Home > Corruption > Yama and Gelu conspired to steal K15.5 million from the people of PNG

Yama and Gelu conspired to steal K15.5 million from the people of PNG

Controversial businessman and former politician, Peter Yama, conspired with then Solicitor General, Zacchary Gelu, to steal K15.5 million from the people of PNG, according to the report of the Department of Finance Commission of Inquiry.

Both Yama and Gelu, together with State lawyers, Neville Devete and Lais Kandi have been recommended for prosecution by the police for their roles in the scam which involved an unlawful claim against the State which the lawyers failed to defend.

Peter Yama’s claim was based on his contention that for 9 years from 1990 he was prevented access to a piece of State land that he had leased for 99 years in 1988. Yama filed his claim through Poro lawyers in August 2002, demanding K38 million in damages.

The Commission of Inquiry found that Yama’s claim was entirely fraudulent in that:

  • he failed to comply with a mandatory procedural requirement,
  • filed his claim many years too late,
  • had no cause of action,
  • filed the claim in respect of a piece of land that DID NOT exist
  • did NOT have a lease over the land named in his claim,
  • filed the claim despite OWING the State K60,000 in rent arrears, and
  • NEVER served his claim on the Department of Lands.

Despite these numerous legal flaws, Attorney General Zacchary Gelu executed a Deed of Settlement in November 2002, granting Yama K15.5 million from the public purse.

The Commission of Inquiry reports details the many “serious failures” of Zacchary Gelu in the performance of his duties and the “ample evidence” of his culpability in authorizing the payment of K15.5 million which was “baseless and patently flawed”.

Police are currently prevented from investigating Yama and the lawyers because of a court injunction obtained by Paul Paraka and Zacchary Gelu challenging the legitimacy of the Commission of Inquiry.

The Commission of Inquiry was headed by Justice Sheehan with Justice Davani and Don Manua.

Although appointed in August 2006, the Commission faced numerous legal challenges from parties under investigation and interruptions to its funding so that in the three years from 2006 it was only able to operate for a total of 12 months and its final report, published in October 2009, only contains the findings from 45 full investigations with 212 more still outstanding.

The Commission Report relating to Yama and Gelu can be downloaded here:

Yama and Gelu

  1. herbs
    June 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    build a special fenced jail with a pond all around filled with crocodiles and put these thief in it for life. (do not feed the crocs) Fed up

  2. Sean
    July 31, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Wouldn’t one agree that the settlement of 15.5mil executed by mr Gelu was reasonable compared to the original claim by mr Yama for 38mil. That saved the state of PNG 22.5mil. I commend mr Gelu for that.

  3. Sean
    July 31, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Further to that i hold that the accusations are baseless and defamotory. They remain innocent till proven otherwise. Who in his right state of mind wud execute a claim without investigating and authenticating it first? Mr gelu is d best lawyer in PNG.

  4. redrockflag
    July 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    @sean, either you know something we don’t….but why pay when


    he (yama) failed to comply with a mandatory procedural requirement,
    filed his claim many years too late,
    had no cause of action,
    filed the claim in respect of a piece of land that DID NOT exist
    did NOT have a lease over the land named in his claim,
    filed the claim despite OWING the State K60,000 in rent arrears, and
    NEVER served his claim on the Department of Lands.

    good lord, the land DOES NOT exist (point 4) so how does one lay claim
    for such???

  1. June 27, 2011 at 7:37 am
  2. May 21, 2013 at 9:15 am

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