Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Grand Thief calls for Namah’s head

Grand Thief calls for Namah’s head

Ilya Gridneff, Sean Nicholls

Former prime minister of Papua New Guinea [The Grand Thief] Michael Somare has demanded an investigation into the behaviour of the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Belden Namah, at the Star casino last year.

It was revealed yesterday that incident reports written by casino staff alleged Mr Namah sexually harassed a blackjack dealer before being thrown out for threatening staff while drunk on the morning of April 16.

But hours later, the casino readmitted Mr Namah, along with two colleagues. It is understood he had deposited $800,000 in a casino account, along with two colleagues.

Sir Michael, toppled by the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, in a political crisis last December, said Mr Namah should be banned from overseas trips and described his behaviour as ”disgraceful” [and Somare and his family would know all about that!]

”I know many in PNG are embarrassed that an elected representative, therefore a leader of government, can behave in such a shameful and disorderly manner,” Sir Michael said.

”Mr O’Neill cannot remain silent about the conduct of his deputy any more. Too many allegations are already stacking up against Mr Namah.

”The alleged amount of money held by the casino of $800,000 for Mr Namah is also alarming,” Sir Michael said.

Lawrence Stephens, the PNG chairman of the corruption regulator Transparency International, said it was always disappointing to hear of public officials misbehaving overseas.

”It looks bad. Splashing large sums of cash around at a casino is extremely frightening, especially when we are constantly told there is not enough money for schools, hospitals and roads,” he said.

”Over the years we’ve heard numerous names of PNG people behaving in a similar way with large sums of money at various Australian casinos,” Mr Stephens said.

”And it is a huge public embarrassment when senior representatives behave in such an obnoxious manner,” he said.

”I am sure the PNG people will be hugely disappointed with these reports.”

The federal Deputy Opposition Leader and spokeswoman on foreign affairs, Julie Bishop, described the allegations about events at the casino as ”serious” and urged Mr Namah to co-operate fully with any investigation into the matter.

”The allegations about Mr Namah’s behaviour … are serious, particularly the claim that large sums of money were involved,” she said.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said the allegations were matters for the inquiry under way into the Star by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

Mr Namah, a former forestry minister in Mr Somare’s government, has denied he is the person mentioned in the five incident reports dated April 16, 2011.

His lawyer, Greg Sheppard, said Mr Namah ”did not misconduct himself”.

  1. Tony Flynn
    March 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    A general comment for our leaders.
    Scarface Capone, the famous American gangster, was not convicted on any of his serious criminal activities but for tax evasion etc.
    Any of our leaders or public servants who are seen to be spending up big or buying expensive properties should receive a “please explain” from IRC. The IRC is very powerfull.
    Bank employees have suffered investigation due to having an unexplainably expensive property back at the village.
    Tony Flynn

  2. March 16, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Great thought Tony, I wonder why the IRC is very quiet. In the US and other countries,pollies and leaders always get pulled up for tax evation but not so in PNG! Have never heard of a PNG Polly being investigated for tax evation….. I’m sure there will be many who need to provide a “please explain” from IRC, a sleepy but powerful anti corruption agent!!

  3. Robert Mukoi
    March 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

    It will be the same response as always from every accused PNG leaders. Deny and deny and deny!!!

  4. melanesian
    March 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Ilya you stand corrected. It is Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare. Anything less makes you a wannabe. Dont forget PNG made you who you are. Dont spit on our faces. The Pacific has a way of bringing you around. The warm cradle of Sydney should not be taken for granted by someone like you.

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