By Calvin Caspar
The National Executive Council has terminated Anthony Wagambie as Police Commissioner. The announcement came one day after Wagambie made wholesale changes to command and control of NCD Police Command .
Mr. Wagambie will be replaced by former Deputy Commissioner, Tom Kulunga, who will act in the position until a substantive appointment is made.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill says Deputy Police Commissioner Operations, Fred Yakasa will also be replaced.
Announcing this late this afternoon in a media statement, Mr. O’Neill says the decision was regrettable, blaming the Somare Government for leading Mr. Wagambie into the situation.
Mr. Wagambie’s appointment was found to have been made without the mandatory consultation process with appropriate authorities. He was found to have gone over the compulsory retirement age of 60-years for Heads of State departments.
Mr. Wagambie’s appointment was also found to be for only 14 months, which expires in July 2012, which is against the Police Act, which requires an appointment to be for four years.
The Prime Minister claims there is no politics involved in the changes, adding that the move is to ensure the Royal PNG Constabulary is stable when the country goes in for the National General Elections.
Mr. O’Neill says, the Government will ensure Mr. Wagambie does not suffer any financial loss because of the premature termination.
Dr Ronda Nadile, sacked from the Department of Labour for exposing gross misappropriation and misuse of Trusts Funds, was also the officer who in 2010 bravely exposed the role of then Prime Minister Michael Somare in securing work visa’s for Chinese labourers to work on the Ramu nickel mine.
“The very last session of the day included a presentation by Dr Rona Nadile, the First Asst Secretary of the Dept of Labour and Industrial Relations, speaking about PNG’s new work permit laws. Lots of info on relaxed requirements for foreign workers, etc, and yet at one point she noted that there is a new language requirement to foreign work permits: they must be able to speak English, Tok Pisin or Hiri Motu, and be accredited as such by an independent agent. When I asked afterwards how it is that we have a major resource extraction project in Madang where most of its foreign workers speak no English and have abandoned English tutorials that were offered by Divine Word University, and considering that some of the violence sparked over the last week was said to have arisen from complaints that Chinese do not even speak English – she was incredibly candid, to her credit. Before the entire forum, she explained that when these work permits came across her desk she was told that the PM’s Department wanted her to ‘make it happen’ and issue all work permits for MCC employees. A collective gasp and giggle could be heard across the room”. [Nancy Sullivan's blog].
“Under PNG labour laws, jobs like driving trucks or tractors are protected for PNG workers. But this was overshadowed by Rhonda Nadile, a Labour Department executive, who said MCC workers entered PNG “despite strong opposition from the Department”. Chinese mine workers, and Chinese around the country, are regularly issued work permits despite not meeting PNG’s labour laws that require all non-citizens to speak English. In November last year 104 illegal Chinese mine workers were arrested after immigration and labour raids”. [Pacific Islands Report]
Where is Paul Tiensten?
This is the question that is being asked by the Investigative Task Force Sweep as it mounts a search to locate the Member for Pomio and former National Planning Minister after he was reported to have fled to Australia, reports the Post Courier.
It was reproted last week that he had flown to Australia after he cleverly evaded a police interview and headed to Brisbane.
And in a new twist, the man arrested by the Task Force Sweep Eremas Wartoto, has gone to court to stop the investigating team from carrying out its duties. Yesterday, he filed a Judicial Review application in the National Court at Waigani to effect that.
Mr Tiensten left the country last Tuesday on board an Air Niugini flight to Brisbane but his whereabouts at present is yet to be confirmed.
The internet social sites were abuzz with suggestions he was in the Cayman Islands. There was speculation he may have left for the middle east to anArab country.
The Investigative Task Force Sweep, when contacted to verify the report, said they were consulting with Australia authorities but have yet to confirm his whereabouts by the time we went to print.
Chairman of the Team Sam Koim told the Post-Courier that they were trying to confirm whether he had flown out of Australian and they will redirect their search once it was confirmed.
“At this stage, we are still trying to confirm his whereabouts but he can run as far as he wants but it doesn’t mean that we will not eventually take him in for questioning,” he said.
He also stated that if the reports are true, then it is only going to work against him as a leader. The perception is that he is fleeing from police.
“He has missed two sessions of parliament and if he misses the third one, he may be dismissed as a member,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Wartoto has filed the Judicial Review application in the National Court challenging the National Executive Council’s decision to appoint the Investigative Task Force Sweep and its terms of reference and scope of investigations.
He is also seeking an injunctive order to stop any further investigations by the team until the matter is determined. The application was filed by his lawyers at around 4.30 pm and parties are likely to be served this morning.
By a Special Correspondent
Whistleblower Dr. Rona Nadile, suspended and then sacked from the Department of Labour for revealing misappropriation and misuse of Trust Funds, has had her official vehicle seized by police in a heavy-handed and humiliating late-night raid.
Dr Nadile was at fellowship at home with church fellowship when at about 10 o’clock at night a Police vehicle (ZGC 978) with at least five policemen from Waigani Police Station arrived at her house. And if that wasn’t enough, the police vehicle was accompanied by a private registered van (CAX 179).
There were about 14 people in all, cowards and bullies, ever so big and strong and ever so brave to commandeer Dr. Nadile’s vehicle, which was her right to hold.
Dr Nadile was allowed no representation and was forced to hand over the keys
to the vehicle. Not one of the police would disclose his name. The perpetrators who organised this outrage should be brought to account immediately.
How demeaning is this and what intimidation for any citizen of Papua New Guinea let alone a professional like Dr. Nadile. The person(s) responsible for this must be so nasty and mean that he/she is not fit to hold any responsible position.
For the sake of the country, there should be no waiting around this time with the saga of never ending donkey processes.
Not with standing this trauma Rona Nadile, and always with a heart and commitment to the country, was given a lift by a friend and was there as the sun rose over Independence Hill today to bless this nation for a better future.
Ordinary Papua New Guineans are showing their support for sacked whistleblower Dr Rhona Nadile on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. Dr Nadile was suspended and then sacked from her position in the Department of Labour for questioning gross misappropriation and misuse of Trust Funds.
PB: She’s an honest and straight talking person. she should be commended by the Government and the public for her stand; all around the public sector there’s far too much casual misuse of public funds for (often unnecessary and usually over-extended) travel, hotel costs, ‘entertainment of all sorts’ and allowances. If the public sector was filled with people who protected public funds from waste, like Dr Nadile, and whistleblew when it is wasted, then there’d be funds left for what govt is actually there for, and staff at their desks (or in the field), where they should be, serving their clients – notably the PNG public! .. and not in the nightclubs and casinos overseas!
LGN: The Department Secretary should be investigated by the OC and other relevant authorities. His threats of suing a paper for defamation may have no basis, if allegations are proven to be true. Good on Dr Nadile for standing up and doing her job ‘without fear or favour’.
KJN: Dr Nadile got fired for following the regulations written for her to follow. She got fired for doing the right thing. Many people get condone for doing the wrong thing. Dr Nadile, I salute you. Better to be honest than to lose sleep for doing wrong.
DT: Operation Sweep must clean up this pathetic excuse of a governemnt department including Lands, Housing, Finance and Treasury and National Planning itself..
BH: She got a lot of support in Tokbek with Roger Hauofa last week. Many spoke up for her. It was heartening. Really good stuff
BH: Rhona from Milne Bay is small in stature and tall in her committment. Great lady.
VHM: She should sue them, everyone else who deserves to get fired, seems to win their cases and get paid out ridiculous sums or get reinstated…
CMFN: Agree with all the above comments and those of us who know Dr Nadile never had doubts about her story. Have you ever wondered why there are so many honest experienced former public servants who are not employed anymore? Who do we approach to ensure that they are re-employed as we can trust them to do the right and honest thing always, not swindle away the public funds held by government for service to her people.
FZL: The Public Service needs people like Dr. Nadile. This is sad news. She should be adequately compensated for doing her job. Cudos to her!! I’m sure there are many other capacities that Dr Nadile can fill out comfortably. Good people are just people you gotta have on your team.
Anon: “Dr. Rona Nadile is the vanguard for all of us all against corruption. Is she to be the ‘sacrificial lamb’? In forums such as the news papers, Roger Hau’ofa and his FM 100 ‘Tokbek’ and ‘Sharp Talk’ on face book, we have all heard about a little lady from Milne Bay suspended with full entitlements because of her revealing the practice of the aimless “junketing” and other smart forms of the miss-appropriating by certain public servants. The comments gave her full praise and endorsement for the work she does. The Prime Minister has vowed to take action on corruption. But those who report it are silenced by fear of retribution.”
JW: If it’s any consolation to Dr Nadile, thank you for deciding not to be a bystander..blessed are the cracked for they let the light in
PFP: Can we create an online campaign an FB page in her support and get everyone to support?
EG: We also need to get the Ombudsman Commission to follow up the complaint by Dr Nadile. Keep the pressure on the media.
Anon: This is a case for Prime Minister, Minister Bart Philemon, Chief Secretary, Commissioner of Police, and all of us, to take action. Do something about this and immediately stop such intimidating and inhuman practice by taking action on the persons concerned. Dr. Rona Nadile is a great person, but many of the less brave and vocal citizens, who live in fear, have this happen to them all the time.
DD: I am interested to see this tough Papua New Guinean gets appraisal for her integrity, honesty and bravery! I am content to know we do have more people like minded such as Dr. Nadile and will only rest when there is recognition and justice for her actions…Well done Dr. Nadile!!!
RK: Totally agree that we need a persistent media to keep this going and reminding everyone of of the matter and corruption going on. Keep on going strong
TG: She should be reinstated without further delay! We need her, period!
Prime Minister O’Neill’s vow to tackle corruption and the misuse of public monies is not going to bear any fruit unless the government moves to protect whistleblowers like Dr Rhona Nadile. Nadile has been sacked from the Department of Labour, where she was a senior officer, for exposing gross misappropriation and inappropriate use of trust funds..
One case involved the drawdown of K241,000 to cover the travel costs for Secretary George Vaso and his staff to travel to Fiji for an extended stay of 18 days to attend two conferences which were only for 8 days. Another case involved the use of K500,000 from the Work Permit Trust Account so a delegation could attend an ILO conference in Geneva.
“Enough is enough”, wrote Nadile in a memo to Vaso, “I have witnessed numerous occasions of gross misappropriation and inappropriate use of WPTA funds”.
As a result of her questioning of the payments Nadile was suspended from duty and charged with gross insubordination and has now been dismissed
Meanwhile a report outlining specific cases of abuse of funds have been given to new Minister for Labour, Martin Aini but he has failed to make any public statement on the matter.
George Vaso, who made the decision to charge, suspend and then sack Dr Nadile was himself appointed to his post by Peter O’Neill when he was Public Service Minister.
Eoin Blackwell, AAP
Papua New Guinea’s former planning minister Paul Tiensten has fled to Australia after being served with a summons to answer fraud and corruption allegations.
Police in Kokopo, in East New Britain province, served Mr Tiensten with a summons on Tuesday to appear before a government taskforce and answer questions over the misappropriation of 10 million kina ($A4.4 million) in development funds in his electorate.
But the next day, Mr Tiensten flew to PNG’s capital Port Moresby and then to Brisbane after buying a ticket at the airport, said Sam Koim, chairman of the corruption task force.
Mr Tiensten has since disappeared.
“It is not known where he is at the moment,” Mr Koim told AAP on Thursday.
“He bought a ticket at the airport, bought a ticket to Moresby and then all the way to Australia … he disappeared.
“We thought he was a gentleman and a leader and as a gentleman and leader he would come (to the police).”
Mr Koim said PNG is working closely with Australian authorities to find Mr Tiensten.
As part of the Somare government, Mr Tiensten was a negotiator on the $16 billion Exxon Mobil-led liquefied natural gas project, currently expected to double the country’s gross domestic product over the next 30 years.
Mr Tiensten is no stranger to controversy.
In 2008, Singaporean businessman Wu Shih-tsa told a Taiwanese court six prominent PNG officials, including Mr Tiensten, received a portion of $US20 million ($A19 million) put up by Taiwan in a bid to strengthen diplomatic relations with PNG.
Mr Tiensten has admitted to meeting Taiwanese officials but strongly denied allegations of corruption.
IT is an insult that Papua New Guineans taxpayers must foot a K2.5 million bill incurred for by the Somare hangers-on in Singapore.
How can Sir Michael Somare justify the expenses of these people?
I cannot believe that the Grand Chief does not have a medical insurance.
If he has one, then his medical expenses will be recovered.
One would expect him to be covered by insurance with the premium either paid for by the state or Sir Michael himself.
Why did the hangers-on jet in and out of Singapore at the taxpayers’ expense?
There is absolutely no justification for them to rake up K2.5 million.
Papua New Guineans are dying every day just because they cannot access hospitals or there is no specialist treatment.
The individuals who incurred the expenses in Singapore must repay the state. If they fail to do that, the state should taken legal action against them.
Taxpayers should not have to foot the bills incurred by them.
They say you can tell something about a person by their name. For example, Bernie Maddof is said to have ‘made off’ with billions of dollars in New York’s largest ponzie scheme. Sometimes it’s not that straight forward as in the Maddof case but at other times it can be twisted as Obama killing Osama.
But in the strange case of the Governor of the National Capital District of Papua New Guinea, it’s as straightforward as Parkop and Parks. Governor Powes Parkop has probably constructed more parks then any of his predecessors.
The Governor has recently been embroiled in a scandal over alleged financial irregularities surrounding some of these recreational areas.
In his rush to park-ify Port Moresby, Parkop has lost focus of the Social Democratic ideals he stands for. While he constructs water fountains and parks, many thousands of his constituent voters struggle each day to have access to water.
Thousands of people living in squatter settlements don’t have access to running water while Parkop funds fountains and water parks. The fountains are expensive to maintain due to the cost of water, electricity and 24 hour private security guards.
The assumption that most people who live in squatter settlements are unemployed unproductive members of society involved in crime is a fallacy. We all know that the people who robbed Bank South Pacific weren’t from the squatter settlements. Without the workers who live in such ghettos, government and businesses activities would be limited. These people also cultivate crops for the markets providing city residents with fresh produce.
They’re looked down upon by politicians and suburban residents who tend to judge people by materialistic standards. They say Obama is from Sabama.
Former Prime Minister and current Minister for Public Enterprises, Sir Mekere Morauta, says that he was personally shocked to learn that the Government had been paying Sir Michael Somare’s medical expenses and the cost of keeping his entourage in Singapore.
Sir Mekere said that the report that the State had paid more than K3.7 million, K2.7 million of which was for “minders and visitors”, is simply outrageous.
“I am not being mean or discourteous, I wish The Chief a speedy recovery. I am delighted that he appears to be well enough to have come home. But private medical expenses are private medical expenses. All Members of Parliament have access to medical insurance, and none of us should expect the State to pay our private bills.”
Sir Mekere said that this was a typical example of the way the Somare family had abused public money.
“They seem to have no sense of the differentiation between public and private. When Bart Philemon and I were in the Opposition, we frequently pointed this out, criticising the aerial PMV Falcon jet, for example, and the manner in which the Somare family abused the privileges of Mirigini House and the office of the Prime Minister.
“In a statement to the Parliament on May 8, 2010, I challenged then Prime Minister Somare ‘to appoint an independent auditor to compute what I cost the nation as PM and what he has cost the nation. But I can make a pretty good guess: what the nation spent on my behalf in three years would be less than three months expenditure on the current PM.
“I made that statement without realising the full extent of the abuse of public resources by the Somare family.
“When I became the Minister for Public Enterprises, I discovered that the Somare Government owed Air Niugini K30 million for the operation of the aerial PMV. The Falcon had clearly been going up and down to Singapore, to Fiji for golf, to Wewak for parties, wherever the family wanted it to go – but they never paid the bill. So when Air Niugini agreed to buy the Falcon from the Government, this unpaid bill of K30 million had to be deducted from the purchase price.”
Sir Mekere said that the fact was many months ago Sir Michael took leave, appointed an acting Prime Minister, and went to Singapore for medical treatment.
“He did not fall sick whilst on duty travel. He gave up the position of Prime Minister but still took a whole entourage with him – family members, protocol officers, and police officers – for him to lie in a hospital bed. And it was presumed the people of Papua New Guinea would foot the bill. Meantime his chosen appointee Hon Sam Abal ran up a bill of hundreds of thousands of kina staying in a Port Moresby hotel instead of his own home.
“Who paid for this, I wonder?”
Sir Mekere said that when he was the Prime Minister, he regularly went to Brisbane for medical check-ups.
“Not once did the State pay for my ticket, for my wife’s ticket, for my medical bills, nor for my accommodation. They were private visits for personal reasons. It is common sense that a Prime Minister should expect to pay for such trips and for his own medical treatment himself.”
Sir Mekere said that the Prime Minister’s Department did ‘not have any allowances within its budget for the medical expenses of the Prime Minister’.
“So who approved this expenditure? That is a breach of the Financial Management Act and whoever approved the expenditure should be held accountable.”
Sir Mekere said that the Somare family should re-pay the State all the medical expenses and costs associated with their recent stay in Singapore.
“It is an insult to Papua New Guineans that government money has been used to pay these costs. Our own health services are so run down; they are not staffed properly; people are dying daily for want of drugs, of equipment that works, and of accurate diagnosis. Every day we hear of a Papua New Guinean family fund-raising to send a family member overseas for medical treatment that is not available here.
“These people don’t have a government department that forks out millions for them. Please Sir Michael, have some decency and assure the nation that you will pay for your own medical expenses.
“Having a clear conscience in this regard will give you peace of mind and help your recovery.”