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 Radio New Zealand
Conflicting accounts continue to come in about the controversial recent visit to Papua New Guinea by two Vanuatu diplomatic representatives and the country’s Foreign Minister.
PNG police and customs officials detained the passports of diplomatic representatives Pascal Anh Quan Saken and his brother Charles Henry Saken after the private jet they flew in arrived without proper clearance.
Mr Saken is the owner of the super yacht Phocea which was detained in Vanuatu in July, originally on suspicion of guns and drugs smuggling, and remains seized by the Ports Authority because it has forged documents.
Johnny Blades reports that the Phocea scandal, which continues to implicate members of Vanuatu’s Sato Kilman-led government, has also embroiled PNG’s top leadership.
Vanuatu’s government has been tight-lipped about the PNG liaison between its Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot and the two Sakens, saying it had no knowledge of their meeting.
However shortly before the chartered Boeing 737 travelled to Port Moresby’s Jackson airport, PNG officials received unusual correspondence from Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels requesting clearance for the Sakens who would be meeting Mr Carlot.
PNG Police became suspicious when the brothers, of Vietnamese ethnicity, disembarked with two large sacks, saying they would personally clean the plane.
PNG aviation authorities denied a request for crew of the 737 to sleep on board during its stopover, something which Pascal Anh Quan Saken has defended:
“The engineer and the captain wanted to stay on board because we had some technical problem, and we were not sure that in PNG we could have some assistance. And actually the sacks on board was only garbage – the handling ground staff at PNG’s airport knows about it.”
However, PNG officials decided to detain the Sakens’ passports as well as that of Mr Carlot who had also arrived in Port Moresby.
PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the authorities had reason to believe these people had questionable backgrounds, requiring a check.
He says the jet departed on Sunday night after an investigation by officials.
“And they concluded that they have not breached any particular laws of our country other than not getting proper clearance for the plane to land in our country. The host country that has given the diplomatic passports to these persons have requested that they be allowed to transfer through our country and of course we have no choice but to comply with that.”
But PNG’s opposition has denounced the government for allowing the Sakens transit through PNG – according to Vanuatu’s Foreign Afairs department Pascal Ahn Quan Saken is wanted by Interpol on charges of drug and arms smuggling.
The opposition leader Belden Namah claims that certain PNG cabinet ministers met the two brothers on board their plane.
But Peter O’Neill says reports in PNG media that he or other ministers met the Sakens are not true.
“Nobody is authorised to meet the people who were under investigation so I’ll be very surprised if any minister or anybody other than the public servants who are carrying out the investigation met with the subjects.”
Peter O’Neill has also rejected claims by Alfred Carlot that he visited PNG at the invitation of the PNG Government.
The Vanuatu Foreign Minister is already implicated in the Phocea affair, having faced criminal charges last year for boarding the Phocea before it received clearance from customs and immigration.
The yacht remains moored in Port Vila, where the Ports Authority has refused to release it despite repeated efforts by the Kilman government to let it go.
The suspended Director of Ports and Harbours, Morris Kaloran, says his recent removal by the government is linked to the super yacht.
“Well, they give me some reasons but I think it’s only a cover-up. The reasons that were given to me for suspension, there is no ground for it. But the suspension was, I believe, politically motivated.”
Morris Kaloran says the yacht’s registration and crew documentation remain out of order and therefore the owner or owners have a case to answer.
He says the Malta Shipping Registry has confirmed that Maltese registration for the Phocea, which was obtained last year without proof of ownership and other registration requirements, was cancelled this month.
Mr Saken denies the registration is fake and says he is the victim of a conspiracy, both in Vanutau and PNG.
“I’ve been accused of being a gangster, having firearms and drugs on board. Same story for the airplane. Come on, we have to be realistic. If you find a firearm, that is a very, very big allegation… or any illegal substance, you think that for seven months the story will last? No. It would be in court, we would be prosecuted for a very serious offence. There’s nothing of that.”
Mr Saken, who says he is the Deputy Head of Vanuatu’s Embassy in Belgium, insists his work as a diplomatic representative focussing on energy projects took him to PNG.
He says he went there to talk to the US ambassador.
“And the reason why we went to PNG is because Minister Alfred Carlot was so impressed by our work that I have done in Belgium that he wanted us to go to the USA to implement the same programme. So that’s the reason why we came to PNG – because the only place for a Vanuatu citizen to get a visa for the USA is PNG.”
However his claims to have been in touch with the US Embassy come as a surprise to the embassy.
Its spokesman Regis Prevot has also denied claims from Alfred Carlot’s camp that he went to meet the ambassador.
“Most of the thing here was about the Foreign Minister coming, meeting with the US Ambassador, and no meeting took place.”Vanuatu’s Opposition leader Edward Natapei says the government is yet to answer his questions about what business Mr Carlot had with the Sakens in PNG.
The office of Vanuatu’s Prime Minister said last year it was revoking Pascal Ahn Quan Saken’s passport but he appears to still possess it, something Mr Natapei says casts the country in a poor light.
“The real concern is that the two brothers were travelling with Vanuatu diplomatic passports. Now there’s a big question about the diplomatic passports of Vanuatu and the credibility of that and our involvement as a country with people like the Sakens who are involved in other crooked deals around the world.”
Pascal Ahn Quan Saken has not been back to Vanuatu since leaving last July before he could be questioned in relation to the yacht .
For a man whose CV claims that he owns a barely known university in Vanuatu, and that he was born on Vanuatu’s main island despite claims by the local Vietnamese community to the contrary, Mr Saken remains an enigma.
He says he may return to PNG next month to complete his unfinished business with the US embassy, something which is sure to raise more questions.
A Gulfstream private jet N8989N is currently parked at Port Moresby International Airport. It is alleged this aircraft has brought international fugitive Tjandra Joko Soegiarto back to PNG.
It is alleged Joko is closely associated with a number of PNG politicians and arrived in PNG with large quants of cash. It is further alleged he is trying to negotiate the purchase of 4 million hectares of land.
Is Joku in PNG and if so why is he here?
International Indonesian fugutive Joko Chaundra Soegerto wired some Indonesian Government funds offshore from the Reserve Bank of Indonesia for Investment offshore. When the regime changes in Indonesian politics Joko Chaundra Soegerto ran away overseas and hide in Malayasia and then to other countries because the Indonesian Government wanted him to return that Investment funds back to Indonesian people.
In PNG 90 percent of logging companies are owned by the Malayasians in partnerships with PNG politicans who are corrupt and are directors of most of the logging companies, retailing and oil palm industry. Joko Chaundra Soegerto has family members in connection to some of these operations in PNG and in retailing business. Joko Chaundra Soegerto is related through blood family lines and investment in PNG through PAPINDO group of companies and Super Value Stores (SVS) group of company’s diversfying to Real Estate companies and now into rice production through the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Central province. They are now applying for oil and gas industry with mining exploration in Papua New Guinea.
Joko Chaundra Soegerto is the friend of many PNG national government ministers both in the current Oniell/Namah government as well as the faction with the Chief Somare and his son Arthur Somare in the opposition. Meaning most of the parlimentarians go to bed with the Malayasian and some Indonesian Businessman like Joko Chaundra Soegerto with his family members and associates.
All this has happened that has leaded the PNG Government Falcon Jet issue with the Indonesians military jets escorting the governmernt jet to PNG/Indonesian boarder last year. The basic truth is that when the PNG government Jet takes off the International fugutive Joko Chaundra Soegerto’s jet took off at the same time in one of the airport in Indonesia.
Some funds transferred from Malayasian Banks have been off loaded from the International fugutive Joko Chaundra private jet to PNG Government jet in Indonesia where both jets landed for the delivery of cash in suitcases.When the Kumul jets landed at the Jackson air port in PNG most of those suit cases have not been checked by the PNG Customs and Immagration officers.Therefore there are some facts associated in the movement of hard cash by Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah with his delegation last year to Malayasia.
On Friday April 27, 2012 at 7.45am International Indonesian fugutive Joko Chaundra Soegerto’s Jet all white with green stripes with registeration number N8989N landed in Port Moresby,Jackson International Airport with 3 suitcases may be full of cash and other items.He was met by Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon.Peter Oniell and his Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah.There was no Immagration and Customs checks and clearance because the officers were told by the Immagration Director General not to do any thing.
As of today Tuesday May 2, 2012 the International Indonesian fugutive Joko Chaundra Soegerto’s jet is still parked near the Air Niugini cargo Terminal manned by a Blue 10 Seater Vehicle LBD 337 all tinted.From the very relaible sources International Indonesian fugutive Joko Chaundra Soegerto has been given a PNG Citizenship passport and Joko Chaundra Soegerto has transmitted US$52 Billion from Dubai to Singapore awaiting to be transmitted from Singapore to Papua New Guinea.
This matter has been reported to Australian High Commission office in Port Moresby on April 28, 2012 and nothing has been done to date.Please we need assistance to crub money laundering and corruption in PNG politics and economy.
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.
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).
Via PNG Blogs
Papua New Guinea’s flip-flopping Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has remained defiant saying the Judicial conduct law will only be removed if the Chief Justice, Salamo Injia resigns.
Arriving with a government entourage under heavy police guard, O’Neill addressed more than 4000 people at the Sir John Guise Stadium at midday today.
The PM also wants another senior judge, Justice Kirriwom to step aside as part of a trade off to have the judicial conduct law repealed. Both judges have been at the center of the controversy between the government the judiciary.
O’Neill’s response has drawn public anger from Papua New Guineans both on the streets and on social media networks.
“What’s the next step PNG? I’d like an all out rampage across the nation. This is so bloody waste of time. Do we now fear these Dictators?,” said one Twitter user.
Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, says the nation will have an election on June 23 as scheduled, as public outcry mounts against parliament’s decision to delay the poll by six months.
But Mr O’Neill is proposing the issuing of electoral writs be delayed by one month, arguing voters need more time to inspect the rolls.
It is unclear if electoral commissioner Andrew Trawen, a staunch opponent of the delay, has agreed to the deal.
The proposal comes as Port Moresby braces for protests as news spreads of last week’s controversial parliamentary vote.
That vote by 63 MPs, Mr O’Neill says, was not binding, serving only to voice parliament’s frustration at the unpreparedness of the rolls in the critical, and resource-rich, Highlands region.
‘Let me assure the nation that, except for the date for the issue of the writs, the 2012 elections will go ahead as scheduled by the electoral commissioner,’ Mr O’Neill said in a statement.
Much of the statement spelled out details of a four-hour crisis cabinet meeting attended Mr Trawen.
Mr O’Neill says both cabinet and the electoral commission agreed that the unpreparedness of voting rolls by April 27 was critical and warranted deferral of the election.
The statement only bears Mr O’Neill’s signature, and a spokesman for Mr Trawen would not comment when read its contents.
He said Mr Trawen would make a statement on Tuesday.
However, earlier in the day, Mr Trawen said he was seeking legal advice on the constitutionality of the decision made by parliament on April 5 to defer the elections until October.
‘I will proceed to advise the Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio to issue writs for the 2012 elections as scheduled on 27th April, 2012,’ he said in a statement on Monday.
‘And I want the people of PNG to know that I have always maintained that the commission is prepared and the 2012 elections will go ahead as planned.’
Mr Trawen said preparations were on track and the commission was doing its best to prepare and deliver credible electoral rolls for a June 23 poll.
Mr O’Neill surprised the nation and international observers by backing away from parliament’s vote on Saturday morning.
He said a report cited in parliament, and written by Mr Trawen, did not recommend differing the poll, a claim made by some MPs before the vote to delay.
The proposal comes as Port Moresby shows signs of growing public outcry against parliament’s decision.
A convoy of 10 buses made its way through out the city on Monday, urging a public demonstration in the centre of the city.
There was also a public concert on Ela Beach, where in between songs presenters urged the public to make its voice known.
Students, unionists and former soldiers are expected to attend.
‘I hope it will be peaceful,’ said Godfrey Aisi, who is among a group of former soldiers who will join unions and students on Tuesday morning.
‘We will be angry if the PM does not come and face us.
‘But we will peaceful. We hope the police don’t use teargas on us.’
Critics of the move say PNG’s 36-year-old constitution spells out strict five-year parliamentary terms and gives MPs the power to call early elections, but not defer them.
The police and military have also said they were ready for the elections, Mr Trawen said.
Former prime minister Sir Michael Somare and former attorney-general Sir Arnold Amet say the move is blatantly unconstitutional.
‘No parliament since independence has used its numbers to buy more time in office than these desperate 63 members of parliament who voted for the deferral of the elections,’ Sir Michael said.