Finance Sec Gabriel Yer led a triad whole stole K1.6 million
Finance Secretary Gabriel Yer conspired with Francis Damem, Paul Paraka and Zacchary Gelu to steal K1.6 million from the people of PNG as part of the Paraka Scams.
Gabriel Yer, through his lawyer Paul Paraka, submitted a false claim for damages against the State, using the name of his then 9-year-old son, Umba Y Gabriel, to cover his tracks. The Commission of Inquiry found the claim
had all the hallmarks of a scam claim created and facilitated by a triad of people in- the highest offices of the PNG bureaucracy. It was initiated by a serving Deputy secretary for Finance (current Secretary, Mr. Gabriel Yer) as principal plaintiff… The claim was settled in record time by a willing Solicitor General (Mr. Zachary Gelu) and an even more obliging Secretary for Justice Department (Mr. Francis Damem).
Yer should be immediately sacked and then investigated by the police says the Commission report, along with Paraka, Damem and Gelu.
The claim filed by Paraka lawyers on behalf of Gabriel Yer related to an alleged raid by police on Yer’s home village in August 2000. Paraka knew all about the alleged raid as he had successfully defended a claim by the genuine villagers for compensation against the State just a few months earlier. But having defended that claim he used exactly the same set of facts to submit the false claim on behalf of Yer.
The claim was allegedly filed in the National Court (although no record can be found in the Court Registry) and just FOUR weeks later a cheque was issued for K1,649,130 to settle the matter.
It was settled in record quick time by Gelu and Damem despite:
- the fact the claim was out of time;
- the proper legal notices were never filed;
- the court has no record of the claim;
- a nine year old has no legal standing to bring a claim; and
- the State had already successfully defended a claim based on the same facts.
The Commission of Inquiry, headed by Justice Sheehan with Justice Davani and Don Manua, is scathing in its criticism of all four men involved in the scam.
Although appointed in August 2006, the Commission faced numerous legal challenges, mainly from Paraka lawyers who represented Yet, Damem and Gelu throughout the hearings.
The Commission also suffered interruptions to its funding so that in the three years from 2006 it was only able to operate for a total of 12 months and its final report, published in October 2009, only contains the findings from 45 full investigations with 212 more still outstanding.
The Commission Report relating to Yer and his triad can be downloaded here: