By LUCAS KIAP on PNG Blogs
The rest of the country has joined the bandwagon of the government and the opposition to declare war on crime in Papua New Guinea – in response to the recent surge in violent crimes across the country. Sadly, we have waited too long only to react after so many innocent and precious lives have been taken away prematurely by those who have no regard for human life nor understand their own existence in our human society. Nothing we say or do now will ever replace nor return those lives. Only time will tell if our (as usual) reactive measures by legislating and imposing tougher penalties will deter future offenders or not – the most server being the death penalty.
Before jumping on the bandwagon, there are critical and fundamental questions still remain and need to be asked and answered if we are to find a lasting solution but in reality that will be impossible. In countries such as the USA where the death penalty is applied, it never prevents offenders from committing such crimes. If such crimes can still be committed in a very powerful, rich, everyone literate, have access to information and have severe penalties, PNG must be prepared to take a extra step and dig deep to find a lasting solution. PNG is therefore having its share of a global problem that cannot be simply eradicated by imposing the most severe penalty – the death sentence. Instead, being the most responsible people, we all must be proactive in our approach to address the problem – that is to find and address the root causes first before being reactive to solve a very deep and complicated problem.
To find the root causes, one must prepared to ask the question – PNG is relatively a rich country in terms of natural resources with a small population and a large land mass but why it is poor struggling to address its escalating law and order problems? It is because of corruption, which, for the last 37 years, we have been letting it to grow systematic and systemic. It is now making our lives difficult, limiting our opportunities, making our systems malfunction, setting back our progresses, creating loopholes for our systems to be manipulated, distorting of our democratic values, depriving and denying us of our basic human rights and trapping millions of our citizens in poverty. Now we are starting to sow the seed we or our leaders have planted 37 years ago.
Remember that eighty-five percept of the population lives in rural areas and in settlements, where poverty is prevalent. Poverty is an ingredient of worst crimes. If we continue to fail to provide or neglect them the opportunities they need to live a better and meaningful life in our society, we are in fact widening the gap between the richer and the poorer. When that happens, what do we expect from the poor whom we have denied them equal opportunities – struggling to survive while we on the other hand enjoy what we have taken from them? Unfortunately, the victims are also the victims of corruption.
To conclude, to address the root cause of crime in the country, corruption must be equally treated as a worst crime against the State and her people. It has been and is still responsible for most of the social problems in the country which eventually leads to worst crimes. Therefore, whatever penalties applied to murders, rapists, drug edicts, and alcoholics, state criminals or white collar criminals whoever they are must also be treated in the same manner.
If we fail to address corruption now, it will return to haunt us when we least expect – in our cars, at our homes, at our work places or wherever we are, it will find us one day. To avoid what is eminent, let’s act now before we start jumping up and down again only to tear our country apart.
From Thomas Imal on Facebook
From reliable sources, the Forest Minister has sought legal advice from two Queens Counsel in Australia and he will be pushing to stop the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Special Purpose Agriculture & Business Leases from being tabled and made public, on a number of legal grounds.
One of their main arguments for seeking to nullify the report is that the COI final report was not completed and tabled within the time set and there was no valid extension of time granted.
This is a similar situation with the NPF Inquiry, but the situation can be rectified by the government passing a short piece of legislation to validate the Report.
It will be interesting, as it unfolds and we have to make noise about it so the pollies know that we are watching…
37 Years of Corruption: Do we accept corruption as a norm or is there a way forward for the country?
By Lucas Kiap on PNG Blogs
For the last 37 years of nationhood, we have been letting corruption to grow systematic and systemic – making our lives difficult, limiting our opportunities, making our systems malfunction, setting back our progresses, creating loopholes for our systems to be manipulated, distorting of our democratic values, depriving and denying us of our basic human rights and trapping millions of our citizens in poverty.
We have forsaken our country and its future by confessing and accepting corruption as a norm, part of our history, cultures, and traditions. We have regarded it is as part of our way of life, for instance “Big Man” are not punishable even when they commit serious crimes. We regarded “wantok system” or nepotism as helping one another or returning a favor. Bribery has been regarded as normal and is considered as a gift to facilitate requests in a speedy or timely manner. Unfortunately, our traditional norms have presided over western norms. We are a nation at confusion and lost between two extreme worlds – one inherited from our ancestors and one inherited from colonial masters during independence.
At this juncture, I would like to propose this question – do we accept corruption as a norm or is there a way forward for the country after 37 years of corruption?
In this article I attempt to answer the above question in three parts. The first part, I write about corruption as I see it. The second part I write about corruption as the rest of Papua New Guineans see it according to my 12 years of judgment. In the third or final part, I write about the way forward for the country as according to the way I see it.
CORRUPTION AS I SEE – A UGLY MONSTER
When I first begin to understand the corruption problem in the country 12 years ago in 2001, I want to find out how it affects my life and my country. As I searched deeply into the problem of corruption I came face to face with a young, ugly, and black monster yet appeared friendly. The monster was appeared to be looking healthy, well fed and looked after. From its appearance I could guess it was 37 years of age. The monster starred at me with its big and red eyes through which I could be able to see all its internal organs. I saw the intestines and what it has been feeding on. I could see human bones – the bones of the mothers died of breast cancer, the bones of children died of malnutrition, the bones of tribal warriors died in tribal fights and the bones of those who died as the direct result of lack of basic government services. As a searched further deep into all its internal parts and organs I noticed some of the ugliest sights decorated with sign boards of different shapes and sizes I had never imagine exist in our real world today. The writings on the signboards read, “I will deny and deprive you of the opportunities to education, employment, health care, transport and basic government services”. The sight of what I saw really frightened the hell out of me – drained and exhausted all my energy. I sat motionless, my heart pounding, eyes filled with tears of bitter sadness – all I could managed to say was “God, why are you letting this to happen for so long in a country where its people considered to be your own people or Christians?” As I come to face to face with this deeply rooted monster, I see my future slowing evaporating before its eyes.
Corruption as it appears to me is a sinister monster with thousands of mouths that we have been feeding and looking after for the last 37 years of nationhood. We have tamed it to be our family member, best friend, relative, wantok and countrymen. We have let it grow its roots among family, cultural, social, political and economical settings. In the dark when no one notices it, it has slowly been creeping and knocking at the doorsteps of every Papua New Guineans, feeding on our greed and selfishness to escalate the deteriorating of our integral and moral human values. As a result, we have been in the race to be the conquerors of Mt. Everest before others, we want to reach the North and the South Poles to rewrite history, we want our initials curved on some deep sea monsters, we want to fly our flags on the moon, and we want to travel to Jupiter before the NASA scientists.
Yes we have mustered the art for the destruction of our own country and future and we are already addicted to it – we are on an endless mission.
Corruption as I described above is a monster to me. But what about the rest of Papua New Guineans think? Read on to find out what I think is their perceptions about corruption in the country.
CORRUPTION AS THE REST OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA SEE IT – A NORM
Unfortunately, the rest of Papua New Guineans have allowed corruption as a norm, originated from our cultures and traditions. For instance, a “big man” in a typical PNG culture is not punishable by the laws. The big man culture is well versed in PNG politics where politics have been misconceived as a means to personal wealth creation. Politicians or PNG big men begin their political careers as ordinary persons, or civil servants, and graduate as business entrepreneurs after their discontinuation from office. A browse through the political chronicles of PNG will reveal this interesting trend. In fact, most medium scale business activities in PNG are owned or partly owned by politicians and ex-politicians. The emergence of politicians-turned-businessmen or vice versa after 1975, and the difficulties in separating business from politics, had sent out false signals to aspirants to political office. Contesting elections today has become a god sent opportunity to wealth accumulation. Cases of diverting public monies into personal accounts or into those of the politician’s business associates are reported everyday in the daily newspapers.
An example of how politicians or PNG’s “big men” divert and steal public funds – when government funds (millions of Kina) are released for projects, politicians often pretend to open trust accounts to be managed by government department secretaries. While the money is in the trust accounts, a network of signatories to the money is established to draw out the money. When this is done and in order, third parties (often their cronies) are consulted and asked to submit project proposals or register ghost companies with bogus claims so that payments can be made to them. Eventually the money is transferred and shared between the key players. The key players of this political mafia gang type network include some of our politicians; government CEOs, secretaries, directors; and their financial controllers. They establish networks with bankers, accountants, lawyers or other specialists to help them generate, move or store their illicit income. The transaction is often enabled by professionals from many fields. With the network strongly established, creating an atmosphere of mutual trust and reciprocity; they attempt to provide a legal appearance to corrupt transactions, producing legally enforceable signatories; and they help to ensure that no one is blamed in case of detection.
Tribalism in the Highlands and other parts of the has also been promoting the “big man” culture. In the Highlands, where tribalism is common, there is a stiff competition between rival tribes in the numbers game of “big man”. The tribe that boasts more big men is a powerful tribe. As a result the tribal big men in the highlands are as powerful as little gods. When the tribal “big man” commands his tribes, they respond with “yes boss”. All tribal members stand ready to defend their tribal big man even when he is guilty. To promote more members of the tribe to big-man status, the big man usually a politician from the tribe requests tribal members to register ghost companies and submit ghost project proposals. He then diverts all or part of the District Development and Improvement grants or other project funds to the companies where the money is stolen – sometimes there is little work done or most of the times the quality of work done is very poor. The transactions are often aided by government officials and bureaucrats. This practice is widespread and is common in PNG were District Development and Improvement grants or other project funds have been diverted, misused and stolen.
Coupled with the PNG “big man” culture, greed, selfishness and individualism has allowed corruption to be integrated into part of our culture escalating the deteriorating of our integral and moral human values. The selfishness and greed of wanting more has led to people stealing from the State wealth through ghost project proposals or by other means such as registering ghost companies where public funds can be diverted to, often aided by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who benefit from the scheme. As a result we have developed a culture of only caring for ourselves. We don’t care about the consequences of our actions or decisions in the lives of others. We simply tend to think that what happens to others is “none of our business”. Sadly, this is not a reflection of our Christian values and believes, which we always claim as in a Christian country.
The desire for the destruction of our country and future in the pretext of accepting corruption as a norm for the last 37 years of independence has led to the emergence of a complicated attitude problem. As a result it has become part of our upbringing and has been slowly fueling corruption. We have invented shields of ignorance and pretended that there is nothing happening at our doorsteps or that of our neighbors. We defend ourselves when we are criticized, exposed or investigated for corrupt practices. We always try to play the game of not guilty, knowing well that we will eventually come out clean by manipulating a corrupted and often flawed judicial system. We take refuge as Christians in a Christian Country; pray, attend church services, take the Bread of Life and preach the gospel to be trusted and accepted. We take temporarily relief by blaming others for own problems, taking advantage of a very large illiterate population.
We have accepted corruption as a norm but did we admit it as a problem. In the following I will discuss some of the confessions by our former and current politicians and citizens who admitted corruption is a problem, as reported in our two daily news papers.
CORRUPTION IS A NORM BUT DID WE ADMIT IT?
Our inability to address corruption, confusing ourselves between the two extremes (cultures) – one inherited from our ancestors and one inherited from our colonial masters have allowed corruption to flourish in the social, economical and political settings unattended for the last 37 years of independence. But did we admit we have a problem? In the following, I discussed some of the confessions by our former and current politicians and citizens who admitted corruption is a problem, as reported in our two daily news papers.
When tried to shake off a shaky coalition government surrounded by scandals of the Sandline and economic crisis in 1997, the former Prime Minister late Sir William Bill Skate in a press release, attacked Sir Julius Chan (also a former Prime Minister) as ‘ultimately responsible’ for his Ministers’ conduct during the Sandline crisis. He said ‘our great nation of Papua New Guinea has been plundered and pillaged by a scattering of politicians and corrupt leaders and we want this sad chapter to be closed.’ He then called for an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), saying ‘if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear’. Soon after, Mr Skate expelled Chan’s PPP from the Government. It’s sad especially when a head of a country confessed corruption is an issue yet let unaddressed to grow from bad to worse over the years.
Sir Mekere Mourata when he was PNG’s Prime Minister in 1999 once described corruption in Papua New Guinea as Systematic and Systemic. Systematic because it is well planned, organized and cleverly executed to steal large sums of public funds (money) avoiding being detected and caught. Systemic because the current systems in place or the lack of strict checks and balances facilitates or is conducive for corrupt practices to flourish in the public sector for the last 37 years. Is Sir Mekere Mourata not responsible for failing to promptly investigate into the fatal shooting in June 2001 of Steven Kil, Peter Noki, Thomas Moruwo and Matthew Paven during a police operation against anti-government protesters at UPNG?
Former MP for Lae Open and then Deputy Opposition leader Bart Philemon in 2007 claimed the PNG’s politicians as ‘Dirty money MPs’. He claimed that Papua New Guinean politicians were walking on a “minefield” of “dirty money” from unscrupulous people with money, who were hell-bent on influencing political outcomes for their vested interests. The claim was made at the 7th annual Ethics Symposium of the Divine Word University’s Faculty of Business and Management in Madang. Mr Philemon said the country faced the real danger of seeing its Members of Parliament bought out by those with “big pockets (of money)” to get political favours for their vested interests. “How can we ensure our politicians survive this minefield?” Mr Philemon asked. In direct reference to the 2007 election where he observed large sums of money allegedly used by vested interests, Mr Philemon claimed some of the winning candidates demanded their election expenses be refunded if they were to join certain political groups in the lead-up to the formation of the new government last month. Such claims by MPs are common when in the Opposition but when in the Government it is a rare scenario.
The former National Planning Minister, Paul Tiensten in 2008 claimed that there was a “10 per cent” syndicate operating out of the Vulupindi Haus, the headquarters of the departments of Finance, Treasury and National Planning. The Minister made this revelation when announcing the National Executive Council’s decision to replace department secretary Valentine Kambori with Joseph Lelang. Mr Tiensten said: “This building houses a syndicate … everybody is getting a 10 per cent cut to approve a cheque.” He said National Planning will start cleaning the department and the rollover effect will help clean the other two departments as they work together. Is Mr. Tiensten a credible and reputable person to raise such allegations? From what I know he is yet to tell the people of Papua New Guinea about the disappearance and whereabouts of billions of kina he managed under the National Planning department.
HR Holdings Limited managing director and former chairman of the PNG Manufacturer’s Council Sir Ramon Thurecht in March 2008 made a similar claim of a 30 per cent syndicate involving bureaucrats and politicians begging businesses for money before work can be done. But, he said the businesses could not speak out because of fear the bureaucrats and politicians would retaliate. He said “our biggest challenge now is to work with the Government”.
“Corruption in PNG will reach a dangerous trend if leaders and publics servants implicated are not prosecuted”, prominent lawyer Dr John Nonggorr said in September 2007 when commenting on PNG’s ranking in the Transparency International Corruption Index , which fell by 13 places. Dr Nonggorr said the implications of widespread corruption domestically must not be underestimated. He said it had serious consequences for governments, governance and the continued functioning of a State. Dr Nonggorr said that with basic public services such as schools, hospitals, roads and bridges in a deplorable state throughout the country, the inability of the State to protect public property by preventing corruption, would lead to the loss of respect for the State, its institutions and authority generally. “This would give rise to public disobedience, which may demonstrate itself in public disorder including violence.
The rest of Papua New Guinea has joined the bandwagon; as I have observed a lot of anti-corruption websites or blogs starting to emerge. Papua New Guineans are now in large growing numbers using the social media to their advantage by writing and posting about our country’s worst night mare, corruption epidemic. Also, the editorial or viewpoints columns of our local news papers contain a significant number of letters or views of Papua New Guineans writing everyday about our friend, relative, and wantok – corruption. Papua New Guineans are now starting to wake up from their long sleep to face their tamed monster – describing it as a faceless evil or something worse, whatever they can think, name or describe it.
CORRUPTION A NORM: HOW MUCH HAVE WE BENEFITED?
We have accepted corruption as a norm yet we have admitted it is a problem yet we let it to flourish unattended for the last 37 years of independence. That means everyone in this country must have benefited from it and are better off than other countries. But how much have we benefited?
I am from the highlands where the PNG’s “big men” culture strongly exists. To me I don’t easily accept the fact that these big men or chiefs have been subjecting the future of our beautiful country to ransom. I find it extremely impossible to understand why Papua New Guineans have been tolerating the big men culture letting them getting away unpunished while we have been suffering in a rich country.
Because I don’t drink from the same cup or eat from the same plate with politicians. I don’t share a same wife and children with them. They don’t provide the daily needs of my family. I struggle everyday to provide something on the table for my family from my own hard work and sweat. The fortnight salary I get is simply not enough to rent a house in the city. It cannot even last two weeks. Having three meals a day is still a luxury and a dream.
I see our politicians with bitter sadness and pain. When I see them, I reflect on the many years of suffering I have been enduring in a rich country. I have been blaming them for making our lives difficult, limiting our opportunities, making our systems malfunction, setting back our progresses, creating loopholes for our systems to be manipulated, distorting of our democratic values, depriving and denying us of our basic human rights and trapping millions of our citizens in poverty.
As a result of corruption, the government of Papua New Guinea has neglected our infrastructure – our lifeline to deteriorate over the years, often blaming the public servants for not implementing government policies.
The daily local newspapers continue to reveal the breakdown of law and order with escalating in violent crimes that often scares foreign investors and tourists away and out of the country. Papua New Guinea is regarded as one of the high risk countries in the world to do business or to visit.
In cities and towns, squatter settlements are quickly developing, becoming a breeding grounds for street ‘mangis’ (boys) who eventually found themselves on the streets searching for opportunities to survive – they simply don’t care if taking another person’s life is a crime or a crime commit to survive. Far worse, there is total no control over the influx of illegal Asian immigrants into the country, taking away business and employment opportunities from the locals. Worse still, there is a stiff rise in the smuggling of cheap low-quality counterfeit goods by Asians into the country, invading government tax systems and feeding our people with rubbish and rob our off our hard earned Kina. The number of illegal businesses (brothels, pornographic movies and gambling) conducted by Asians has dramatically increased over the years, undermining the rule of the law.
These are painful, deep problems that quick fixes will not solve them. But we cannot let it unaddressed only to haunt our future or that of our children’s or their children. There should be a way out and I will discuss this bellow in the final session of my discussion.
IS THERE A WAY FORWARD?
Yes there is a way forward. The big men culture is neither our destiny nor our future. We cannot deny ourselves of a better life and pretend that corruption is a norm. Every Papua New Guinea must be on equal footing with our political leaders and play on a same level playing field. There are no two sets of laws in this country. There is only one constitution for every citizen in the country regardless of creed, race, ethnicity, religious background or political affiliations.
We cannot let big men ruin and deprive our future because we don’t eat from the same cup, eat from the same plate or sleep on the same bed. Everyone should be given and should have equal opportunity to excel in life as one desires. This country and everyone who occupies it from time to time should rise above their full potential.
We are not going to and shall not continue to suffer in a very rich country where we should be better off than other countries that are not rich as our country. Nor we cannot to walk under the shadows of the so called PNG’s “big men” culture. This is not our future and our destiny.
I don’t want my children to go through the suffering that I am going through every day in this rich country. I don’t want to live and die leaving behind a future that is uncertain for my children. When I know that I have the opportunity to at least achieve a change for this country – I don’t want to die without trying it.
The time is now to start act to stop corruption. To stop corruption we must rise above our own fears and doubts. We must defeat our confessions of “big men” culture and reject it. We must trade our greed, selfishness, bribery and wantok system cultures and adopt caring, giving, protecting and defending cultures. Remember, our ability to extract our natural resources to sustain our future will not be achieved without consequences. One day our ability to extract more of these resources will be questioned as our country is struggling to maintain a delicate balance between our increasing demands and natural laws which will eventually come into play and halt our ability to extract more of these resources.
It’s about time we need to write a bible about corruption in Papua New Guinea. Let’s preach our corruption bible in every corner of Papua New Guinea exposing the people who have been stealing and how much they have been stealing from the national wealth. We expose how much they have before becoming politicians or public office holders and how much they have amassed after becoming a public servant. If we can expose corruption to every Papua New Guinean, I believe they will accept it as a message of hope because 99 percent of the populations are not aware of the corruption problem. They are not aware of what we have been writing and discussing on every social networking sites and blogs. None one in this country has committed his life to preach the gospel of anti-corruption.
Yes this is the ONLY way forward. If you truly believe in this country and have been thinking that this country should be on its way progressing and advancing to achieve the status of a developed country in less than hundred years but is not because of the corruption, please do not hesitate to join me. I have lived in this country long enough to know exactly what has been going on. I also know a way forward for PNG to be a country free of corruption but full of patriots who will bet their lives for this country and want to achieve greater and extra ordinary things.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook : PNG Anti Corruption Movement.
Prime Minister O’Neil holds himself out as a moderniser, a leader who plans to centralise and utilise the nation’s vast natural wealth, to build the pillars of a strong, independent national economy, i.e. education, health, roads, transport, infrastructure, industry, technology, law and order. His critics, mostly foreign, stare incredulously at the O’Neill government, as their sweetheart deals dry up.
Yet anyone who has taken the time to seriously glance northwards would know that those nations who have broken with neoliberal dictates, by implementing a strong state-led development model, that focuses on fostering national industries, are the only countries who have successfully broken the cycle of dependency and poverty. To its credit the O’Neill government stands tall as arguably the first government in PNG willing to give this a serious go; his predecessors have proven all too willing to drink the foreign advisers’ coolaid, while at the same time lining their pockets through corruption and backroom deals.
But serious challenges remain. In particular, the PNG state bears the scars of dependency; a despondent civil service, all too prepared to take brown paper bags full of money – to be fair, with sky rocketing inflation this has become something of a necessity for PNG’s emerging middle class – and a political elite so consumed with frauds and scams, they have sign away the family silver to foreign multinationals for bargain basement prices.
O’Neill must stare down this reality, and combat it with all the resources at his command. One area in which this is particularly vital is roads. Along with telecommunications, utilities and urban planning, a well organised roads networks will be vital to a healthy, independent national economy that benefits not only big capital, but just as importantly – if not more importantly – those millions of small farmers who want to get their goods to market.
Road procurement then is no laughing matter. Accordingly, PNG Exposed has been scrutinising a number of recent contracts awarded to construction companies to build major roads and highways (see Post Courier 12/4/2013 and 18/1/2013). Collectively these awards amount to almost K1 billion. Yes, lets underscore and italicise that figure, K1 billion, it is a sobering amount.
Sadly, following investigation many of the most lucrative contracts have been awarded to companies slammed for corruption, bribery and fraud by the World Bank, Transparency International, the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee. We outline key cases in the table below.
If the Prime Minister is to earn his reputation as a moderniser, roads procurement is a good a place to start as any. Prime Minister, PNG Exposed asks, why is a major artery of PNG’s economic health, being clogged up with contractors who the World Bank won’t touch?
Seizing back control of PNG’s mineral wealth is only one pillar for a truly independent PNG, it is absolutely vital every one of those dollars wrestled from foreign interests is used wisely, prudently and transparently, to fund the critical infrastructure future generations will need to make PNG the great nation it can be.
|Company||PNG Contract||Corruption Allegations|
|China Harbour Engineering Company PNG Ltd||K318 million for 18.7 km of road.(K196,000,000 – Gerehu, Hanuabada and K122,000,000 – Gerehu, Nine Mile).||China Harbour Engineering Company’s parent company, and all its subsidiaries (including its PNG subsidiaries), have been blacklisted until 12/1/2017 by the World Bank for all contracts related to roads and bridges, owing to “fraudulent practices” (Source: World Bank 2011).The courts in Bangladesh found that China Harbour Engineering Company paid bribes to the son of the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, who was then sentenced to six years in prison. (Source: The Hindu 2011)
In 2012 an Audit was conducted by the Jamaican government into two major infrastructure projects, one of which was awarded to China Harbour Engineering Company. The Minister for Transport, Works and Housing claimed, “The report from the forensic auditor has unearthed wanton disregard for the conventions and procedures established by the Government of Jamaica for project implementation, administration and management. These breaches of existing procurement guidelines have drained precious budgetary resources and undermined the very foundation of public institutional integrity” (Source: Caribbean Analysis 2012).
China Habour Engineering Company negotiated with the Cayman Islands Premier to build and run a major port facility. This deal was stopped, when the UK government blew the whistle over the procurement arrangements. Later it was revealed the process had been fast tracked by the Premier, in violation of legal process (Source: CayCompass 2013).
|Global Constructions Ltd(Note: Current Works Minister, Francis Awesa, was a Managing Director and major Shareholder at Global Construction Ltd)||K85,000,000 for Gordons Industrial Road Stage 2.||According to Transparency International (TI), in 2001/2002, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) appointed one of its ‘cronies’ CEO of the National Capital District (NCD). TI then note, “The later awarding of a contract to expand the city’s road system to a Global Construction company (GC) immediately after the appointment of the PDM-sponsored CEO, Mr. Kipit, raised several implications, including that of manipulation of the tendering procedures. GC had experience only in the Southern Highlands province and had little exposure to civil engineering in urban cities like Port Moresby. There were also established companies like Curtin Brothers and Barclay Brothers, who had wealth of experience of civil engineering in PNG, but were overlooked for the construction job in the city. GC is also a company rumoured to have substantial share ownership among some members of the ruling PDM party” (Transparency International 2003).In 2002 the Public Accounts Committee found that a NCD road contract bid by Global Constructions Ltd was altered by an NCD official, so Global Construction’s quote was cheaper than its rivals. (Post Courier, 25/10/2002)
It is alleged that Global Constructions was given a K10 million contract in breach of the Public Finance Management Act. (Source: Post Courier 2012)
Global Construction has also been subject to criticism in social media forums, see here.
|Paga Hill Development Company(Note: Former Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Nali, is a shareholder in this company)||Amount unknown, Paga Hill Ring Road||Paga Hill Developent Company’s Chairman and Secretary, Gudmundur Fridriksson, is alleged by the Public Accounts Committee to have acquired a 13.7 hectare plot of land at Paga Hill through “corrupt dealings”. His other company CCS Anvil has been slammed in 2 Auditor General reports and 3 Public Account Committee reports. The most serious accusation involves the alleged theft of K2 million from deceased estates when working for PNG’s Public Curator’s Office. (Source: International State Crime Initiative 2012)|
By K.C. Vijayan, The Straits Times
Three senior executives facing charges over a US$35 million ($44 million) fraud where they allegedly used a fictitious sub- contract will get to know who the deceived party claims to be, thanks to a test case ruling.
The trio will also get to know in their trial the reasons the document used is deemed fake, after the High Court overruled the Public Prosecutor’s objections to release of the details.
The test case, judgment grounds for which were issued on Monday, closely scrutinised the pre-trial information disclosure regime under the new 2010 Criminal Procedure Code.
Mr Stephen Li, Ms Lim Ai Wah and Mr Thomas Doehrman face six charges each, including a single charge of conspiring to issue an invoice in July 2010 which led to a US$3.6 million (S$4.5 million) payout.
They also face five other charges each of receiving proceeds of the payout under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.
Mr Li was chief representative of China-based ZTE Corporation – a global telecommunications equipment and network solutions provider – for Brunei, New Guinea and the South Pacific Islands from 2010.
Ms Lim is a director of Questzone Offshore, allegedly set up to get commission payments from ZTE over a Papua New Guinea community college pro- ject. Mr Doehrman, her husband, assists the Papua New Guinea government under a trust for the college project.
ZTE was given a US$35 million deal for the 2010 project.
The trio allegedly conspired to have an invoice issued to ZTE, which falsely sought payment to Questzone as a sub-contractor in a fictitious sub-contract.
Prosecutors gave their lawyers a summary of the facts against them as part of the information bundle for the prosecution under the Criminal Case Disclosure Conference regime.
But lawyers Lok Vi Ming, Lai Yew Fai and Julian Tay, defending each of the three, said the summary was “silent as to the person or entity deceived”. It was also silent on how and why the sub-contract between ZTE and Questzone was fictitious.
Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, overruling submissions by prosecutors Allan Loh and Dennis Tan, found a “factual gap which it needed to plug”.
He held that without the requested particulars, the trio would “be vulnerable to surprises at the trial” which the new disclosure regime was meant to prevent.
He said the prosecutors did not show there were “peculiarities or sensitivities which would be adversely affected” by the disclosures ordered.
But he rejected two of the defendants’ applications for further details as these relate to matters unlikely to have a substantial impact.
Justice Chao stayed the order last month pending the prosecution’s appeal to the apex court.
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.
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
ORO Governor Garry Juffa has called on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the government to fast track the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Bill to save costs of expensive Commissions of Inquiry.
“There have been so many inquiries. This is just another example of an inquiry that has cost the country substantial amount of money, in this instance K15 million.”
Governor Juffa said this during debate on a statement by PM O’Neill on the Special Agriculture Business Leases (SADLs) Commission of Inquiry interim report.
Mr Juffa, who is a trained investigator who worked for 16 years with Internal Revenue and Customs, said he had worked in a lot of investigation work.
“As an investigator I can tell you the process of investigation is not as costly as it has been in inquiries that have constantly been conducted and (their reports) tabled (in Parliament),” he said.
“I want to propose that the Bill that is put forward for the establishment of ICAC must be fast-tracked. That organisation can then coordinate such investigations, drawing from the existing resources like the Public Prosecutors Office, Police, Internal Revenue Commission, Customs and others to conduct investigations in a thorough manner,” said Mr Juffa.
Governor Juffa said this would save the people substantial amount of money and these inquiries would produce results in having people responsible brought before the courts, prosecuted and penalised accordingly.
He said from those investigations, recommendations would come out as to how to improve laws to protect the people from further exploitations.
Meanwhile, Kundiawa Gembogl MP, Tobias Kulang, stressed the need to protect the land and the environment for future generations.
“Land is our security. It is our hope for the future. When the extractive industries have exhausted the mineral, petroleum and the gas wealth on our land, what we will be left with is the land,” Mr Kulang said.
“The point is straight forward- our land is not for sale,” he said.
“Papa God lo ting ting blo em taim blo wokim graun em pinis, em nonap wokim wanpla mo graun, mi tokim yu. You can pray and fast, but Papa God nonap wokim wanpla mo graun. (God has created land and he will not create more land. You can pray and fast but God will not create any more land).
“Please do not sell your land and your children’s future,” Mr Kulang pleaded.
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.
By Donald Gumbis in The Interpreter
Donald Gumbis is a Lecturer in political science at the University of Goroka and an intern at the Lowy Institute.
Papua New Guinea’s Defence Minister Dr Fabian Pok has announced that PNG plans to build up its military capacity from around 2000 personnel to 10,000.
While it is hardly unusual for fast-growing resource-rich countries to increase military spending as their national ambitions expand, Papua New Guinea has yet to address very significant development challenges in basic health and education. Increased spending on the military in such circumstances must therefore be questioned.
Why does Papua New Guinea need a larger military capacity? One factor in the Government’s consideration could be the land border with Indonesia. The border skirmishes between the traditional people of PNG’s Sandaun Province and Indonesian military spotlight the PNG Government’s inattention to border issues. These issues pose a test for the Treaty of Mutual Respect, Friendship and Cooperation PNG has with Indonesia.
In a Radio Australia interview, former PNGDF Commander General Jerry Singirok noted key issues of concern with the announcement. He said there was no PNGDF White Paper to guide this proposed expansion, the PNG Government has never prioritised defence spending and there would be a substantial cost involved in rebuilding a downsized force.
The ongoing retrenchment exercise of close to 2000 personnel, which began in 1999, is a difficult issue that the Defence Department is still not adequately addressing. Further to that, there are challenges for the PNGDF to raise its performance level and the security of its weaponry. The recent mutiny case, insubordination and misconduct of soldiers all undermine the ministerial statement.
Policy announcements have tended to be more frequent than policy implementation in Papua New Guinea. But if this announcement reflects a serious intention by the PNG Government, it warrants more discussion.
From Pacific Scoop via Reporters Sans Frontières & Pacific Media Watch
Threats to the media in the South Pacific should not be taken lightly in two Melanesian countries, says the Paris-based global press freedom advocacy group Reporters Sans Frontières.
Papua New Guinea has dropped six places to 41st in the latest RSF World Press Freedom Index with the security forces being “regularly involved in attacks on journalists”.
In Fiji, in spite of a 10-place rise to 107th – explained in part by the decline of other countries in this section of the index, news organisations are threatened under the Media Industry Development Decree with exorbitant fines, or even imprisonment, as in the case of a recently convicted editor of The Fiji Times.
Elsewhere in the South Pacific did not rate a mention in the report, which highlighted the “Burmese spring” in the Asia-Pacific region.
But among other Pacific Islands Forum countries, New Zealand rose five places to eighth and Australia climbed four places to 26th.