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.
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.
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.
Eyewitness account from Facebook
International Indonesian fugitive Joko Chaundra Soegerto clandestine arrival in Mount Hagen last weekend (Saturday) was witnessed by a few.
I just drove past the golf course at the back of Mount Hagen Airport and saw a white green stripe private jet parking there.
I quickly drove into the terminal area of the airport to check who it was and the people advised me that it was our good Minister William Duma with an Iraqi Oil tycoon. The people at Mount Hagen Airport were caught with surprise.
I waited and saw an Asian man with Hon William Duma and Hon Ano Pala getting onto the jet. It didn’t dawn on me until I checked PNG Exposed blog which shows the same picture.
Let alone the controversy surrounding the granting of citizenship to this fugitive, he is into many deals including the controversial rice project in the Central Province which is expected to be approved by the NEC some time this week.
I’m also wondering where the plane came from to land in Hagen. If it was from an overseas port, Mount Hagen Airport is not the port of entry and wondering why it landed there before heading off to Port Moresby.
Kavieng Blogger (PNG Blogs)
Can we Papua new Guineans stop and think clearly and stop being cheated by politicians like Ben Micah, goodness me, when he was Kavieng MP from 1992-1997 he completely corrupted his district support grant of K1.5 million he was receiving then.
Those in in Kavieng never saw that money, its benefits nor acquittals. When Micah was MP he traveled home 5 times in 5 years to spend Christmas with his wives not his people.
1. During his term he bought a new house at Ela beach costing K1.2 million.where did he get the money from? He abused his DSG funds by giving to his family members and political cronies like Tony Matautu and Gillis who in turn gave it back to him to buy the house
2. He bought a barge for K700,000.00, after Micah was dumped in the 1997 National Elections, Martin Aini investigated the cost of the boat and the supplier in Brisbane quoted $55,000 to build a new one. The rest of the money was used to buy his new printing business in port moresby.
3. Micah’s printing business went broke after the Ombudsman Commision directed government departments not to use Micah’s business because his quotes were twice everyone’s else and that he had to give kickbacks to his sleazy corrupt public servants.
4. Finally PNGBC (Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation) took Ben Micah to court and declared him bankrupt. He was bankrupt from 1999-2009, yet he stood for two elections when he wasn’t qualified to do so completely disregarding the rule of law and showing his disdain for ethical or moral standards.
5. In 1999, Micah was appointed chairman of IPBC and was sacked by Sir Mekere Morauta after eleven (11) months for spending (stealing) K2.5 million renovating his small office at Port Moresby.
The above examples are but the tip of the iceberg of what Ben Micah has corruptly done in the past 15 years, he now he has corruptly won the elections, he will be taken to court by Martin Aini for bribery and illegal campaigning which will all come out in public.
Finally, Ben Micah will be dismissed by the court of disputed returns because he failed to register himself for the 2012 elections and bribed John Kasinga to allow him to contest and vote by hand writing his name on the common roll
That’s Ben Micah for you, Corrupt, Greedy, Adulterous.
Martyn Namorong reports on the latest developments:
Following yesterdays mass public protest against the O’Namah Regime:
1) Speaker Nape has refused to entertain Prime Minister’s instructions for Parliament to consider rescinding motion to defer elections. But Parliament’s motion is not binding on Andrew Trawen who as Electoral Commissioner is a constitutional officer not subject to directions from Parliament in the regard of complying with the motion
2) The Supreme Court per Mogish, Kariko and Manuhu JJ found that prima facie, there was an appearance of unconstitutionality and illegality in the Judicial Conduct Act and stayed the act’s enforceability pending final outcome of the Supreme Court Reference by the Morobe Provincial Gavman
3) Consequently, suspension of Kirriwom J and Injia CJ pursuant to s 5 of the Judicial Conduct Act were stayed by the Supreme Court per Mogish, Kariko and Manuhu JJ pending a final pronouncement of the constitutionality of the Judicial Conduct Act. This effectively means Kirriwom J and Injia CJ can preside over the case of the Prime Minister’s legitimacy tomorrow.
In the Lawyers’ Offices
4) Parliament may now try to counter the Supreme Court’s move. But how? All eyes on legal advisors
Eoin Blackwell, AAP
Papua New Guinea’s electoral commissioner has approved a new election schedule but Speaker Jeffery Nape says the commission must recognise parliament’s vote to delay the poll by six months.
Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen on Wednesday issued a revised schedule to the five-yearly electoral program, with the polling set to begin as expected on June 23.
He said the schedule had been approved by Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio.
But Mr Nape, PNG’s enormously powerful Speaker, threw up a potential roadblock as he opened Wednesday’s parliamentary session.
He said cabinet alone did not have the power to overturn last week’s vote to defer the poll by six months and Mr Trawen must obey parliament’s order to defer.
“Parliament has been intimidated by (cabinet) and the judiciary,” he said.
“Parliament is supreme. (The) action taken by (cabinet) and the electoral commissioner is unlawful.”
Mr Nape said he was seeking legal advice over who had the final say on when PNG will go to the polls.
The Speaker’s statement came about two hours before Mr Trawen’s revised schedule was sent to journalists and less than 24 hours after Prime minister Peter O’Neill backtracked entirely from the vote to delay.
Mr O’Neill, with members of cabinet in tow, told protesters in Port Moresby on Tuesday that elections would go ahead as scheduled, backed by Mr Trawen, who has been a staunch opponent of the delay.
Mr Trawen agreed to a three week delay for the issue of writs but said the poll would go ahead as scheduled in late June.
The date of PNG’s five-yearly election has been up in the air for months, with parliamentarians saying they fear the poll will be unfair because of potential fraud in the electoral rolls.
At the conclusion of Wednesday’s session, MPs were invited to a briefing on electoral preparedness attended by Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga and Defence Force Chief Francis Agwi.
And what a glorious day it was as the Sun beat through the cloudless sky and scorched all life in Port Moresby. The streets were largely deserted and the few who ventured out carried on rather nervously. Port Moresby’s notorious traffic jams were nowhere to be seen and for once the city looked like the most livable place on earth.
Angau Drive in Boroko with its lush vegetation had a slow stream of pedestrians, much to the annoyance of street vendors who prop up stalls near the footpath. The roundabout near SP Brewery did not have its usual scrum of vehicles puffing out toxic fumes.
Along Kennedy Drive where mobile giant Digicel is headquartered in Papua New Guinea, a mother escorts her child back from Gordon’s Secondary School. They’re both immersed in conversations about the Constitutionality of the Judicial Conduct Act and Parliament decision to postpone elections (sic).
The Gordons main bus stop and market area is unusually slow as a small crowd mingles around waiting for buses or buying mobile phone credits.
The largest city in the South Pacific, Port Moresby, had been shut down for Occupy Waigani, a protest organized to demand that Parliament rescind its decision to interfere with the Judiciary and to postpone the elections.
At around 10 am, students from the University of Papua New Guinea are all gathered on campus for their march to Sir John Guise stadium. As news filters that the University students were moving, a vocal crowd of predominantly teenage primary school boys leaves the stadium and heads towards the Government Offices at Waigani. The boys are stopped by police opposite Morauta Haus – the office complex that houses the Prime Ministers Department.
Back at the stadium a live band performs to a growing crowd of about 5000 people. Everyone is waiting for the arrival of the University Students.
An hour later the Students enter Independence Drive. The students were advise to March to the stadium instead of taking public transport. It is a lesson learnt from Tahir Square that once a small group with great legitimacy takes the streets, the sympathetic public joins the queue. And it worked as the students marched to Waigani with a 5000 strong crowd.
Sir John Guise stadium was now packed with about 10 000 people. Many Port Moresby residents had never seen such a crowd. This crowd serves as an ominous warning to Port Moresby based politicians as the clock ticks is way down to Election Time. One protestor described the crowd as the largest she had seen since the 1991 South Pacific Games held at Sir John Guise stadium.
The rhetoric began on stage and the crowd cheered “RAUSIM! RAUSIM! RAUSIM!” [Rescind! Rescind! Rescind! In Tok Pisin] as various speakers called on the O’Namah Regime to rescind its recent decisions. Unionists Michael Malabag and John Paska address the crowd first. Legal expert Dr John Nongorr then articulates the unconstitutionality of these changes in Tok Pisin. No doubt Dr Nongorr had done an excellent job in Tok Pisin.
As Dr Nongorr speaks, the O’Namah Regimes’ convoy enters the stadium. Opposition Leader Dame Carol Kidu also makes her way in. As the O’Namah entourage came to a standstill at the stadium, they were booed by the crowds.
The politicians make their way up the stadium and there is minor chaos on stage as seats are being sought for them. Dr Nongorr then continues his rhetoric and then Presents a synopsis of the Petition. Prime Minister O’Neil is presented the petition by Unionist Michael Malabag while the UPNG Student President Emmanuel Isaac presents another to Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen. The Trawen Petition calls on the Electoral Commissioner to go ahead with the elections as scheduled.
Here are the outcomes of Occupy Waigani at Sir John Guise stadium: [as summarized by ActNow]
- The issue of writs is officially postponed until May 18th (Mr Trawen said so!)
- Today’s Parliament sitting is postponed to 10am tomorrow
- The Judicial Act will be repealed as long as Injia and Kirriwom step down (Mr O’Neil said so)
- The issue of today’s march will blow over and people will forget (Mr Namah said so)
- Mr O’Neil wound down his window and waved royally to all of us gathered at the Sir John Guise Stadium when leaving.
- Mr O’Neil stated clearly that ONLY the Electoral Commissioner has the authority to delay or not the 2012 National Elections therefore he can’t give assurance that elections will run according to schedule
- Mr O’Neil stated CLEARLY that he will repeal the Judicial Act if Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and Justice Nicholas Kirriwom step down.
Several millions of Kina have been coming into the hands of Engan MPs in the last 5 years like other MPs throughout PNG. Not only for wheat but for pyrethrum, coffee, potatoe, etcetera and for other developmental projects. The office of Rural Development which is responsible for monitoring for the MPs funds is understaffed, systematically weak and cannot detect fraud throughout PNG before money is evaporated. Somare regime’s District Suppport Grant policy had overlooked the administrative functions of the provincial government system in financial and project management and administrative support to district services.
The Somare government, after the 2007 elections said, provincial administrations are a bureaucratic red tape, bottle-neck in service delivery from Waigani reaching the people and they opted for funds to come direct to the districts. The Organic Law also gave rise to creation of Joint District Planning & Budget Priorities Committees. The MP, by the OL, gave him the chairmanship of the JDP&BPC. The District Treasaury Roll-out Program of Peter O’Niell as the Treasurer complimented creating District Treasuries, where money from Waigani can be accessed at the district quite away from the PGAS (Provincial Government Accounting System) and the watchful eyes of provincial public servants.
Without any tests of the JDP&BPC entity in administering the massive funds reaching the districts, the MPs had hijacked an established administrative system, tested and used, known as the provincial administration. As the lead Public Servant in the district, the District Administrators were appointed by the MPs, mostly their cronies and supporters. The DAs by the OL are also Executive Officers of the JDP&BPCs and by the Public Finance (Management) Act they are Accountable Officers (Sect. 32 Officers) to draw the district funds. So in since 2007/2008 fundings in millions from Waigani have simply disappeared in most districts, although a few are successful in prudent management and implementation of impact projects.
In the guise of service delivery some MPs have become cowboys in manipulating and really corrupting their JDP&BPCs and thus overrunning ORD and escaping the limelights of the Department of Finance (For e.g. No JDP&BPC meetings are held but minutes are fabricated and cronies appointed as members). The MPs have rushed through the Central Supply & Tenders Board in Port Moresby to tender and award projects to K2 companies in the districts, thus overriding the Provincial Supply & Tenders Boards avoiding PFMA guidelines and avoiding eyes in the province who tell “who is who” in the business industry. So in the name of service delivery and in the demand by our people to see daily improvements in their living standards the clash between the systems in governmental administration has taken place and toll.
I see the Open MPs have become winners in this struggle because most Provincial Governors were castigated as Provincial Prime Ministers. Some powerful Governors (e.g Wenge, Ipatas, Agiru, Chan, etc) have challenged the PMs and pushed them so hard onto the sideline of politics and governance. PMs found it so hard to control their politics in the provinces, sometimes the economic basis, so the easy way to tame, suppress and undermine the governors was to use the Open MPs (89 against 20) and lure them into their political parties (The Integrity Law on Political Parties and Candidates also empowered such a drive to give the PM or the ruling party maximised power and control, e.g. NA). So the Open MPs who have detested the Governors have found an opportunity of their 5-year term and they scored victory when they were infact given millions after millions of kina to develop districts (District Services Improvment Programs).
I am seeing many challenges and issues in the whole stand-off in politics and governance in the past years. The saddest points in the service delivery paradigm is that corruption is well alive and truelly active in the districts where the MPs are still dishonest and play nepotism towards funelling projects to areas where they will get the votes. DAs become brief-case carriers of the MPs and abandon their post to administer the day-to-day of the districts. True, provincial administrations, where the Governors are the political heads, as some criticised, did not ponder well in helping district development. But I still believe the provincial administration is a well composed, technically and administratively groomed body to manage projects and public service management in the districts. There are accountants, engineers, valuers, suveyors, architects, draftsmen, scientists, planners, policy analyists, project managers, doctors, educationsist, social workers, and the like based and employed within the provincial administrations throughout the 19 provinces than the districts. It is sad to note that districts have no administrative capacity and Waigani cannot fledge its muscle to support and oversee every district in PNG
Let me conclude: The Clash of the Titans! The results of a rushing governance, political rivalry and quick-buck schemes have costed PNG and millions of Kina have gone down the gutter where few millionaires are made overnight on the expense of service delivery to our illiterate and struggling people. Our people continue to remain poor despite massive amounts of developmental grant are channelled in the new system unless 89 districts are equiped and 20 provincial administrations dismantled.
As we see today, there is no commonsense in the Parliament, and these are the same MPs who want to make quick money at the expense of service delivery and remain in power in the political culture. They will do anything to bleed PNG and this trend will continue untill PNG is educated enough to know what is happening in this country. Whether it is for wheat, pyrethrum, coffee, cocoa, copra or livestock the cost of funds missing will be continue to be dearer and exorbitant. The system of governments are at clash. And who will check who? The MPs know what they are doing. They all want a share of the loot (dreams of LNG are even estatic) and no one cares anyone. Some food for thought and I make particular reference to the situation in Enga. These aremy views and I do not speak for any other person.
* Mr. Peter has been serving as a public servant for many years in Laiagam District and also in the Enga Provincial administration
Papua New Guinea’s prime minister and electoral commissioner say the nation’s election will take place as scheduled, following a massive protest in the nation’s capital, Port Moresby.
Thousands of protesters marched on Sir John Guise Stadium in the heart of the city’s government district on Tuesday, demanding the government stop interfering in the electoral process and that it roll back laws giving parliament the power to suspend judges.
PNG’s politicians last week voted 63 to 11 to delay the June 23 poll by six months after it was revealed the rolls for 41 electorates in the resources-rich highland region were incomplete.
“(Cabinet), the parliament, does not have the power to direct the electoral commissioner,” Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told the crowd.
“Parliament will not interfere with the electoral commissioner.”
With 51 per cent of that nation’s eligible voters in the highlands, issuing the writs when the rolls aren’t ready would be unfair, Mr O’Neill said.
“How do you expect them to vote, what about their rights,” he said.
Electoral commissioner Andrew Trawen, addressing the crowd mostly in pidgin, said the election will go ahead as scheduled in late June, but writs will be issued three weeks late to allow for greater public scrutiny of the rolls.
“The three weeks’ delay will give the voters from the Highlands equal or same opportunity like that given to voters in the Southern, Momase and New Guinea Islands regions to view and object to the preliminary rolls so that a credible roll is produced for the Highlands,” he said in a statement on Tuesday morning.
Mr O’Neill also made a conditional promise to repeal the controversial Judicial Conduct Act, a law the government passed, then used to suspend the nation’s chief justice, Sir Salamo Injia, and Justice Nicholas Kirriwom.
He said parliament would repeal the law provided Sir Salamo and Justice Kirriwom stepped down voluntarily.
“If they do the right thing, I will do the right thing,” he said.
Both judges are currently overseeing a hearing into the government’s legitimacy, and police have previously arrested Sir Salamo on charges of perverting the course of their investigation into his handling of court finances.
Petitions against a delay were handed to Mr O’Neill, Mr Trawen and Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat on behalf of Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio.
Student representative president Emmanuel Issacs told the crowd they would wait to see what parliament did next before deciding on further civil action.
The peaceful, but at times rowdy, protest was made up of a highly sceptical crowd.
While Mr O’Neill spoke, one frustrated protester could be heard shouting “It is bullshit, he is lying” over the crowd’s chant of “rausim, rausim” – pidgin for “chase him out” or “get rid (of him)”.
The public statements from Mr O’Neill and Mr Trawen are significant.
Mr Trawen has long been against delaying the poll, arguing the constitution spells out a strict five-year term for PNG’s parliamentarians.
He threw down the gauntlet on Monday afternoon, saying he would go the governor-general on April 27 for the issue of writs despite parliament’s vote.
Mr O’Neill offered the compromise delay of a month for the writs late on Monday night.
Port Moresby and social media have been rife with rumour since Mr O’Neill indicated on Saturday morning he had backed away from the vote.
The government has denied rumours of a split within its ranks and that Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah, seen by many as the architect of the vote to delay the election, had been sacked by Mr O’Neill.
A poker-faced Mr Namah sat next to a smiling Mr O’Neill at the stadium.
Meanwhile, a scheduled parliamentary sitting was cancelled when an insufficient number of MPs turned up on Tuesday.
Parliament is expected to resume on Wednesday at 10am (AEST).