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Archive for February, 2011

Morauta: Amet is Somare’s puppet

February 25, 2011 1 comment

THE removal of acting Public Prosecutor Jim Wala Tamate has the fingerprints of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare all over it, opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta said yesterday.

“(Attorney-General and Justice Minister) Sir Arnold Amet’s explanation that the decision to sack Tamate was made by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, based on the incompetence of Tamate, is an insult to the intelligence of Papua New Guineans.

“That explanation is designed to camouflage the real reason from the public,” Sir Mekere said in a statement.
He said the public perception was that Tamate was sacked because he had the guts to refer Sir Michael to the chief justice with a request to establish a leadership tribunal.

“That is the reason for his sacking, pure and simple,” the opposition leader said.

He said many people were surprised by a series of advice that the attorney-general had given to the government so far.

“First, it was apparently Sir Arnold who advised the prime minister on the so-called re-election of Sir Paulias Matane as governor-general without following the process set out under the constitution.

“How could the prime minister forget this when he participated in the election of every single governor-general since independence?

“When that decision was challenged in the Supreme Court by an aggrieved party, it was Sir Arnold, again, who advised the prime minister and government that the court had no power to direct parliament to be recalled or to interfere with the business of parliament.

“The attorney-general, for some reason, forgot to advise the prime minister that the court was interpreting the law.”
Sir Mekere said the court was empowered by the constitution to carry out that role.

“The attorney-general appeared to have conveniently forgotten this basic fact.”

Sir Mekere said many people were beginning to see the attorney-general as a puppet of the prime minister.

“He is being pushed and pulled into positions and postures predetermined by the prime minister.”

As for Tamate, Sir Mekere said the public should salute Tamate for his courageous decision to refer Sir Michael to answer alleged misconduct charges.

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People’s hero, MP Sam Basil, threatened again

February 25, 2011 28 comments

MP Sam Basil has received a number of abusive and threatening emails from an anonymous yahoo address created with the name Borit Yaken.

The emails (see below) threaten that Mr Basil’s wife will be raped and his children strangled if Mr Basil continues to speak out.

Mr Basil has been an outspoken critic of the government on corruption and governance issues and has assisted his people to take legal action against the owners of the Hidden Valley mine over the pollution of the Watut river.

Mr Basil is widely admired by ordinary people in PNG for his refusal to stay silent on issues affecting the people and for his courage in speaking out – something that most MPs seem afraid or otherwise unable to do.

In July last year the Prime Minister, Michael Somare, famously threatened to kill Mr Basil over his criticism of the governments tactics of continually adjourning Parliament to avoid a vote of no confidence.

Some of the emails received by Mr Basil

Wed, 16 February, 2011 11:45:57 AM

RE: Playing with fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From: Borit Yaken <borityaken@ymail.com>    

Add to Contacts

To: Sam Basil

YOU ARE PLAYING WITH FIRE MR BASIL………….

WE WILL RAPE YOUR TAITI WIFE AND STRANGLE YOUR CHILDREN IF YOU KEEP ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ………………..

DONT THINK THEY ARE SAFE AT 14 MILE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thu, 17 February, 2011 11:30:59 AM

From: Borit Yaken <borityaken@ymail.com>    

Add to Contacts

To: Sam Basil

YOU ARE PLAYING WITH FIRE MR BASIL………….

WE WILL RAPE YOUR TAITI WIFE AND STRANGLE YOUR CHILDREN IF YOU KEEP ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ………………..

DONT THINK THEY ARE SAFE AT 14 MILE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Arnold Amet – a spineless Somare puppet

February 21, 2011 5 comments

By Maria Winge

The government led by Somare has become stupid, irresponsible and  very predictable. In its current state the government is  uncreative  and complacent. Clever politics is, sadly,  a thing of the past.

Because of the illusion of “absolute power,” Somare and his  minions – poor Arnold included – feel no need to veil their corrupt maneuvering to stifle debate and interfere with the justice system.

As “intelligent” as he is, the once esteemed and revered former Chief Justice is now nothing more than a mere  pawn on Michael Somare’s chess table.

In December last year,  the Prime minister, tried desperately to  snuff out efforts to  by the acting public prosecutor, Jim Wala Tamate,  to establish a leadership tribunal to  look into the PM’s failure to submit financial statements. For many it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally, we thought, someone in  Papua New Guinea’s sluggish and timid  bureaucracy, had the guts to stand up and take on Somare.  But like a chess game with willing pawns, Arnold Amet, willingly accepted his new post as Attorney General while Don Polye let himself be mocked and unceremoniously  flicked by Somare from the post of deputy Prime Minister.

In perhaps the most uncreative, unintelligent move in PNG politics, Somare shows himself to be the dictator that he is by using Arnold Amet to remove the very public servant who wanted to bring him to Justice.

I quote what Sam Basil said: “… Mr. Tamate was removed for non-performance but [Arnold]  failed to outline what sort of lack of performance. Did he mismanage the office? If so, what are the examples? Did he not do his constitutional duty? What are some examples?”

“Can the former Chief Justice as a learned person justify his actions because you cannot afford to leave the people of PNG guessing?”

And this is the best part:  “Otherwise, Sir Arnold is just another puppet, executing the PM and his family’s will.”

Unless “Sir” Arnie  can come up with a satisfying explanation as to why Jim Wala Tamate was removed from office, Papua New Guinea, has made up its mind that Arnold Amet, Papua New Guinea’s Attorney General, is nothing up a spineless Somare puppet.

We want an explanation, Arnold Amet!  And don’t try to hide behind your rational explanations  of law and your dazzlingly worded  sentences. We’ve heard that all before and we’re not taking that crap anymore.

Come on Arnie, don’t you have the balls to stand up  to the old man?

Minister yet to see Deloitte reports

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

From The National

ENVIRONMENT and Conservation Minister Benny Allan has forgiven politicians who have smeared his name over financial mismanagement claims levelled against the department in two reports by international consultancy firm Deloittes.

He said the attack on him by Bulolo MP Sam Basil was irresponsible and was an attack on his reputation that was damaging.

“However, I will forgive him and tell Papua New Guinea that I have not sighted the Deloittes reports and, when I do, I will decide my next course of action,” Allan, who is Unggai-Bena MP, said last night from Goroka

The minister had been away from Port Moresby soon after parliament met this year to elect Michael Ogio as the ninth governor-general of PNG.

He said trust and financial accounts were administrative matters that were dealt with at the departmental level.

“I do not give directions on how the department spends the funds allocated by the national government and donor agencies. That is something left with the secretary and department,” Allan said.

“I cannot be compared with the secretary; ministers do not sign cheques as they are administrative matters.

“I do not compromise with any of my departmental staff or the developers, and I want the Bulolo MP to know that.

“My record speaks for itself, both, at the district and department levels,” he added.

“I have forgiven Basil and will; assure the people of PNG that I will decide on what to do after I have seen the reports by Deloittes.”

The reports from the consultancy firm painted a highly critical picture of waste, mismanagement and lack of financial accountability within the Department of Environment and Conservation.

Another DEC trust account in the spotlight

February 15, 2011 1 comment

The Environment Protection Trust Account which is administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation has been put in the spotlight days after revelations about the misuse of funds in the Biodiversity Trust Fund.

A leaked BSP bank printout shows transactions on the Environment Protection account during August and September 2010.

Over the two month period over K2.5 million was distributed from the Trust Account, including an overseas telegraphic transfer in the sum of K1,373,455.

Other sizeable withdrawals from the account include three telegraphic transfers of K191,000, K48,000 and K33,000 and a cheque payment of K411,947.

There were also six cash withdrawals, totaling K17,982 and K41,000 was paid out in cheques of K3,000, K6,000, K1,000, K7,000k, K2,000, K2,000, K4,000, K4,000, K2,500, K7,000, K1,500 and K1,000.

Strangely the registered address shown on the bank print out is NOT the postal address for DEC. DEC’s postal address is PO Box 6601, Boroko – not PO Box 1212 Waigani.

Last week a report from international consultancy firm Deloitte was revealed which says the Department of Environment and Conservation has seriously misued donor funds deposited to its Biodiversity Trust Fund and compliance with procedures is ‘at a very low level’.

Are Iamo’s days numbered at DEC?

February 14, 2011 1 comment

Wari Iamo, the embattled Secretary of the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), is not expecting to survive too much longer in his role according to DEC insiders.

These sources claim the Secretary has directed that all outstanding Environmental permits be brought to his desk to be signed off, even though his shocked staff say the proposals haven’t been examined yet.

If this is indeed the case then it raises the question of who’s calling the shots? Various investors paying rewards for prompt approvals? Or higher people in government directing Iamo to approve their favoured projects promptly?

Iamo, who is still waiting to find out if he will be forced to give evidence in the Ramu nickel mine waste dumping case which is currently being heard in Madang, is under fire over the disclosure of four reports from international consultancy firm Deloitte that are highly critical of financial mismanagement in DEC and the misuse of donor funds.

MP Basil reject AG comments on PM

February 13, 2011 Leave a comment
MP Sam Basil

The statement by the Attorney General that the public should not demand swift decision making from the Chief Justice as to the appointment of a leadership tribunal is as offensive as it is clearly wrong.

The Chief Justice, like the Attorney General, are public servants and should be answerable and accountable to the people of Papua New Guinea at all times.

Serious allegations have been made against the most senior public servant in Papua New Guinea, the Prime Minister. These allegations remain unanswered 3 years later. This is bringing the integrity of the office of Prime Minister into question and it is in the interests of the country as a whole that these allegations are resolved quickly, one way or another.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

The Public Prosecutor was satisfied that the Prime Minister was guilty of misconduct in office, which resulted in his referral of the matter to the Chief Justice for the appointment of a Leadership Tribunal pursuant to Section 27(2) of the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership.

When a Tribunal is to be appointed to inquire in the case of alleged misconduct in office by the Prime Minister – a special provision applies as to the make-up of the Tribunal – which is Section 27(7)(d) of the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership, which provides that the Chief Justice must appoint a Tribunal consisting of a Chairman and two other members, all of whom must be:-

(i) Judges or former Judges of the National Court; or

(ii) Former Judges of the pre-Independence Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea; or

(iii) Judges or former Judges of an equivalent court of a country that has a legal system similar to that of Papua New Guinea;

The Chief Justice does not have a discretion as to whether or not he should appoint a Tribunal under the Organic Law, once the matter is referred to him by the Public Prosecutor, he MUST appoint a Tribunal.

This performance of this duty cannot be delayed. It is not a difficult or time consuming task as there is only a limited pool of persons from which the Chief Justice may appoint the Tribunal.

It is in the interests of justice that this task is performed as quickly as possible so that these allegations may be resolved so that the integrity of the office of Prime Minister is not further destroyed.

It is therefore entirely appropriate that the people demand that the Tribunal be appointed within a reasonable time and that means as soon as possible in these circumstances. For the Attorney General to suggest that the people have no rights to demand quick action, it is not only in breach of the basic principles of democracy but he is clearly playing politics and trying to delay the determination of the allegations of misconduct against the Prime Minister, which all of PNG has been waiting for.

We should also remind ourselves that the Attorney General & the Governor of Madang Sir Arnold Amet is also a member of the National Alliance Party from which the Prime Minister is a leader of and delivering such statements can only bring the integrity of his office into question.

There should be a law in the future to make the office of the Attorney General be occupied by public servants only and not politicians as such. It would be also proper for future Chief Justices not to enter politics because the respect they carry from this high profile office can be easily tainted when they start playing petty politics

SAM BASIL MP
BULOLO OPEN ELECTORATE

In response to –

Amet: CJ should not be put under pressure
By JOSHUA ARLO – Post Courier
THE CHIEF JUSTICE should never be put under pressure by public demand to appoint a leadership tribunal to look into the alleged misconduct in office by the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare. “The process is consultation. That is important given the seniority and importance of the high public office of the Prime Minister,” the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Sir Arnold Amet said yesterday. The former Chief Justice, who left the bench seven years ago to pursue a political career, was speaking to Post-Courier in an exclusive interview after the launch of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s first ever newsletter. He said the decision to appoint a tribunal was the sole responsibility of the Chief Justice and he must not give in to public demand as the decision needs a lot of consideration, as well as consultation with other judges before he could appoint the tribunal. An appointment for the tribunal is pending because the Public Prosecutor made the request on the eve of court vacation. The vacation ended last Monday when the 2011 legal year resumed. Sir Michael stepped aside from office after the request was made but recently resumed office and he is expected to step aside again when a tribunal is appointed again. Sir Arnold also raised two other issues that surrounded the issue of the appointment of a tribunal in relation to office holders which are currently being discussed. “Firstly, a misunderstanding that the Public Prosecutor requested the Chief Justice to appoint a tribunal that didn’t automatically resort to suspend the Prime Minister. And secondly, it is the decision of the tribunal as to whether the Prime Minister should be suspended from office,” he said yesterday.