Home > Corruption, Human rights, Land, Papua New Guinea > Paga Hill Saga Continues – EMTV, Post-Courier, and Police aid ‘Corrupt’ ‘Foreign Speculator’

Paga Hill Saga Continues – EMTV, Post-Courier, and Police aid ‘Corrupt’ ‘Foreign Speculator’

How many times in the last year has EMTV or Post-Courier seen fit to devote coverage to an alleged discharge of firearms in a Port Moresby suburb, with no fatalities or injuries?

0 is the number.

Yet suddenly, both media outlets have seen fit to broadcast stories on tenuous allegations against Port Moresby based anthropologist, Joe Moses, who is leading a legal struggle against the Paga Hill Development Company. Paga Hill Development Company’s CEO is none other than Gummi Fridriksson – an Australian businessman who has been censured multiple times by PNG’s anti-corruption agencies.

Moses is the last barrier between a company, described by the Public Accounts Committee, as a ‘foreign speculator’, and the land at Paga Hill, which it allegedly obtained through ‘corrupt dealings’

All this comes several weeks before Moses is meant to appear in court to challenge the legitimacy of the company’s claim. A happy coincidence!

EMTV reports: ‘Police in the National Capital District are looking for a male adult, Joe Moses, a resident of the Paga Hill settlement, in relation to a firearms complaint. Complaints have been laid with police that Moses had on the night of May 28, discharged two shots from an unidentified firearm at a group of people on Paga Hill’.

While the headline in the Post-Courier reads ‘police hunt for firearm possessor’.

EMTV and the Post-Courier will argue, in their defence, they are simply publishing a press release issued by Senior Constable Gene Punai on Tuesday.

Correct. The RPNGC went to the unprecedented length of publishing a press release, announcing their manhunt for this humble university worker. Punai even claims Moses ‘escaped from police custody’. Not bad for an anthropologist.

All this comes just a month after the Paga Hill Development Company donated K20,000 to the RPNGC. Another one of those convenient coincidences.

But while they may be partially excused for publishing police press releases, their recent infomercials for Paga Hill Development Company are inexcusable. Disguised as ‘news’, these PR pieces have reported that Fridriksson and his company have relocated National Housing Corporation residents over the weekend from upper Paga to land purchased at 6-mile.  The Post-Courier’s Todagia Kelola, relying on police sources (again), reports the eviction was a ‘peaceful, orderly and successful relocation exercise’.

Two problems.

The land at 6-mile is customary land, and cannot be purchased.

Second, police and plain clothed thugs ransacked properties (corroborated by numerous eyewitness accounts), and threatened National Housing Corporation residents at upper Paga. Here are photos of the devastation – which the Post-Courier and EMTV have failed to publish:

Upper Paga Hill 2 June 2014 Photo 1 (1)

Upper Paga Hill 2 June 2014 Photo 1 (2)

Upper Paga Hill 2 June 2014 Photo 1 (3)

Upper Paga Hill 2 June 2014 Photo 1 (4)

While repeating tenuous allegations against Joe Moses, not one media outlet in PNG has reported on Fridriksson’s questionable background which has been documented in numerous reports issued by PNG’s anti-corruption agencies. For example:

  • In 1996 the national government paid Fridriksson K2.5 million for Destination Papua New Guinea, a book (yes K2.5 million for a book!) riddled with what Sean Dorney calls ‘appalling mistakes’. To secure payment, Dorney claims Fridriksson offered a Finance Department officer a cut of the payment.
  • The Auditor General alleges CCS Anvil – a company owned by Fridriksson and Paga Hill Development Company shareholder George Hallitt – wrongfully seized K1,966,677 from the sale of deceased PNG estates, when advising the Public Curators Office (CCS Anvil has acted as Paga Hill Development Company’s ‘project director’).
  • According to the Auditor General K4,872,375 in ‘unlawful’ payments were made to CCS Anvil by the Public Curators Office.
  • K79,500 in unlawful payments  – according to the Auditor General and Public Accounts Committee – were made by the East Sepik Provincial government made to CCS Anvil
  • K375,799 in unlawful payments were made by the Parliamentary Service to CCS Anvil (documented by the Public Accounts Committee)

As a result of his business ‘success’, Fridriksson now lives in a palatial property in QLD (below), which looms large over the smouldering wrecks left at Paga. Money it would appear is the ultimate arbiter of justice in PNG.

two

Advertisements
  1. Will Self
    June 5, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Well, with nail and O’N involved in Paga and an NEC decision that the scam is of “national importance” what would you expect?

  2. sori stret PNG
    June 5, 2014 at 11:43 am

    shame shame shame on the two daily newspapers for giving one sided stories.. such compromise and conflict of interest!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: