Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Both O’Neill and Namah need to be held to account

Both O’Neill and Namah need to be held to account

November 21, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Joseph Kapone

I am making my comment now as a concerned Papua New Guinean who is watching helplessly as our two top leaders in the likes of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Opposition Leader Belden Namah sling it out in the media, over the social network and in parliament. Hope it does not get out into the streets of Port Moresby.

PNG is being dragged through the mud the more they continue their fight. The drop in the kina can to an extent be linked to this fight between our two leaders.

Rumours, speculations, guessumptions, expectations, wishes and aspirations are also running around town, from one ear to the next, from one end of the down to the other and back again, magnified, glorified and sensationalised and perhaps exaggerated along the way.

Namah is branding O’Neill and his government a corrupt government. So what’s new? He called the Somare Government (of which O’Neill was a part of) corrupt and he toppled it. Then he became Deputy Prime Minister in O’Neill’s Government and together they became drunk with power, had orgies and enjoyed the spoils of their victory. Using their numerical they bulldozed various changes to our laws. The marraige did not last long and they fell out during the 2012 General Elections and are now on opposite sides slinging mud at each other.

Namah is banking on the Paul Paraka K71 million Fraud case to expose and dispose Prime Minister O’Neill and his government. Namah alleges that O’Neill directed the payments which are deemed illegal and in contempt of a courty order restraining the state and its agents from making any payment to Paul Paraka Lawyers. He produced a letter purportedly signed by O’Neill who has since denied the letter saying it is a forged document.

Now from what I understand, and please anyone correct me if I am wrong, former Secretary Finance Steven Gibson was arrested and charged for making the alleged illegal payment of K71 million – K30 million before the 2012 General Election and K40-plus million in October 2012. Again, correct me if I am wrong, but Gibson acted upon instructions from his political masters. Why hasn’t O’Neill, Minister for Treasury Don Polye and Minister for Finance James Marape been arrested and charged by the sweep team as well. Polye and Marape both gave further instructions for the payout to take place. They and O’Neill are just as guilty, if not more than Gibson.

It is far-fetched and I am surprised that Prime Minister O’Neill thinks the people of Papua New Guinea are gullible enough to believe that his signature was forged. I am sure Polye and Marape being the careful and prudent leaders they are and even more so as strong Seventh Day Adventists, they would have called O’Neill to confirm the payments. I will bet my entire savings (which isn’t much anyway) that O’Neill would have said, “Yes, pay. The money will fund our elections.” I could be wrong but how else am I going to think seeing as such a huge payment was made just before the elections. The payment of the balance afterwards would have been a thank you to Paul Paraka.

This is a pretty clear cut case and the police or Task Force Sweep Team should not have any difficulty whatsoever in completing its investigations and charging everyone. O’Neill, Polye, Marape and Gibson are all involved, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly. They should be hauled before the Task Force Sweep Team and provide their statements.

However, I want to appeal to the leaders, O’Neill, and especially Polye and Marape, not only as leaders in their own rights but as church leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist faith to come forward and tell the truth.

And for Chairman Sam Koim, if you let this one go then you are a puppet and a spineless, gutless, unethical, dishonest, corrupt and loud-mouthed Papua New Guinean. You are just as corrupt and guilty as those people who swindled millions from the state purse because you and your team have costed us taxpayers millions of kina but have not made one successful prosecution. So my challenge to you is…do you job and do it honestly without fear or favour. You owe this much to your country.

Now both Namah and O’Neill have been calling each other names. Namah has called O’Neill a pathological/serial liar when O’Neill allegedly lied about having signed the letter. Recently in parliament O’Neill denied that a certain PNG Defence Force Lt Colonel Benny was not a relative. Word on the streets is that O’Neill and Benny are maternal first cousins. So if O’Neill has lied about these two things what else has he lied to Papua New Guinea about?

O’Neill on the other hand called Namah a mentally disturbed person. Pretty low for a prime minister when Mr Namah was putting forward issues which needed answers from him. Then lately O’Neill or his hench-men allegedly released information to the media which linked Namah to the sale of the land next to the Jack Pidik park. Copies of Namah’s letter was circulated to the internet (a copy is attached). From a layman’s view that letter does not prove any impropriety on Namah’s part. It simply demonstrates a leader’s intervention in ending what has been a long-standing dispute. As a leader he made a bold and decisive decision. I don’t support Namah but am basically making my opinion based on the letter before me. Please let me know what your views are on this.

On the part of Lt Col Benny what I am reading between the line (and I could be wrong) is that Namah considers Lt Col Benny to be a threat. Is Lt Col Benny siding up with O’Neill? We all know that Namah has a strong support base both within the police and PNGDF. The potential is there for trouble so this has to be handled quickly and sensitively.

Finally, in conclusion, let me remind O’Neill and Namah that you both will have to be made to answer for your actions during the impasse. It is my fervent hope that in the not too distant future when the political leadership changes both of you will be held responsible for your actions. I have not forgotten and I hope PNG has not forgotten how you used your political numbers to treat the judiciary and the National Constitution with so much contempt. Your days are numbered. You cannot hide. You cannot run.

  1. Ricky
    November 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Good balanced article Joseph. The ball is in the court of our PM and ministers to tell the truth or step aside. The world is watching and listening and so is the church and the people…

  2. Naik Mend
    November 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Well expressed. Interesting read feed

  3. Samuel K
    November 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    You hope this fight doesn’t spill over into the streets of Moresby? That’s the whole problem mate and that’s why nothing ever changes. The americans had their revolution and so did heaps of other countries. PNG is long overdue for a revolution. I pray that your wish is not answered and that this turns into a revolution which ends with the public hanging of each and every public official accused of corruption. Of course there will be a few mistakes but we’re past the time of being nice. These thieves have to be shown the fear of God and they listen to nothing but violence.

  4. R Kaupa
    November 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    May God help Koim and the task force sweep team. The so called SDA ministers Marape/Polye need to come clean for their own self respect… the silence from this two since the release of their singature details many weeks ago has been defeaning..

  5. K Guma
    November 25, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Examine the signatures on those letters to authenticate that they (signatures) were by the hand of O’Neill, Polye and Marape. Why can’t Namah’s complaint containing the letters go past the Task Force Sweep to a competent investigative authority like the RPNGC Forensic Scientific Services for expert analysis? The Sweep Team must engage the Forensic document/handwriting experts to examine the signatures. This will put to rest doubts in every concerned mind. If they fail to use this avenue, we will say they are incompentent and have something to hide. Just allow transparency and open mindedness to prevail.

  6. Joseph Kapone
    November 28, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Ricky, thanks.

    Naik Mendi, glad you appreciated my comments.

    Samuel K, I know we are “fighting” for the same cause, but brother, believe me violence will never achieve anything. Do you know the death, destruction and suffering the people of the United States of America went through during and after the Civil War? America is a huge country and had all the resources to rebuild itself. So its no comparison really. If fight broke out on the streets of Port Moresby, there will be death and destruction everywhere. Shops will close down. Ships will stop coming to PNG. Expatriates and the kina will fly out of the country and our people will literally die of hunger and starvation. We all live daily a hand to mouth experience. In the towns and cities we all depend on store goods. Even in villages across PNG people don’t build gardens liken they use to. Do you have food to last you and your family a week or a month? I don’t and whilst I want change I want it to be done peacefully, legally and through the established democratic process. Violence begat violence…and there will be no turning back once we go down that road. So exercise restraint and let’s put some more thought into the process and what we need to do. You see, at the end of the day, we have no-one to blame but ourselves because we voted these leaders into office in the first place.

    R. Kaupa, the ball is now in Sam Koim and the Task Force Sweep Team. Either it produces results and justify the money spent or it does nothing and eventually itself be “swept” under the carpet.

    K Guma, you are missing the point here. Authenticating the signatures on the letter won’t really solve anything. If it was a simple case of forgery then this process will assist. The fact of the matter is that these letters started a process which took up to six months for payments to be made. If it was fraudulent it would have been found out long ago somewhere along the line. Treasury Minister Don Polye would have contacted Prime Minister Peter O’Neill (I would have if I was the minister) and O’Neill would have confirmed his directive. It is too huge an amount for Polye to simply process without seeking some confirmation with the Prime Minister. I think there is no doubt in our minds that the letter is from O’Neill. And that is where the Seventh Day Adventist pair, Polye and Finance Minister James Marape will have to come out and tell the truth. Either Sam Koim calls them up for their statements or they should voluntarily give their statement to police or the Sweep Team.

    • C Koa
      January 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Joseph Kapone, I think K Guma has not missed the point. His view that those signatures should be scientifically examined and proven is correct and has value. These are politicians we want to hold accountable for their actions in these matters. Just prosecuting a person by merely using a copy of an original letter will not convince the court at all. The copy could be the third, fourth, fifth or sixth copy of the original letter. The standard of proof in any criminal matter is that the evidence must be overwhelming and that is “proven beyond reasonable doubt”. Thats the important phrase used by criminal investigators. Examination of an original signature on the letter is the best option. Lawyers will laugh about the quality of evidence in the files because they know their client will get off the hook so easily.
      Just arresting and charging someone using copies of a document is substandard. We want high quality investigations and not just investigations to please everyone. Lets be realistic about true investigations that will yield positive outcomes for all of us. The consequences of substandard investigations will result in the State loosing its case and you know what? These politicians will sue the State for millions of kina – they will be paid millions and more than the K71 million they alleged directed Gibson and Yafai to be paid to Paul Paraka.
      Its long overdue where our criminal investigators start using scientific investigative resources in their enquires because these investigative technologies are used globally and their success rate is very high. In courts more convictions are secured using these scientific tools.
      No matter how long ago the case may have been, this form of scientific invesigation undoubtedly contributes more positively to the success of the case than using a copy in court.

      We are all sick of corruption – especially corruption that involves money. To defeat this evil, we must use all avenues available to us so that the best (positive) outcome (conviction) is achieved if the case goes to court.

      See the front page headlines and stories in the Post Courier dated Tuesday 7 January 2014 about warrants of arrest issued for ONeill, Polye and Marape? They to be arrested for their involvement because of the very letter we are debating on. The problem is these are based on the copies of that letter. There are two factions of police investigators dealing with this case. One from the TaskForce Sweep and the other consisting of Fraud Squad detectives colluding with Namah. The Namah faction is running to the Police Forensic Services to examine the copies of the letter in question. The Taskforce Sweep investigators are trying their very best to locate the original letter to then get the document examiner to examine the signature.

      So K Guma seems to be very correct in his comment. I also suggest that the forensic document examiners examine the letter(s) – copy or original to confirm or prove otherwise the genuineness of the signature of ONeill.

  7. November 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I read your article with interest. Supriseingly your article rings a similar to the Western Province K36,000,000.00 payout after election to a company. Im prety sure you are capable of finding more to this particular case and expose it…

  8. January 16, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Good comment and analysis. The senior ministers (Somare, Chan, Winti ) have to rise up now. This country is been kicked around like football by this two unpredictable gentlemen.

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