Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > PM O’Neill and his new Ports boss have a sordid past

PM O’Neill and his new Ports boss have a sordid past

Corruption is a word writ large over the relationship between PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his newly appointed Chairman of PNG Ports, Nathaniel Poya ( or Polya).

Poya took up his new role in February this year despite a history of corruption, failed businesses, debts and conflicts of interest.

O’Neill and Poya’s role in the NPF scandal

O’Neill and Poya first came to attention in the investigation into the huge National Provident Fund corruption scandal.

The Commission of Inquiry, headed by retired Justice Tos Barnett,  revealed O’Neill and Poya jointly owned a company named Mecca (No.36) which received large illegal payments from the National Provident Fund.

At that time Poya was both a trustee of NPF and a director and shareholder of Mecca.

The Commission found that on 17 May 1999, K100,000 derived from the NPF Tower fraud was deposited into the account of Mecca (no.36) and “that such money was not earned”.

The Commission of Inquiry recommended both O’Neill and Poya be referred to the Ombudsman Commission for potential breach of the Leadership Code:

(e) MR Poiya and Mr O’Neill benefited from the payment to Mecca;
(f) THE benefit received by trustee Poiya was improper and the commission recommends that he be referred to the Ombudsman to consider whether there had been a breach of the Leadership Code by Mr Poiya; and
(g) The benefit received by Mr O’Neill was improper and at the time he was subject to the Leadership Code, being executive director of Finance Pacific.

In addition the Commission of Inquiry found O’Neill also benefited from and ordered many other corrupt payments involving NPF Tower fraud proceeds. A further K50,000 from the NPF fraud was paid to O’Neill’s former wife, Cheryl Caley

The Commission also stated:

Mr O’Neill’s explanations were unacceptable, internally inconsistent and contrary to clearly documented factual evidence

Poya not a fit and proper person to head PNG Ports

Nathaniel Poya is also not a fit and proper person to head any public corporation or government department because of some of his other business dealings.

Poya was a shareholder and director in Voco Point Trading Ltd when it went into liquidation in 2004 owing K3.9 million to 89 creditors including Bank of South Pacific.

In a subsequent legal case, National Court judge Justice Gabi was highly critical of the company’s failure to pay taxes or file tax returns for a number of years, conduct the judge described as “contrary to corporate morality or public interest”. [OS 291 of 2007, Poya -v- Paki at para 15]

Conflicts of Interest

O’Neill is also wrong to appoint Poya to Chair PNG Ports, as Poya is alleged to have a clear conflict of interest.

Mr Poya it is claimed has his own stevedoring business, PNG National Stevedoring. In this role Poya previously took the Minister for Transport to court for not awarding his company lucrative ports contracts; a court case that Poya subsequently lost.

O’Neill himself is also in a conflict of interest situation in this matter as Mr Poya, according to MP Sam Basil, is also a relative of the Prime Minister. [Post Courier 10 May 2013]

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  1. Gauss
    May 20, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    So what can PNG do. PO seem be above the law and no body dare touch him.

    • jason stuart
      May 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm

      Can you please reply to the comment that Oneal is a Queensland so look at his interests in pay offs.To me they are very simple & money grabbing!!! i am from Melbourne where real Business is owned & done not Sydney!The law of the land is a pay of the way forward is the majority the people your country is the richest on the Planet & the Western world Knows it so don’t be raped for another leader
      &another term!!!!!!

      • Waina Poya
        June 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        You are an Australian and you comment on this why? YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW THE PAST OF THESE MEN AND YET YOU ARE JUDGING WHEN YOU HAD ONLY READ WHAT IS OR MIGHT BE FALSE. SHAME ON YOU.

  2. May 21, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Peter O’Neill and Nathaniel Poya should be refered to the Task Force Sweep and Ombudsman Commission for investigations to prove that this post is real. The opposition should ask this questions during question time on the floor of Parliament to obtain the truth from the horse’s mouth.
    Many PNGians feel comfortable that O’Neill is the right man for the PM’s job but lets not get too comfotable and allow things like this fall under the carpet. If this claims are true, let the law of this land deal with them equally as any other offender.

  3. Waina Poya
    June 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Get your facts straight people.. These are all false!! I feel sorry for the person who posted this. BRING IT ON!

  4. Al Miri
    July 7, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    KILL EM..ALONG WITH WAINA POYA. STUPID F*#K..

  1. May 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm
  2. May 23, 2013 at 10:02 am

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