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Peter O’Neill’s illegal logging: 340 days and counting…

May 30, 2014 Leave a comment

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Was Bougainville leader Francis Ona assassinated by mercenaries?

May 29, 2014 4 comments

Dansi Oearupeu

Francis Ona and the Panguna mine pit

Francis Ona at the Panguna mine pit

Francis Ona died in May 2005. He was an inspiration to many, Francis stood up against Rio Tinto, the Australian government and PNG in order to secure a way of life free from exploitation by foreigners. Only by securing the land and environment, could Bougainville regain the harmony and balance that has been its rudder throughout the ages.

One thing that really angered those who conspired against Francis was that he evaded the PNGDF bullets. And as a result, his towering figure remained a major barrier to the recolonisation of Bougainville by Rio Tinto and its collection of political clowns.

When he died, we were TOLD it was natural, we were TOLD that it was malaria. There was no autopsy, and no more questions were asked.

Interesting at the very same time Rio Tinto suddenly reversed its position on mining on Bougainville.

In 2004 its subsidiary BCL said ‘company policy is still to ultimate divest the Bougainville assets’. An explanation was given on its website:

‘There is no indication from landowners or Bougainville leaders that mining will be welcome. It must also be assumed that mine site assets continue to deteriorate with time and therefore the cost of a restart increases. Although some assets like the port, access road and pre-stripped ore are all positives, any potential developer seeking funding to restart the project is faced with the additional issues of PNG country risk and the long period of civil disturbance originating in the violent closure of the mine’.

Then in February 2005 several months before Ona’s death, BCL’s Chairman said in his annual statement:

‘I have spoken to a number of Bougainville landowners who have expressed an interest in allowing exploration on their land. Gold is continuing to be recovered from Bougainville. Based on exploration that took place prior to the moratorium and an airborne survey carried out by the German Government in 1985, there is good prospectivity in a number of areas of Bougainville.  Although the company has stated publicly it does not rate highly its prospects of mining at Panguna that is not to say it would not consider an exploration proposal for its licence areas’.

The door was suddenly opened – and its not hard to guess who these ‘landowners’ were, the very same ‘landowners’, who Francis Ona deposed in 1987 through an election, and the very same ones who now head the illegitimate umbrella landowners association.

Then in May 2005, Francis Ona suddenly died. At the time, two mysterious visitors arrived in the mine area, they were suspected of being South Africans. This put people on edge, after all the mercenary outfit, Sandline-Executive Outcomes, who had been contracted in 1997 to blast Bougainville into the stone-age included many ex South African special forces who had previously been used to enforce brutal apartheid policies.

Sandline-Executive Outcomes also have links with Rio Tinto (RTZ) according to one newspaper report published in 1997,

‘One of RTZ’s newest partners is the “ugly Canadian” Robert Friedland. Friedland is Rio Tinto’s junior partner in the Lihir gold mine in PNG. Executive Outcomes, the apartheid-linked mercenary force that was contracted by the PNG government to invade Bougainville and reopen the Panguna mine, is largely controlled by a Friedland company, according to Roger Moody, writing in Multinational Monitor’.

Was he executed by mercenary thugs? We dont know. People on the ground say yes.

So what happened after Ona’s death. Miraculously BCL went from dis-investing in Bougainville, to heralding the reopening of the mine AND its expansion. This is what the Chairman of BCL said in February 2006.

‘In anticipation of the exploration moratorium being lifted and encouragement from both the National and Autonomous Governments the company has commissioned a report on possible exploration targets within its licence areas’.

He goes on to claim:

‘PNG, Bougainville and the company are well placed to take advantage of this upturn in the resource sector. They need to work together now to develop a strategy that is mutually beneficial. BCL will be doing what it can to ensure the opportunities are not missed’.

Perhaps this is all just coincidence, a very lucrative and fortunate one for Rio Tinto. But many on the ground believe he was killed by assassins.

And the fear of violence continues as outspoken critics of the mining company, face a barrage of death threats.

Recolonisation is rarely a bloodless affair, the question is will Rio Tinto’s proposed return be bathed again in blood, and I include in that Francis Ona’s?

O’Neill’s comments on SABLs only highlight his inaction and failings

May 28, 2014 3 comments

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was on talkback radio on Monday speaking about the SABL land grab scandal. But his comments on the unlawful leases and illegal logging only highlighted once again his failure to take any action to protect landowners, stop the crimes and deal decisively with the corruption.

Below is our commentary on what the Prime Minister had to say, as reported by Malum Nalu in The National.

SPECIAL agriculture business leases are nothing but a “scam” used by logging companies and will be outlawed immediately, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

But Prime Minister, you have known about this 11 for months – ever since you received the Commission of Inquiry reports. Why have you not yet done anything to stop it? And what about the illegal logging – will you stop that as well?

He told a radio talkback show yesterday that the logging companies and certain individuals in Government were preying on the innocent and unassuming people in rural areas.

Prime Minister who are the people in your government preying on the people? Why are you not exposing and prosecuting them? Who are the logging companies? Are you, as PM, afraid to name names? 

He responded to callers from around the country on the FM100 talkback show complaining about SABLs and the damage they were doing. O’Neill said the National Executive Council at its next meeting would outlaw SABLs. “Developers come in the guise of developing agriculture projects but get into logging. Our aim is to cancel all the SABLs in the country.”

This sounds great – but we have heard these promises before. Landowners want action not empty words.

He said several departments were responsible for issuing SABLs. “There was not one department fully responsible for SABL,” he said. “They were approved through forestry, agriculture, lands. There’s a big scam that’s going on. We all understand that now.

So Prime Minister what action is being taken against the people in the forestry, agriculture and lands departments responsible for this scam. Where is the accountability? Why are people not being identified and disciplined?

“Thousands of hectares of land are given to individuals, foreigners, displacing our people. This is a serious crime against our own people.”

A serious crime yes, but Prime Minister why are there no prosecutions; why are you allowing the guilty to get away with this? If you do nothing then you are complicit in the crimes. You are ultimately responsible for this state of affairs

O’Neill said certain leaders and public servants had given away traditional land with no sense of guilt whatsoever. “Some of our leaders have had a no-care attitude,” he said. “They’re participating in engaging with some of these foreign companies. “One or two of them have benefitted enormously. “They make millions and millions of kina out of this and become rich overnight at the expense of the majority of our people.”

Again, Prime Minister, who are these people? Where is the transparency? Where is the accountability? By doing nothing you are a guilty as anyone…

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O’Neill’s illegal logging: 337 days and counting…

May 27, 2014 Leave a comment

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Papua New Guinea’s Corrupt Paul Paraka Is At It Again: Colluding With the Judge

May 27, 2014 Leave a comment

By Legal Beagle – PNG Blogs

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Paul Paraka has long had a reputation, dating back nearly 20 years to his start in Madang, of shoddy ethics.  Stories abound of him harassing opponents through threats and intimidation, even actual physical violence carried out by his helpers.   Those who knew him back in his UPNG days, including his campaign for SRC office, were aware that this fellow simply doesn’t play by the rules.   He was not a well liked fellow back in those days.  Those who have followed the Paraka story since then saw it as no surprise when he became the centre of attention in the Department of Finance Inquiry (full document is here: https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/the-full-finance-department-commission-of-inquiry-report/), nor the more recent allegations that Paraka was continuing to milk the government for all he could, getting excessive payments in return for less than excessive legal service to the government.

It should be as no surprise either that Paraka has now been caught in the most compromising of legal positions:  He was seen giving a life to Pinnison Pindipia, the magistrate who is hearing applications that Paraka had filed before him, seeking orders from the Waigani Committal Court.  This relates to the various charges that Paraka faces for the multi millions he received from the government last year. 

The most recent incident was reported in last Friday’s (23 May) National.

Paraka has no defence for this latest incident because these kinds of things are simply not done by honest people.  Paraka, as a lawyer, should know better than anyone that you never, never, ever, ever, make contact with those who will render judgments either in your favour or against. 

Why Paraka did this is obvious and also without defence.  He is trying to buy his way out of trouble again.  Just like Peter O’Neill and Jimmy Maladina bought their ways out of their NPF court cases over a decade ago, Paraka is doing the same.

But these kinds of incidents are becoming painfully common in our court system, brothers and sisters.   Our judiciary is corrupt because many of our justices and magistrates are, themselves, corrupt and can be bought.  You think you can get a fair trial in PNG or get a fair hearing when you file a civil court case against someone else?  You’re dreaming!  Those days are over. 

Next time a conman like Paul Paraka protests that they are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, realise that corrupt courts of law such as we have in PNG never find the guilty guilty.  Thus, “innocent until proven guilty” has become a farce.  It should no longer be tolerated as a shield for the corrupt to hide behind. When the courts fail, the media is our only hope at seeing justice served.  If our print media fails to bring the kind of transparency that will fight corruption and destroy the corrupt, our only hope is the social media.

PNG Blogs and PNG Exposed are the two best hopes for PNG right now.  We must get the truth down into the permanent internet record so that the likes of Paul Paraka and his friends will never be able to hide from what they did.Read all about the many escapades of Paul Paraka at this link:  https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/the-paraka-scams-read-the-archives-download-the-report/

Join hands with those of us who are determined that Paul Paraka won’t get away with another theft.   You can make a difference and help fight corruption if you do your part to make sure that any corrupt thing he does is publicised far and wide.   Find ways to publish on the internet his actions and the evidence against him.   Publish on the internet to get around any court injunctions Paraka may corruptly buy from a PNG judge.   Don’t forget that the educated PNG public was only able to see the Department of Finance Inquiry report after years of being covered up because some brave nationalist got ahold of a copy and leaked it to the overseas media, after which the entire inquiry was posted on-line by pngexposed.

Transparency and leaking of documents is how honest people can effectively fight in PNG’s current sorry state of corruption.

PM O’Neill offers only more empty promises on SABL land grab

May 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill went on the radio this morning to answer the mounting criticism of his failure to to take any action over the unlawful SABL land grab and illegal logging.

But once again, all the PM had to offer was empty promises:

“I am aware that the SABLs has been used as a front for logging forests and we will act on the further recommendations of the Ministerial Committee. If need be we will cancel those that have to be cancelled”.

But we have heard these same assurances before. 

This is what the Prime Minister told us way back in September last year (2013) when presenting the Commission of Inquiry reports in Praliament:

“[The reports reveal]  a shocking trend of mismanagement and corruption. Mr Speaker, this government is going to start protecting landowners and the environment. We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”.

But nothing happened. The SABL’s were not revoked and the illegal logging continued – with millions of kina in stolen logs disappearing overseas every month.

In November 2013 PM Mr O’Neill told us he had appointed a Ministerial Committee to review the CoI recommendations and report back within 2 months. But nothing happened.

Then, four weeks ago, on !st May, the PM again promised action:

“Many of these leases and SABLs that were wrongly issued will be cancelled. Many people or landowners have lost the right to their own land because of SABLs”.

But nothing happened, and now he is making the same promises…

The truth is the PM has had the Commission of Inquiry recommendations since June 2013 but has done nothing to implement the Commission recommendations – that is 336 days and counting.

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Peter O’Neill’s illegal logging: 336 days and counting…

May 26, 2014 Leave a comment

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