Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > TI dismisses Commission of Inquiry findings

TI dismisses Commission of Inquiry findings

October 31, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

In an astonishing statement, Transparency International Chairman Lawrence Stephens has dismissed the findings of two Commissions of Inquiry as ‘unproven accusations’ and says they ‘are not sufficient for responsible people to treat as facts’.

Stephens remarkable comments, which he published on this blog and which are reprinted below, were made in response to questions raised over the role of Rex Paki on the Boards of the Civil Aviation Authority, Bank of PNG and PNG Sustainable Development Program.

Paki has been implicated in the findings of both the Finance Department and National provident Fund Commissions of Inquiry as well as two Public Account Committee investigations and has been labelled by the Supreme Court as “evasive and dishonest”.

But this it seems is all worthless gossip to the Transparency International chief despite the fact the Commissions of Inquiry are conducted by qualified judges, are established under Statute and make findings of fact based on a “strict adherence to principles of natural justice” and “giving all person with an interest in matters before the Commission an opportunity to be heard”.

Stephens is right to say that Rex Paki has never been found guilty on any criminal charges, but to say the findings of a Commission of Inquiry merely raise ‘questions that are of concern’ and that often the ‘accusations prove baseless‘ is very misleading and insulting to the Commissioners.

Stephens is an employee of the PNG Sustainable Development Program.

Statement by Lawrence Stephens

This discussion in relation to Rex Paki draws on some useful sources. It raises questions which are of concern to many people. Questions however are not sufficient for responsible people to treat as facts. People accused are surely entitled to be heard out before being convicted, particularly if the convicting is being done by people who do not even give their real names!
TI PNG views with concern the official and unofficial records of many people holding public office and the disappointing regularity of appointments of reputedly inappropriate individuals to important positions. We are also conscious of the times where accusations prove baseless. Our approach is generally to encourage transparent scrutiny of all public appointments.
We are a partner to government in seeking to improve the manner in which governance is practiced. We do not normally focus on unproven accusations against individuals. We do focus attention on idications that, as a result of corruption, systems are failing or not operating as they should. Often our work is conducted quietly, working with like-minded public office holders and other community organisations, to assist bring about change. Occasionally public comment appears necessary and we are not constrained by relationships with governments, companies and individuals in so responding.
Individual TI PNG directors over the years have had interests in organisations and activities which have been subject to public debate and challenges. This does present the organisation with challenges which need to be worked through. In my experience we have, as a group of concerned individuals encouraging better ethical standards in government and business, faced these challenges without being constrained by our wide network of personal associates across the community.
Lawrence Stephens

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  1. Lawrence Stephens
    October 31, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    You are wrong! Wrong! Wrong! How dare you suggest TI PNG or I have dismissed the findings of any CoI. It sounds good as a headline but you know it is far from the truth.

    So where do we put a headline which points out that PNG Exposed is involved in astonishing displays of arogant ignorance with its nameless correspondents insulting all Papua New Guineans through blatant disregard for the right of individuals named by commissions of inquirey to have their days in court?

    Come on oh nameless ones! Take some deep breaths and ask yourselves if you are really prepared to publicly defend the rights of Papua New Guineans and if it is really necessary for you to throw stones from the shelter of annoninimity. Much as you might like to claim the oppositie there is nothing astonishing in any loyal Papua New Guinean seeing the difference between accusations and convictions. Shame on you, whoever you are.

    Let’s go through this once more. Cmmissions of Inquirey look into the issues which give rise to their being convened. They are not courts. Their findings generally raise quetsions as to the behaviour of individuals and groups of individuals whose activities have caused concen. Often there are recommendations made to government and law enforcement agencies that these people be subjected to invesigation and possible prosecution. Until this happens all we have are indications that the CoI saw evidence of possible wrong doing.

    Oh nameless one(s) whoever you are. Your efforts to expose wrong and help us do better are greatly appreciated. We thank you for thiese.

    There are excellent reasons for us to scrutinise appointees to many positions. There are excellent reasons also to show respect for those with whose activities we may be concerned but against whom no court of law has recorded criminal convictions,

    Please do not insult members of TI PNG by suggesting the findings of CoI have been dismissed by them. TI PNG has constantly reminded governemnts and law enforement agencies that these issues have not been addressed. And we will continue to do so.

    And please understand that TI PNG exisits to work with government to bring about lasting change in governance, Dpn’t be afraid. Come out in public and join us in our effoorts to encourage PNG to do as well as its people have a right to expect.

  2. JUDY
    November 1, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Steven Lawrance,you are wrong wrong wrong wrong !!!!! You inaction of what is so plain to all PNGs about this person Paki is so so evil..your inaction will catch up with you soon.What goes around comes around,wait and see !

    • Tipil Kyak
      November 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      For the benefit of the followers of this blog, can we have the full names and “identifiable” identities of those accusing reputable Papua New Guineans like Lawrence Stephens & Paki? Otherwise these faceless person/s making “wild accusations” should bow their heads in shame and never dare to touch the keypad when viewing this site.

      PNGexposed is doing a fine job by “highlighting” what its correspondents (whoever they are) deemed as appropriate for public’s consumption. Hence I would prefer PNGexposed to contact Stephens and provide alternatives on the other hand.

      • Kris
        November 1, 2012 at 8:25 pm

        Tipil, my research center conducted an investigation into the demolition of Paga Hill. Rex Paki appeared to be a significant player in the project between 1997-2000. In our report we noted Paki’s record; this was relevant in the context as the Public Accounts Committee had suggested in 2006 that the State Lease over Paga Hill had been acquired through “corrupt dealings”. Our comments on Paki were attacked as baseless by a writer on PNG Blog. I felt compelled to write a defense, which was picked up here.

        https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/the-evidence-on-rex-paki-a-reply-to-kusai-mahn/

        You can see my full name and institutional affiliation is clearly signposted. And there is nothing “wild” about the post I assure you, it is well documented, thoroughly researched analysis.

  3. feekay
    November 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Isn’t it quite amazing! In this one case of Rex Paki, Lawrence Stephens has become unusually defensive to his bone – defending himself in his rather convenient reasoning why he has shown an incomparable and uncompromising procrastination and diffidence to come out and come forward as the iconic defender of good governance and clean, transparent an incorrupt society. Instead he has bolted out like a wooden cannon doing and saying what he never does when he speaks out for and on behalf of TI-PNG. And that is that he has never muttered previously that he – or TIPNG – are loathe to comment on any perceived corruption or wrong-doing unless he –or TIPNG- have the full facts before him that might disprove any innocence.

    This is odd. And this is someone that holds a duty of care as well as responsibilities for the positions he is entrusted with at TIPNG and PNG Sustainable. May be there is some confusion that Lawrence thinks he is still at the Catholic Bishops Conference secretariat where “holier than though” passages used to find their way into the print media.

    HE never has the facts to prove anyone’s innocence when he appears in print, on the TV screens and is heard on the airwaves (including on Radio Australia) commenting on and criticising anybody, anything and everything that he judges as corrupt. He rarely disagrees with oversight bodies like AGs or PAC or Ombudsman Commission until now.
    If Lawrence finds himself in a tenuous situation with the goings on of Rex Paki in both his positions in TIPNG and in PNGSP then he should do the right thing – that is leave and not tarnish or taint the organisations.

  1. November 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm
  2. November 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm
  3. October 4, 2013 at 10:58 am
  4. October 5, 2013 at 6:04 am

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