Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Yama and Gelu conspired to steal K15.5m from the people of PNG

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

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

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. kaia joseph
    November 24, 2011 at 10:21 am

    is anyone doing anything to lift the order?

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