that fosters corruption and undermines community-led, sustainable ‘development’.
What’s more ‘aid’ is a key weapon employed by Australia to engineer economic arrangements in PNG it says will alleviate ‘poverty’, but which in reality have fostered corruption, a growing criminal economy, epic land grabs, a bloated extractive industry, lunar landscapes, and a decade long war.
For instance, no one has been more proactive in pushing the sale of PNG’s mineral, oil and gas resources to foreign multinationals than the Australia government, with AusAID – now part of DFAT – at the forefront of these efforts through its ‘mining for development’ programme. According to DFAT, ‘the mining sector has considerable potential to help reduce poverty, accelerate human development and economic growth, and support progress towards the Millennium Development Goals’.
In reality it creates a bonanza for Australian/Canadian/Chinese/US miners and construction firms, who conveniently turn a blind eye to the big black hole they dump their tax revenues into – and claim, contrary to all the evidence, that they are helping to ‘develop’ PNG.
The fact is these revenues are pumped into government coffers, and then national ‘entrepreneurs’, with a supporting cast of foreign criminals, devise a whole series of scams to privatise it, ensuring minimal amounts make it into aid posts, schools, roads, communications, universities and infrastructure (when it does, it is often decimated by bribery and inflated prices submitted by client contractors).
The scams vary in complexity. Sometimes they involve blatant misappropriation of money and assets, in more complex examples they consist of inflated contracts, bogus consultancies, jobs for mates, sham law suits, privatisation of public assets … the list goes on and on.
All of which is sustained because PNG lacks a real economy, one built around the everyday sweat shed by rural and urban workers. Instead there has emerged a fictitious economy built on misappropriation and swindle, which is propped up by the tribute (tax) paid by miners to political intermediaries (corrupted government agencies). And lets not be naive – the miners are aware of the graft, and are content to see it continue. National leaders working for money are obedient, those working for the people don’t dance as readily to the multinational’s tunes.
And what is the other big Australian agenda that has been pushed by AusAID, and its academic satellites, over the years? Why the privatisation of customary land, through land registration schemes. If customary landowners were able to convert vast tracts of land into economic assets, so the argument goes, PNG could experience a grass roots economic boom.
Yet we know in those instances where land in PNG has been ‘converted’ into economic assets it has sparked a frenzy of white collar criminality. First the land is acquired through a series of illegal transactions, be it through defrauding customary owners or paying off friends in the Lands Department. The alienated asset then becomes part of a black economy, a reality that is covered up by the ‘legal’ leases proudly displayed by the villains. With their crooked schemes hidden under a cloak of legality these mainly foreign land-grabbers can then take advantage of sky-rocketing urban housing prices, or prey upon the country’s rich forestry resources. The national elite cashes in as fixers for these crooked deals, drawing on their political and customary connections.
All of this is laid out in the SABL inquiry reports, and Public Account Committee inquiries, currently collecting dust.
And some of the biggest names in PNG politics and business, have been involved in these nefarious trades and schemes. The likes of Peter Yama, Paul Paraka, Peter O’Neill, Michael Nali, Andrew Mald, Rex Paki, Gabriel Kapris, Tom Amaiu, Beldan Namah, Paul Tiensten, Eramus Wortoto, Puka Temu, William Duma, to name just a few, have been condemned in anti-corruption reporting, judicial inquiries, and in the pages of PNG Exposed.
So, in effect here is how it works. The Australian government wants to see a business and political elite mobilised so PNG can be converted into a giant market, on which its natural resources are the main traded item. Evidently the trickle down effect will lift villages out of what the aid boffins call ‘poverty’.
In reality it has 1) built a fictitious economy resting on the rents generated by a bloated extractive industry; 2) facilitated a black trade in land and forestry resources; 3) allowed a national elite, embedded in illegal enterprises, to consolidate their power and wealth-base, creating a stranglehold on the top jobs in government.
And then what happens when our honourable leaders park their ill-gotten gains in the Queensland economy, to the cheers of real estate agents? It falls on deaf ears in Australia. And what happens when Aussie fraudsters steal from our public purse, or concoct schemes to take our resources? It falls on deaf ears in Australia. And what happens when rural communities attempt to work collectively in order to harness their own resources in small-scale industries constructed in the spirit of sustainable, self-reliance? Nothing, they are not encouraged or assisted, indeed a self-reliant nation of autonomous producers is to be feared, and dependency is instead actively encouraged by Australia – dependency on mining revenues, dependency of foreign ‘investors’, dependency on resource rents, dependency on foreign ‘advice’, never autonomy, never self-reliance, never self-determination, never self-belief.
Julie Bishop, if PNG is a monster Australia is Dr Frankenstein!