Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > PNG corruption taskforce claims to have uncovered massive fraud

PNG corruption taskforce claims to have uncovered massive fraud

October 25, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

In Papua New Guinea, investigators say they’ve uncovered a racket involving lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians colluding to defraud the state of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Source: ABC Radio Australia

The claim comes after the principal of one of PNG’s biggest law firms was arrested over allegations he was paid by the Finance Department after submitting fraudulent legal bills.

Presenter: PNG correspondent Liam Fox

He’s the principal of Paul Paraka Lawyers, a law firm with 20 offices around the country and more than a thousand employees.

On Wednesday officers from the multi-agency corruption investigation Taskforce Sweep arrested him in a small village two hours drive from Port Moresby.

Mr Paraka was charged with 18 offences including conspiracy to defraud, stealing by false pretence and money laundering.

Taskforce Sweep alleges his law firm was paid around 30-million dollars by the Department of Finance last year after submitting fraudulent bills for legal work performed for the state.

It says the bills submitted by Paul Paraka Lawyers were for cases that were not briefed out to the firm and others that simply don’t exist.

During an address to his staff Mr Paraka said the charges are politically motivated and he’s innocent.

But Taskforce Sweep says it’s only getting started.

Its chairman Sam Koim alleges Paul Paraka Lawyers has been paid more than 100-million dollars by the Department of Finance since 2007.

In a statement Mr Koim says his investigators have uncovered a racket of lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, court officials, financial institutions and media organisations all colluding to pillage public coffers.

He says many heads will roll as more suspects are identified.

The Finance Minister James Marape says the Taskforce’s investigation has shown how large sums of public money can be paid out without the Minister’s approval.

But it’s one thing to arrest someone and lay charges, another to convict him.

The wheels of justice turn pretty slowly in Papua New Guinea and it’ll be some time before Paul Paraka stands trial.

  1. JUDY
    October 26, 2013 at 12:39 am

    He is on a slippery slide and his days and those who are involved with him one way or another find their day in court.It is catching up with them,they are unable to sleep day or night,they are being haunted by their evil acts.

  2. Kanex Kanarepa
    October 26, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Thankyou very much Sam and the team! Please keep the wheel turning and get the rats and scumbergs on their heels. There is tear drops from all corners of this nation on what you are doing and uncovering. May the Lord GOD almighty bless you and the team!!

  3. Jeff K
    October 27, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Thank you brother Sam and team for the work you are doing. just remember that you are not doing for the PM or whoever, you are doing it for the simple grassroots and mother, child, son or daughter in the most remotest corner of this country who has not been getting any service at all because their money got stolen along the way before it could reach them and save their lives as well as those of the loved who have passed on. May God bless and protect your family and team members as you carry out your task.

  4. Harry Yu
    October 29, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Could you believe! Everyone thought PP lawyers was a successfull lawfirm! But it seems the lawfirm has been parasiting on money belonging to the common people. What a shameful disgusting way of conducting business!!!!!! If PP is not guilty then why getting a court injunction to stop being investigated. Send PP to the Gallows.

    • Jeff K
      October 31, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      What a joke that the most successful law firm was after all a scam skill fully engineered to habitually and blatantly steal from the public purse.
      I hope all the other smaller fish [senior and junior beauraucrats in high offices] who took part in these scams will also be brought down together with their big fish.
      One wonders why it has to be learnered lawyers that seem to be bringing this country down to its knees? Are they being taught about ethics, morality , values, integrity etc in their law schools? or maybe these are just selfish, self centered, morally and ethically decayed individuals who have partnered with the devil in their pride and lust for more money, that they couldn’t care less how they got their money..

  5. Joseph Kapone
    October 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Paul Paraka has certainly captured the attention of everyone both within PNG and abroad. He is just the tip of the iceberg. He most certainly did not achieve what he did on his own. It is alleged that he was willingly and ably assisted by people in the public service, the government and even in the private (banking) sector. As the noose tightens around his neck I am sure he will take as many as he can with him for not coming to his rescue. We have some worried people around and we might have a number of fatal heart attack cases in the not too distant future. Paul Paraka says that his arrest is politically motivated. I for one do not see how this could be so. Can anyone shed some light on this? Thank you.

    • George (*observer)
      November 3, 2013 at 6:30 am

      Joseph, that is not what happens what you say (that one culprit takes as many with him as possible). What happens is that all the corrupt mafia members suddenly realise that if one falls, they all fall. They quickly close ranks. After all it is doubtful the government will even bother trying to recover all the stolen money and Paraka stole enough that it may even be worth spending a couple years in jail as long as the money is still there (with interest earned) when he gets out. As for whether Paraka’s arrest is politically motivated, go find the PNG Department of Finance inquiry on the internet (use Google) and read it. The evidence is clear.

  6. Nothing But Da Truth
    November 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Look at all of you! Nothing but idle chatter expecting someone else to do all the reporting, someone else to do all the prosecuting, and someone else to do all the reform. What about all of US? Why did the people themselves in the Arab spring revolutions do all the work and make all the sacrifice while here in PNG we all sit at our computers and cluck our tongues and shake our heads? Why is there no revolution in PNG? You fools don’t realise that Sam Koim’s hard work will be totally undone when court cases get delayed endlessly, evidence mysteriously gets lost and judges suddenly and inexplainably say case dismissed. All that will happen because the so called educated elite of this country do nothing but moan and groan just like all the comments on this website. Until there is serious threat of revolution our lawmakers wont become frightened enough to stop their monkey biz.

    • Annie
      November 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      This is the problem with us PNG peoples we can’t look past our noses.

  7. November 3, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Before we “point the bone” at anybody in particular, how many politicians on both sides of the fence are truly “clean” of corruption? Is greed inbred into the PNG culture? Does the wantok system influence and/or encourage corruption? Does power corrupt?
    Who has the balls, power and authority invested to address this issue from the top down?

  8. Jeff K
    November 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    A public revolution in PNG will not be forthcoming for a while yet because of this Wantokism and tribalism. Unless we start thinking as PNG nationalistic patriots, we will continue to harbour and protect criminals in our communities. This tribalism attitude needs to change first.

  9. ET
    November 6, 2013 at 5:32 am

    very interesting,, we’ll see how this whole saga ends..

  10. Vaclav Havel
    May 10, 2015 at 2:10 am

    Like a giant vampire squid, the cadre of entrenched special interests represented by Paul Paraka and his network of cronies within and outside government have wrapped their tentacles around the people of this country, relentlessly siphoning off anything that looks like money. Chop those greasy, barnacled arms off, Sam! You’re among our last lines of defense in freeing this nation from the pernicious grip in which these thieves are holding it.

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