From NBC PNG NEWS via Islands Business
The Papua New Guinea Government has been called on to consider imposing the highest penalties on people involved in corporate fraud.
Member for Kundiawa/Gembogl, Tobias Kulang, made this call in Parliament Tuesday, and again at a media conference soon after, following revelations of a massive white collar and corporate crime within the Finance Department.
Kulang says public funds belonging to the men, women and children of PNG, which could been used to build and maintain infrastructure to improve their lives, are being misused, through fraud and white collar crimes, while those who deserve services are dying unnecessarily.
The MP says these are high level citizens who are held in high esteem, and should be charged with systematic murder.
” We are talking about tougher penalties for small people who may be committing crime because of lack of economic means. What about the people involved in corporate crime who are committing systematic murder, who are depriving the people from means to better economic life and opportunities? They are stealing money and our people who are supposed to have access to better health services, better infrastructure are dying because of lack of accessibility. What are we going to do about those people who are causing systematic death and misery in our community?”
Prime Minister Peter O’ Neill agrees stiffer penalties need to be put in place for such people.
O’Neill says the government is committed to its fight against corruption of all forms in the country.
He says this will be dealt with under the current proposed move by the government to increase penalties for the various forms of crimes occurring in the country.
Engan businessman, Kandaso Napi, is a vocal supporter of reopening the Panguna mine on Bougainville but he has already illegally obtained millions of kina by exploiting the war sparked by the mine and the suffering of women and children….
The Daily Log (The National) and The Post-Courier are fond of publishing press-releases as news. Lately the Engan ‘self-made businessman’, Kandaso Napi, and his unadulterated views on Bougainville, have been getting heavy airplay in the national media (7 articles in the Post-Courier alone!!). Napi made his fortune leasing trucks to Bougainville Copper Limited – owned by Rio Tinto – during the 1980s.
Napi wants Rio Tinto to return to Bougainville and uplift its ‘impoverished’ population who are now, he claims, “living off the streets of Port Moresby or the jungles of Bougainville”.* The Post-Courier reports Napi “urged all stakeholders, landowners and government to meet, discuss and explore all avenues available that would lead to reopening the Panguna copper mine as soon as possible for the benefit of Bougainvillean men, women and children” – not, of course, for the benefit of Napi.
Referring to Rio Tinto’s role in war crimes, Napi argues,“it is better to work with the devil you know”. He adds in a recent statement to The National, “BCL or Rio Tinto … must not be squarely blamed for all the problems associated with the mine”.
What The Post-Courier and The National fail to note – why would they, after all journalism is not their business – is that Napi cashed in on the Bougainville war through a scandalous and illegal claim which was slammed by the Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance.**
Tens of thousands of Bougainvilleans had their homes and livelihood destroyed by national government forces between 1988-1998 – many lost their loved ones too under the most brutal of circumstances. None of these Bougainvilleans have been compensated for their loss by the national government; even a US class action against Rio Tinto has been slapped down.
Things, however, have fared much better for the Engan businessman. If money talks, Napi it would appear, is the only true victim of the Bougainville conflict, that is according to the national government.
The Commission of Inquiry allege that Napi’s company Nakitu Ltd, claimed “a total of K13.1 million [from the PNG government], as the ‘projected’ loss suffered” from the Bougainville conflict.
The Commission of Inquiry observed, “there is no cause of action known at law to support such claim and to link the State and make the State liable for loss of business which the claimant claims as suffered”.
They continue, “Mr. Gelu, as the Solicitor General … essentially agreed that there was no cause of action, (see transcript of proceedings no. 81, pp2677-2678) but yet he proceeded to settle the claim”. Now why would Mr Gelu do that????
Before the NEC became aware of the illegal transaction, Napi successfully pocketed K3.25 million. Not bad!
So Napi cashes in on the suffering associated with the conflict through illegal means, while the actual victims of state atrocities, the people of Bougainville, have received a total of K0.00 in compensation.
And yet still the national press feels it is appropriate to publish ‘article’ (press-release) after ‘article’ (press-release) on Napi and his vision for the reopening of Panguna.
Now why would they do that???References * http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130219/business.htm ** http://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/the-full-finance-department-commission-of-inquiry-report/
By Belden Namah MP via PNG Blog
I welcome Prime Minister Peter O’Neil’s decision to file a defamation suit against me. It is not surprising for Peter O’Neill to be reactive to issues that the Opposition has brought to light in recent times.
It is the traditional role of the Opposition to criticise, oppose, speculate and to even take pre-emptive measures on issues that concern the welfare of our people.
We are duty bound to keep the government and its leaders including the Prime Minister in check, so why is Mr O’Neill running to the courts when we are debating corruption at the National Government level?
I have as a leader tolerated wild, unfounded and even malicious allegations levelled against me in the media, yet, I have not sued the perpetrators or any media organisation for reporting such allegations. I have and will always respect media freedom and freedom of expression in this country and I expect Peter O’Neill and other leaders to do likewise.
My grave concern is that we now have a Prime Minister who is trying to control media freedom in our country. I ask the PM to leave media freedom to be practised without fear or favour in our democracy.
In this case the PM should leave EMTV alone. Let the media do its work and report without fear or favour.
The threat by the PM to cancel EMTV’s licence is an act of a dictator.
I want to appeal to all Papua New Guineans working in government organisations or state institutions that if you are threatened to facilitate corruption or have any information on corrupt practices, you must speak up. I am ready to receive and fight against corruption in this country including defending you against reprisal by government.
I call on the Ombudsman Commission and other watch dog organisations to do likewise and support whistle blowers for the good of our people, our country and our children’s future.
I am prepared to pay legal costs for EMTV journalist Scott Waide against the defamation suit by Peter O’Neil. And I guarantee the same for others who will speak out on the corruption of the PM, Ministers and other leaders.
Radio New Zealand
The outspoken Papua New Guinea MP Gary Juffa says to address the country’s chronic law and order problems requires a holistic approach.
The Governor of Oro Province, Mr Juffa says among the priorities for PNG should be to modernise the police force, replenish the prosecutorial offices and bolster the judiciary.
He says that as well as a large number of violent crimes that need investigating, there is a lot of white-collar crime which PNG must deal with.
Gary Juffa spoke to Johnny Blades about his ideas for addressing the law and order crisis.
JUFFA: “The police has not been developed and modernised over a period of years, I would say, since independence. If you look at the population of PNG as it is now, it’s between 7 million and 8 million. The population of PNG at independence was about 2.8 million thereabouts. The police staff ceiling was 4,000, 5,000 officers. That staff ceiling has not improved till now. It’s still 5,000 officers. You’ve got an ageing force, you’ve got a huge population. You’ve got an increase in the types of crimes. There’s complex violent crimes, there’s complex fraud and so forth, and the police are just unable to cope because they just do not have the resources, nor do they have the manpower, the numbers. Morale is down. They need to modernise and modify themselves to cope with the problems they face in today’s world.”
BLADES: “Is the O’Neill government doing anything about this, do you think? Significant moves?”
JUFFA: “I’m satisfied that they are making a significant move in that direction. They’ve just carried out a modernisation program and they are now in the process of trying to recruit more policemen. You have a recruitment program annually so that these numbers can be improved. They are trying to look at the ageing force and retiring a number of the upper echelon of the police so they can bring in new officers. They’re also looking at creating an independent commission against corruption, a new body that will have federal powers to investigate serious corruption in the country.”
BLADES: “Will this just follow on from Sam Koim’s team?”
JUFFA: “I think the intention is to give some more resources and definition to that taskforce. Sam Koim’s taskforce, which has been doing a tremendous job under very harsh conditions or restrictions, they’ve achieved a lot and I would support that bill.”
BLADES: “Do you think that taskforce is going to be able to see through some prosecution? Obviously they’re not doing the prosecution. Do you think it’ll come about, because there are going to be some high-level embarrassments?”
JUFFA: “What has happened here is while we have created the taskforce, we need to revamp the prosecution aspect. And that office is a malnourished office insofar as resources are concerned. The prosecution office needs to be completely overhauled. You need to bring in vibrant, very effective prosecutors, well-trained, with experience – I would even go as far as suggesting from overseas. Give them the resources, then they will be able to take what the taskforce is doing to another level and achieve some outcomes. But then you’d have to look at the judiciary as well, which is quite depleted of staff. There are not enough magistrates, there are not enough judges. The case turnover is very slow. These things have to be all addressed holistically.”
From ACT NOW!
“Survey respondents indicated that trafficking for the purpose of forced labour and sexual exploita$on is occurring at a high rate… The logging industry received the highest results by survey respondents as a business sector that exposes persons to risks of trafficking.”
“Consultations with… law enforcement and border oﬃcers indicated that logging industry tugboats smuggle people in containers under the cover of darkness at night or during stormy weather bypassing checkpoints to directly enter logging camps to evade detection. These people work as laborers or as prostitutes at the logging sites.
Trafficking for forced labour and sexual exploitation rife in Papua New Guinea – report
By Thin Lei Win | Trust Law
Women and girls in Papua Guinea are being trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic servitude within the country and across international borders, according to a new report launched this week [1.5mb].
In the absence of any laws criminalising trafficking in persons, “victims of trafficking are at risk of prosecution and further psychological and physical abuse and trauma” under Papua New Guinea’s current legal system, the report added.
The report, by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Papua New Guinea Department of Justice and Attorney General, is the first to provide baseline statistics on people who have been smuggled and trafficked in the country.
The report is based on 93 surveys and 27 in-depth consultations in four provinces.
Survey respondents said sex trafficking is the most prevalent form of trafficking in PNG, followed by labour, domestic servitude and child trafficking.
Females, especially young women between 18-25, are perceived to be more vulnerable in all demographics.
Girls are more than twice as likely to become trafficking victims as boys and children who do not attend school are at greater risk, the report said.
The logging industry was identified as the sector that most exposes people to the risk of trafficking, the survey found.
People who work in and around marketplaces, bars, restaurants and gaming clubs faced the second-highest level of risk.
Respondents said trafficking in PNG is both internal and transnational in nature, with most transnational trafficking occurring through the PNG-Indonesia border with PNG as a destination.
From: The Masalai blog
A Public Consultation was advertised in the papers earlier this month, see above, for the rezoning of an access way that lies between several large areas of sporting fields in the Bisini area of Boroko. It appears that some company wants to re-zone this land from a sporting public area to a commercially zoned area. My parents live just around the corner, so naturally my mother was livid about the situation and went about collecting signatures for a petition for the re-zoning to be stopped. You can see her petition here.
The deadline was yesterday, so we’ll see what happens from here about that re-zoning. So while on this subject this news also popped up on facebook about the Jack Pidik Park being sold to a Supermarket chain. Interestingly none of the major dailies ran this story.
“I will give an explanation after this session of Parliament ends. It is a long history but the short of it is that the Park was lost before my time. There is a Supreme Court decision. I have used physical planning powers to deny the title holders from developing it commercially. However the title holders appealed against our decision to Minister for Lands [Benny Alan] as required under the Law and he has upheld their Appeal. This now limits our legal option so only political action can stop it. We have spend over million defending Unagi Oval so I am nit sure I will go down that line considering Supreme Court decision. I have started negotiation with the title holder for a win win outcome. If there are other options too, I will consider them.”
It’s scary that these corrupt acts of stealing public spaces have been going on for so long and worse that even our Governor Parkop can’t fight to save our parks in Port Moresby with the political will of the Government being severely wanting on this issue. As Bernard Sinai asked in a similar blog post, ‘Where Do Our Children Play?’
The need for recreational spaces in cities is not rocket science and you only have to look at a big city like New York to see the cultural and social effects of parks in a city.
So the heart of the problem may not only be one of vision and foresight, which most MP’s seem to lack at times, but the fact that the Minister for Lands & Physical Planning, Benny Alan has jurisdiction over land in NCD. This highlights a problem for any Governor in any Province from fully having control over their cities and towns to develop them appropriately according to demands that they can see locally on the ground. If Parkop is going to be forever fighting with Ministers to save our Parks in NCD then we have a serious structural problem here in how Land is administered between two powers with vastly different agendas.
There has been a lot of interest and comment on a recent post about the Australian academic Tony Regan and his role in the drafting of a new mining law for the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
Distilling the various views expressed and evidence adduced, the question seems to be whether Mr Regan is genuinely an independent academic assiduously assisting the people of Bougainville or whether he is biased in favor of large-scale mining and an apologist for the role of Rio Tinto in the Bougainville war.
ABC journalist Liam Fox seems to be a firm supporter of Mr Regan; posting:
“wondering if you’re aware of Tony Regan’s long, long history of working with Bougainvilleans and that he’s widely admired and respected in Bougainville for that work?”
“… to paint Mr Regan as a stooge of BCL [Bougainville Copper Limited] and /or the Australian government is ridiculous in my opinion”
Of course, Mr Regan wouldn’t be the first Bougainville expert at Australia’s National University (where Regan is based) to work as a ‘stooge’ for the Australian government According to his obituary in The Australian, the respected historian and Bougainville commentator, Jim Griffin while working at ANU was recruited as an analyst by the Office of National Assessments (one of Australia’s key intelligence agencies) for his expertise on PNG and Bougainville in particular. At the same time he was writing papers and articles on the war, advocating Australian military intervention.
Mr Regan also has good reason to make sure he does not upset the Australian government with his views: Regan is currently benefiting under a $600,000 three-year grant from AusAID to study and document the impacts of illegal mining on Bougainville; this is in addition to other lucrative AusAID consultancies he has accrued for his work on Bougainville
And Mr Regan certainly wouldn’t be the first Australian academic, or broadcaster, to display sympathies for the mining industry or other corporate giants with poor records on human rights and the environment (indeed the Australian media and academia are littered with them).
But what does the hard evidence say?
Dr Kristian Lasslett from Ulster University has pointed out a couple of interesting facts:
Firstly on the Bougainville blockade, which most academics and observers agree led to the unnecessary death of thousands of children and pregnant mothers because of the shortages it created in medicines, soap and disinfectant; a situation which has been described as a ‘humanitarian crisis’ and an ‘emergency situation’. Regan though saw things very differently. In his evidence to an Australian Senate inquiry he suggested deaths caused by the blockade were offset ‘to a significant degree – or even outweighed – by the improved general health of the population’.
And what about on Bougainville Copper Limited, the Rio Tinto subsidiary that operated the Panguna mine? In 2003 Regan claimed ‘there is as yet no credible evidence BCL took any direct part in the operations against the BRA [Bougainville Revolutionary Army]‘. This was factually incorrect and ignored the damning sworn testimony from former Prime Minister Michael Somare, current ABG President, John Momis, and former PNG Defence Force Commander, Jerry Singirok that not only did BCL feed, house and resource the PNG troops, ‘they also regularly met with PNGDF commanders to discuss military operations and key offensive targets’.
Clearly the relationship between academics, governments and multinationals is a questionable one, conducted in the shadows, facilitated through taxpayer money; it is time a healthy debate is conducted. Given the profound consequences for the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea such a debate is more than necessary.
To read the ongoing debate see: http://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/bougainville-consultancies-earn-controversial-australian-advisor-a-small-fortune/
From PNG Mine Watch
Analysis and commentary on the Papua New Guinea government’s plan for a five-fold increase in the size of its military force has painstakingly ignored the obvious.
The increase in military personnel from the current 2,000 to around 10,000 is not a move designed to increase security along PNG’s border with Indonesia, nor to deal with international people smuggling and drug trafficking.
The move to increase the size of the military has everything to do with guarding the huge operations of foreign corporations like Exxon-Mobil and MCC. These companies operations are coming under increasing pressure from dissatisfied local communities as they realize the promised material benefits are not going to arrive and instead they must bear the social and environmental costs while vast profits are shipped overseas.
Already this week, the government had approved the call out of the PNG military for an initial 12 months deployment to protect the interests of US based Exxon-Mobil. The troops will be deployed all the Highlands Highway, the only transport corridor leading to the LNG sites, to provide protection for Exxon’s truck convoys.
This is not the first time Exxon has called on the PNG government for military assistance. A number of para-military police mobile squads, notorious for their ill-discipline and brutal tactics, are on almost permanent deployment around the LNG sites providing protection alongside Exxon’s own private security contractors – mainly from G4S.
Meanwhile, MCC, the Chinese operator of the controversial Ramu nickel mine, is becoming increasingly nervous about community unrest as it moves into full production. As well as anger at the dumping of toxic waste just 150m off-shore along the Madang coastline, inland communities are increasingly frustrated about the environmental impacts of the mining operation itself and the failure of MCC to properly relocate displaced families.
The new Yandera mine, also to be built by a Chinese company, China Non Ferrous Industries, and the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone are seen as other potential flash points for community anger directed at foreign corporations.
Why is Our Prime Minister souring our international reputation and tarnishing all Papua New Guinean’s by aiding Australia with its RACIST, ILLEGAL and INHUMANE refugee policies?
Minister urged to halt refugee transfers to PNG
Michael Gordon | Newcastle Herald
A SCATHING report on conditions on Manus Island has urged incoming Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor to stop sending asylum seekers to the remote Papua New Guinea site until sweeping recommendations are considered.
The report by the United Nations refugee agency accuses the Australian and PNG governments of being in breach of international treaty obligations and expresses particular alarm at the plight of children in the facility. Its release coincides with the 10th transfer of asylum seekers to the offshore processing centre, which now holds 254 asylum seekers, 34 of them children.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who visited the centre last week, supported the recommendations, warning of outbreaks of self-harm and riots if conditions are not improved. “They’re being treated like animals at the moment, including the children,” Senator Hanson-Young told Fairfax Media.
But a spokesman for outgoing minister Chris Bowen defended conditions on the island while committing to “work constructively” with the agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
”It should be recognised that UNHCR has a long-standing position of opposition to offshore processing that goes back to the time of the previous government,” the spokesman said, describing facilities at the centre as “in line with the living standards and amenities for local PNG residents on Manus Island”.
The UN report calls for an early start to processing of claims for refugee status “in order to prevent increased levels of psychosocial and physical harm among asylum-seekers in the detention centre”.
More than 20 recommendations include calls for review of pre-transfer assessments in Australia to ensure that vulnerabilities of individuals who may have suffered torture or trauma are considered.
It says no further transfers of children should occur until “appropriate legal and administrative safeguards” are in place, including their placement in an open centre, as opposed to “the current environment of detention”.
“Asylum seekers are distressed and confused about their situation. They are in closed detention, without a process in sight. They feel they have been forgotten,” said the UNHCR’s regional representative, Richard Towle.
The report, to be released in Canberra on Monday, follows a visit by a three-member team from the UN agency from January 15 to 17. Senator Hanson-Young, who was forbidden from taking photographs inside the facility on her visit, said the lack of privacy for single men was reflected in the absence of doors on toilets. “There is just no trust at all in the system,” she said, saying asylum seekers told her they had no warning they were being sent to the island.
Mr Towle said the hot and humid weather on Manus made the temporary accommodation very uncomfortable. “Due to heavy rain at the time of UNHCR’s visit, some areas were extremely muddy and in some places there were large amounts of standing water,” he said.
Both the UN agency and the senator expressed alarm that children and family groups were not kept completely separately from the single men.
A department spokesman said the selection of the latest group of 19 Iranian and Iraqi single men was based on operational considerations and an assessment of their particular circumstances.