Archive

Archive for September, 2013

Fears corruption behind O’Neill’s lack of action on SABL land grab

September 30, 2013 3 comments

ACT NOW!

AN BRG Media Release 30 Sept 2013

O’Neill Government Places National Security at Risk with Huawei Technology Contract

September 20, 2013 11 comments

The United States and Australia blocked Chinese multinational Huawei Technology over espionage concerns, the O’Neill government plans to give them access to its most secure communications systems.

Last Friday EMTV reported:

“The Integrated Government Information System project will see computerized and integrated information and data sharing mechanism for government departments and agencies using latest Information Technology … Huawei Technology is the project developer, working to connect the 52 government departments throughout the country, to enable efficient communication network”.

What EMTV neglected to mention are the serious concerns that have been raised over Huawei Technology’s links with the Chinese military.

According to the New York Times:

“Huawei has struggled to break into the United States market, largely because of the security concerns and accusations of intellectual property theft and corporate espionage The company has repeatedly been linked to the People’s Liberation Army of China. And over the last decade, Huawei has been sued in the United States by two of its major competitors … over accusations that it stole software designed and infringed on patents.”

So concerned was the Australian government that Huawei Technology was allegedly banned from tendering for National Broadband Network contracts.

A spokesperson for the Australian Attorney General told the Wall Street Journal:

“The National Broadband Network is the largest nation-building project in Australian history, and it will become the backbone of Australia’s information infrastructure. As such, and as a strategic and significant government investment, we have a responsibility to do our utmost to protect its integrity and that of the information carried on it”.

So the US and Australian governments block Huawei Technology from accessing their infrastructure over serious security and espionage concerns, but the O’Neill government is happy to give the company access to its most sensitive communications systems.

Perhaps they don’t have a choice; after all O’Neill has signed a series of concessional loans with the Chinese government which bind it to certain Chinese companies.

Either way, the national security appears to be at stake.

World Bank makes move to secure foreign access to PNG resources

September 19, 2013 4 comments

Not hard to see the game that is being played here – and surely not even Polye really believes it is his management of the PNG economy as Treasurer that qualifies him the job…

PNG’s Polye selected as chairman of World Bank and IMF

Radio New Zealand

Papua New Guinea’s Treasurer says his selection as next chairman of the board of governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will enhance PNG’s increasing role as a major player in the Asia/Pacific region

Don Polye was selected to be the chairman in 2014 by fellow governors, who are usually finance ministers of member countries.

He told Johnny Blades he was humbled and honoured at being chosen.

DON POLYE: Not only for myself, but I was thinking it was an honour and recognition they’re giving to the Asia Pacific region, and in particular Papua New Guinea as a developing economy. And it was a honour for the country and the people of Papua New Guinea.

JOHNNY BLADES: Yes. How does it work? Do they just select you out of the blue or do you make it known that you’re up for the position?

DP: There would be some level of lobbying involved. In my case, I was asked by the Executive Board of the IMF in Washington if I personally wanted to take up the position of chairman on behalf of Papua New Guinea. And I felt there would be even better people than myself to take over the post, because, firstly, I’m a civil engineer, and I’ve got a Masters in Business Administration, but I’m not really an economist, [which] is relevant to the position. However, despite the adversity that I expressed to them, they said we’ll not let you rule out the secretariat of the board and a technical team got assigned with the chairmanship, and also they probably had observed Papua New Guinea performing under my leadership as the treasurer over these last few years and they gave me that vote of confidence.

JB: It’s also a recognition, isn’t it, of PNG’s role as a major player in the Asia Pacific region?

DP: Yes, Johnny. I think you’re right. Papua New Guinea has got to illustrate its leadership in working and rubbing shoulders with the others in the Asia Pacific region to contribute meaningfully to the development of the regional economy, but also integrating the regional economy with the global economy. How much Papua New Guinea can contribute in a little way as to how we can [Indistinct] systems, but also enable growth of the economies of the other countries and the world economy, how much individual countries can contribute to economic growth while at the same time maintaining financial systems and monetary stability. So Papua New Guinea must play some role. It also lifts the profile of Papua New Guinea’s leadership there, which is a challenge. We Papua New Guineans will have to stand up and show that we are not just a developing nation in the Asia Pacific, but one that can show leadership.

Mysterious Hong Kong Consortium appointed Economic and Development Advisor to Bougainville President

September 19, 2013 2 comments

Over the past year a range of foreign operators have been courted by leaders on Bougainville, to the anger of everyday people sick of outside exploitation. Now it’s the turn (again) of Bougainville President, John Momis, who has contracted a little known Hong Kong company to advise his government on economic and development issues.

The Seagate controversy erupted with the following post on the popular Facebook ‘Bougainville Forum’:

‘Friends, a story was posted here on the Hong Kong company, Seagate Global, who is evidently planning to build a number of bridges on Bougainville. The odd thing is, I checked out their website and the following claim appears:

“Seagate Global is the economic and Development Advisor to the President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the location of the Panguna mine, one of the largest copper and gold mines in the world, and a country rich in numerous resources”.

They also claim:

“Seagate Global entered the mining business as one of the best ways to help people. Seagate Global has access to capital and markets for mineral output. Many communities have resources, but no capital or expertise to develop them. Seagate Global acts as the bridge between the two”.

“Seagate controls over 10,000 acres of mineral-rich mines, including large deposits of: Gold, Copper, Iron ore, Chromite, Manganese”.

The company also boasts that is has close connections with the People’s Bank of China, and the China Development Bank.

The company’s Chairman use to run a US Hedge Fund.

I am not suggesting there is anything untoward here, but its the first time I have heard about Seagate playing a key role in the ABG. Seagate has very little online footprint, given it boasts to being an innovative community centred company that places a premium on environmental protection. Also despite claiming to be a large conglomerate its company officials have gmail addresses. Odd.”

John Momis meets with his Economic and Development Advisers at Seagate Global.

John Momis meets with his Economic and Development Advisers at Seagate Global.

This posting sparked a long list of outraged comments from concerned Bougainvilleans who have had enough of these backroom deals with foreigners.

One forum member commented:

‘I just went onto the comprehensive company databases at Hoovers and Bloombergs, to check on Seagate Global’s annual financial reports. Surprisingly there is none. How is that for a company that is dressing itself as a global entity?’.

Another noted:

‘I did a Nexis news searches on Seagate Global; it produced almost nothing. I then searched Seagate’s senior corporate officialdom, once again few returns. The only name that obtains any serious traction is the head of their Malaysian operations, Haider Isnaji. Someone by the same name was done for kidnapping and money laundering … we should put this Seagate episode in context; how many times over the past couple of years have we come across stories of questionable international companies, be it Invincible Resources, Beijing Aerospace Great Wall Mineral Investment or Rio Tinto, entering into agreement with leaders in Bougainville, the contents of which are never made public. ‘.

Lawrence Daveona, Michael Pariu and other Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association leaders hug officials from Beijing Aerospace Great Wall Mineral Investment Ltd after an alcohol fuelled MOU signing.

Lawrence Daveona, Michael Pariu and other Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association leaders hug officials from Beijing Aerospace Great Wall Mineral Investment Ltd after an alcohol fuelled MOU signing.

The general tenor of the 40+ comments were captured by one contributor:

‘I think Mr Momis is encouraging activity with his Chinese contacts for his own gains. Im sorry – But Its Time to Go Mr Momis – There seems to be a lot of questionable activity surrounding his name and movements. Its Time to Take Bougainville Back People! and Return a 100% Bougainvillean Person to Lead Bougainville – with a vision to restore Bougainville to a productive place for Bougainvillean Peoples Interests- not for Foreigners casting shady business deals, underhand tactics, to get a piece of the action ( white elephant), by undermining the people through lack of transparency’

People are fed up with secret business deals. Its time the ABG and landowner leaders look not to foreigners, but their own people; that is where the island’s future lies.

Time for folks in #PNG to strike the matches

September 18, 2013 3 comments

By Martyn Namorong

The Black Cat Track tragedy highlights for us Papua New Guineans, what is the prevailing norm – many of our people are being exploited. I like the term vulture capitalism because it is well reflected in the bodies of these porters.

Father Gorgio Licini of the Catholic Church asked why the Government had not flown the porters from Lae to Port Moresby to receive adequate medical assistance.

Father Licini’s question also adds to the growing public perception that the Tracking Company involved essentially failed in its duty of care towards these men who risked their lives for the tourists.

The Black Cat tract disaster isn’t about giving a bad name to middle class or posh Papua New Guineans enjoying their lives in towns and cities here and abroad. Our own politicians and corrupt elite have already given us a bad name. The tragedy is that of the little men and women forced to squabble amongst each other over the morsels thrown at them by those at the top.

A recent media report indicates that the motive of the attack may be an economic one related to the sharing of benefits of the tracking adventure. Land in Papua New Guinea is owned by complex customary arrangements and each land owning group jealously guards the benefits derived over their land. It is not unusual for fights and deaths to happen over land and the resources within. It is believed that some landowners of the track were upset over the lack of benefits.

The fantastic trickery of the modern state is that it claims to own resources on customary land and then it efficiently transfers the wealth from customary land to the hands of PNG’s predatory elite in Waigani.

The fallacy that the sympathizers of this morally bankrupt system say is that the systems will work if governance is improved. After 38 years of independence, any sane and scientifically minded person who believes in empirical evidence would call the current experiment in government a failure of epic proportions. This system of government has failed miserably to translate natural resource wealth into socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable development.

At the recent SharpTalk seminar that was poorly attended by Sharp Talk’s keyboard warriors, someone asked, “What will it take to make Papua New Guineans angry?”

Perhaps the question was posed to the wrong crowd. Of course Sharpies are too comfortable to be angry. The best they can do is diffuse their anger on Facebook.

But the folks who are struggling to eke out an existence are angry. Does anyone recall the Lae riots? Those riots were over economic opportunities? Oh and in case you Papua New Guineans still cannot believe you’re capable of this – word on the streets is that the reason the entire Chinese family at Koki were decapitated was that they were exploitative, rude and disrespectful to the local community.

Our people are angry and about time too. The next step is to light Molotov cocktails and end the exploitation before all our resources get stolen by PNG’s own predatory elite. And for this, we don’t need to train our people on how to strike the matches. I’d rather see buildings and machines burning then poor people fighting and killing each other over scraps.

Who is going to deliver us from corruption?

September 13, 2013 2 comments

pkay

Well guys. We can talk and shout and fret in such beautiful prose all we like. The thing is, if the relevant authorities do not do anything, this and similar swindles will just continue and get better, not worse. Corruption is worse than HIV and AIDS. At least with HIV-AIDS them that suffer and die from it inflict the curse upon themselves and others unknowingly in most cases. With corruption, a few culprits afflict and affect the curse, suffering and injury upon the whole population in the country, including babies and those yet to be born.

So, who do we look to for redemption and deliverance?

What’s Ombudsman Commission doing? Every indication is the Commission is dying slowly but surely from euthanasia. There is no cure for euthanasia because it is self-inflicted, a death by one’s own voluntary choice.

Is Auditor-General going to look into this? May be not because all foreign and national employees need their jobs. And anyway, they do compliance audits for the past years which is stale and almost history by the time their reports are tabled in Parliament.

And the Public Accounts Committee? The Chairman has been rather boisterous recently, otherwise it is a silent and timid fiefdom. The Chairman’s timidity only explodes in the face of helpless public servants, including females that cannot defend themselves. Every inquiry by PAC has been but a slap on the elbows of corrupt heads of departments and other public and statutory bodies. Elected leaders are hardly implicated in AG’s Reports. Em compliance audit work taxol ia.

What about the CID? I think we all know the answer to this and the Sweep Team. Allegations against some leaders are more likely to be swept under the carpet than make and build cases to prosecute the culprits in tribunals or courts.

TI-PNG. These initials stand for This Is Papua New Guinea, a country where you can get away with murder and corruption in broad daylight. Transparency International PNG chapter has gotten a bit too long in the tooth. Occasionally they come out from the crevice to say something or other almost as a perfunctory exercise.

And PNGexposed? We can talk until the cows come home. Or wait until mother duckling lays a golden egg. In the mean time the two legged human beings get more robust, better and smarter but may be not elusive. The only reason why they may be elusive is because our oversight agencies, bodies and authorities are not doing their job. Some of these bodies and authorities are mentioned above.

PNG National Parliament: the Parliament with 111 MPs we send there every five years is potentially the most portent and powerful institution and a single body of people that can best scrutinise and hold the Executive to account. But we all know that over the years the Executive has cannibalised and diminished the role of the Legislature to a rubber stamp. The Parliament has become impotent almost to the extent that it has lost it’s visibility and legitimacy. The bulk of the MPs are horded, huddled and sat on one side of the House. They are singing from the same hymn book, drinking from the same chalice and are stirring and eating from the same wok. The back-bench member is an extinct species. The Opposition is but just a voice in the wilderness no matter how loudly or how often Belden or Sam might shriek or shout.

Without serious, proper and deliberate scrutiny of the Government by Parliament the people’s voice is silenced. And the silence has been deafening not just with this Parliament but many past Parliaments as well. The Executive rules the roost. It can’t be put or seen any more clearer than this – and therein lies the problem including the beginning and any possible end of corruption.

The colour and smell of money is to a corrupt leader what the sight and smell of blood to a shark is under water. They can’t resist being attracted to it and they can never have enough of it. I guess the only differences are one is under water and the other is under the sun for all of us to see. And the shark does not cause any menace to its species whereas in our case the whole country and the people suffer.

I don’t want to talk about Peter O’Neil or the Cragnolinis or LNA. May be O’Neil is not the problem. The people that elected him and the system that gave him a landslide victory is the real problem. So too for other MPs. We must cop the blame more equally than MPs because we put them there in the first place. Something must be done to improve the flawed system which is taken advantage of or abused.

In the competive business world the Cragnolinis and LNA may not see getting contracts as corrupt but, rather, as winning a business advantage over others however unfair it might be.

If PNG was a ship it would be easy to pull up anchor and sail to calmer, more pristine, peaceful waters. Unfortunately we may be stuck for a long time for the reasons we all know well. May be there is a good Captain in waiting somewhere that will deliver us like Moses in the Bible did his people.

What is Peter O’Neill’s interest in L&A Constructions

September 12, 2013 9 comments

PNGBlogs

Prime Minister and the L&A logo

L&A Constructions are Luciano Cragnolini, Nee Cragnolini & their strange sleeping partner & bedfellow in our one and only Peter O’Neill.

The ridiculous Parliament tiles over pebbles job is nothing compared to what other stunts they have pulled and are pulling all over the place in PNG.

Luciano & Nee Cragnolini were in the right place at the right time to do Peter O’Neill special favors when he was just a senior Minister in Somare’s Cabinet. Nee Cragnolini in particular saw in Peter O’Neill what her husband couldnt see. And so she is one woman who needs to be credited with having the eye to the future in that family.

These days, when her children question what she seeing in O’Neill, even O’Neill as Prime Minister is out to protect Nee’s vision of what was, what is, and what could be.There is a strange case of one of Nee’s step sons questioning Peter ONeill’s deep commitment to the family a few months ago at Airways, you should have seen the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea flying into a drunken rage, a rage so hot that he reduced the poor young Master Cragnilini to a bloody pulp with his bare fists. How dare this young man make such accusations of dishonour that threatens to render the union asunder.

No, let nothing separate.

In the case of the Morauta House upgrade, a small job of putting a pressure hose to the bricks on the outside rendering of the walls, and a fresh coat of paint job ( say 1 week of scaffolding &4 weeks work at most) extended for over a year, costing the State not K300,000 or K3 Million, but well over K10 Million. But this job was in breach of the Public Finance Management Act and the Tenders Board laws. It was not tendered. Peter O’Neill just gave them the job.

But wait theres more, the job was extended subsequently to include inside renovations to the Morauta Haus. This was never part of the initial scope of works, nor the initial scope of costings. That part of the job was not even tendered again. It is Peter O’Neill giving jobs for his family business.

The question is does the Prime Minister has the power to break the laws of PNG? What exactly is the PM’s interest in the L&A Constructions as a company, and is this an appropriate relationship for the PM of this country to be having in terms of conflicts of interest?

Wait theres even more! Before the elections last year, L&A Constructions got another job to renovate the Pom General Hospital immediately after appointing Sir George Junior Constantinou as its Chairman. This was a Prime Ministerial directive. they rendered a bill of costs of more than K6 Million which the State payed immediately, which got pumped into the PNC Party elections, and L&A Constructions got given SIRS & LADIES all around.

Someone should ask what K6 Million job exactly did L&A do at the hospital?

They did nothing! Nil! Zero!

Was the job tendered? NEVER!

No wonder L& A is growing and everyone associated in growing

An expat guy who works for L&A Constructions was boasting at a Port Moresby Bar the other day, that he works for Peter O’Neill. Asked what he does, he says he works at L& A Brick Layers.

He spoke of O’Neill glowingly. And when they need a cheque they just ask him for the money and he pays. He said Luciano does not want to touch the money. That’s Nee’s job, and she does it so well

Well folks what can we say! There is more but I wont bore you. I let you chew of that for now. Papua New Guinea- welcome to transparency and fight against corruption

I believe this government has got it just right at the anti-corruption stakes- at least publicly