National Provident Fund Final Report [Part 60]
Below is the sixtieth part of the serialized edited version of the National Provident Fund Commission of Inquiry Final Report that first appeared in the Post Courier newspaper in 2002/3.
NPF Final Report
This is the 60th extract from the National Provident Fund (now known as NASFUND) Commission of Inquiry report. The inquiry was conducted by retired justice Tos Barnett and investigated widespread misuse of member funds. The report recommended action be taken against several high-profile leaders, including former NPF chairman Jimmy Maladina. The report was tabled in Parliament on November 20 by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.
Executive Summary Schedule 6 Continued
Of major concern to the commission were large payments to Mecca No.36 Pty Ltd (now South Supa Store) owned by Peter O’Neill and NPF trustee Nathaniel Poiya.
The commission finds the deposit of K10,833.33 was in respect of Mr O’Neill’s rental allowance for April 1999 and in consequence that K10,833.33 of Mr O’Neill’s funds were held in this account.
In paragraph 188.8.131.52, the commission made the following findings:
(a) PMFNRE cheque # 266923 for K45,000 was sourced from the NPF Tower fraud money;
(b) As a consequence, K5,000 of the Tower fraud funds remained in this account;
(c) As we have said earlier, we will come back to the payments to Williams Graham & Carman shortly. Mr O’Neill’s evidence was that none of these earlier payments had been made for his benefit so his K10,833.33 should still have been held plus the K5,000 of NPF Tower fraud moneys aggregating K15,833.33;
(d) The cashbook balance according to PMFNRE (Exhibit T1017) was only K10,854.68. Again it is clear either PMFNRE was “using” this money or Mr O’Neill’s or the NPF Tower fraud funds had been used to pay other cheques;
In paragraph 184.108.40.206, the commission made the following findings:
The two cheques each for K50,000 presented on May 4, 1999, were funded from the NPF Tower fraud money;
In paragraph 220.127.116.11, the commission made the following findings:
(a) After considering the whole of the available evidence, the commission finds that the sum of K102,300 paid by the Carter Newell cheque # 788441 which was derived from the NPF Tower fraud money was placed under the control of Maurice Sullivan and Ken Barker of PMFNRE upon its deposit on May 4. 1999, and that in exercise of the control so placed in him Mr Barker on the same day directed payment out of such funds of the two cheques # 266924 and 266925 each for K50,000 to PNGBC the first to make an International Money Transfer of the equivalent of K50,000 to Williams Graham & Carman, Solicitors of Cairns Australia and the second to make an International Money Transfer of the equivalent of K50,000 to Mr O’Neill’s former wife Cheryl Caley;
(b) The commission further finds that the bank fees of K36 were also paid from this deposit and that all of these payments were from funds derived from the NPF Tower fraud.
(c) It follows from these findings that of the funds remaining in this PMFNRE No.1 Trust Account after such payments and the debit of bank charges the residue of this K102,300 deposit amounting to K2264 plus the earlier residue of K5000, aggregating K7264 were held out of the NPF Tower fraud moneys and that K10,833.33 was held on behalf of Mr O’Neill;
In paragraph 18.104.22.168, the commission made the following findings:
The commission finds that this deposit of K10,833.33 was in respect of Mr O’Neill’s rental allowance for May 1999 and in consequence of its other findings that the funds of Mr O’Neill held in this account increased to K21,666.66;
In paragraph 22.214.171.124, the commission made the following findings:
There is insufficient evidence for the commission to make any definite finding in relation to these two payments of K6000 and K5000.
In paragraph 126.96.36.199, the commission made the following findings:
The only source from which this cheque for K100,000 could have been fully funded was the deposit of K300,000 on the same day (see (m) above), which was derived from the NPF Tower fraud;
In paragraph 188.8.131.52, the commission made the following findings:
(a) Cheques # 266930 and # 266931 aggregating K17,379.11 were paid from Mr O’Neill’s own funds;
(b) The dilemma, as we have said earlier, is that if the K10,833.33 of Mr O’Neill was applied in the earlier payment of K50,000 to his former wife, then there would not have been sufficient of his funds to cover this second payment to his former wife;
(c) Again the situation is confused by the use of the MJS/KB code on deposits of both NPF Tower fraud moneys and Mr O’Neill’s moneys and the payment out of moneys for the benefit of Mr O’Neill as well as others;
(d) Later investigations support the possibility that the various credits formed one common fund;
In paragraph 184.108.40.206, the commission made the following findings:
(a) It is totally clear that the deposit of K300,000 on Friday, May 14, 1999, derived from the NPF Tower fraud was banked with the “MJS/KB” code; that the K100,000 transfer to PMFNRE No.2 Trust Account on the same day was sourced from this deposit; that the K100,000 transfer to Mecca (No.36) Pty Limited the following Monday also with the “KB/MJS” code was also sourced from this deposit and finally that the cash withdrawal of K100,000 on the following Friday yet again with the “KB/ MJS” code was also sourced from that deposit;
(b) As will be seen later in this report, the K100,000 transferred to PMFNRE No.2 Trust Account was also converted to cash on May 14, 1999, and could not be traced further;
(c) On the evidence before the commission, it is clear that the second K100,000 was received by Mecca (No.36) Pty Ltd and that such money was not earned;
In paragraph 220.127.116.11, the commission made the following findings:
(a) The payment of K100,000 to PMFNRE No.2 Trust Account on May 14, 1999, derived from the NPF Tower fraud and could not be traced further;
(b) The cash withdrawal of K100,000 on May 21, 1999, was derived from the NPF Tower fraud and was received by Ken Barker and later paid to Jimmy Maladina;
(c) The payment of K100,000 to Mecca No.36 on May 17, 1999, was derived from the NPF Tower fraud and it was unearned by Mecca No. 36;
(d) Mr Poiya was a substantial shareholder in and director of Mecca No.36 Pty Ltd (now South Super Stores Ltd). At the time of the K100,000 payment to Mecca No.36 Mr Poiya was a trustee of the NPF;
(e) MR Poiya and Mr O’Neill benefited from the payment to Mecca;
(f) THE benefit received by trustee Poiya was improper and the commission recommends that he be referred to the Ombudsman to consider whether there had been a breach of the Leadership Code by Mr Poiya; and
(g) The benefit received by Mr O’Neill was improper and at the time he was subject to the Leadership Code, being executive director of Finance Pacific.
The commission recommends that Mr O’Neill be referred to the Ombudsman Commission to consider whether there has been a breach of the Leadership Code.
The payments made to Williams Graham & Carman were all from NPF Tower fraud money and all were paid to the lawyers in relation to the purchase by Bethgold of the Kanimlba property. The K50,000.00 to Cheryl Caley on May 4, 1999 was from the same source and for the same purpose.
Although Mr Barker and Mr Sullivan are shown as the directors and shareholders of Bethgold Mr Maladina and/or Mr O’Neill had beneficial interests in that company held for him/them by Mr Barker and Mr Sullivan.
The commission’s investigations clearly showed the criminal activities of Mr Barker and Mr Sullivan, former PMFNRE managers who had fled to Australia. At paragraph 18.104.22.168, the commission has found:
(a) Both Mr Sullivan and Mr Barker were involved in the laundering and disposal of the proceeds of the NPF Tower fraud through the PMFNRE No.1 Trust Account and the use of a code in that process strongly suggests “guilty” knowledge which may render both men accessories after the fact to that fraud;
(b) The commission recommended that Mr Sullivan and Mr Barker both be referred to the Commissioner for Police to consider charges for aiding the offence of fraud and any other offences;
(c) The commission also considered that Mr Barker:
(i) LIED on oath regarding the refund of K99,000 to Mr Maladina;
(ii) falsely denied knowledge of payments of K102,300 and K300,000 made by Mr Maladina to PMFNRE No.1 Trust Account; and
(iii) falsely stated that K60,000 and K690,000 were used to purchase Treasury Bills (see paragraph 12.3.4).
As Mr Barker is now permanently residing in Australia it would be a waste of resources to refer him to the Commissioner for Police to consider charging him with perjury under the Commissions of Inquiry Act. If he ever returns to PNG, he should be so referred.
As the commission’s inquiries continued it became clear that many payments were made to or at the direction of Mr O’Neill, that these payments far exceeded the total funds legitimately held by PMFNRE and that a significant portion of these additional payments were sourced from funds which demonstrably were the proceeds of the NPF Tower fraud.
In trying to explain these matters, some of Mr O’Neill’s explanations were unacceptable, internally inconsistent and contrary to clearly documented factual evidence. As inquiries progressed further and the successive ledgers were examined in more detail it became clear that Ledgers 18 and 31 were Mr O’Neill’s own ledgers.
At the end of the day the commission was forced to conclude that Mr O’Neill actually owned PMFNRE. To test Mr O’Neill’s unsatisfactory evidence, the commission constructed an extension of the cashbook as at paragraph 12.3.6 as follows:
The reconstructed extension of cashbook from May 30, 1999 to September 29, 1999.
It was then able to make the following further findings.
This deposit of K10,833.33 was in respect of Mr O’Neill’s rental allowance for June 1999;
At paragraph 22.214.171.124, the commission found that:
(a) The two cheques for K55,120 and K920 account exactly for the proceeds of the Nambawan Finance cheque for K56,040 banked the previous day and the commission so finds;
(b) The receipt of K55,120 into the No.2 Trust Account was kept “off book”;
At paragraph 126.96.36.199, the commission found that:
The cheque #028585 for K275,000.00 obtained by Hunter Real Estate Limited was proceeds of funds paid out of IBD held by the Registrar of the National Court, which was the subject of litigation between Mr O’Neill and Mr and Mrs Donald.
At paragraph 188.8.131.52, the commission found that:
The deposit was in respect of Mr O’Neill’s rental allowance for July 1999;
At paragraph 184.108.40.206, the commission found that:
The deposit of K275,000 into PMFNRE No.1 Trust Account on July 16, 1999, was paid into the No.2 Trust Account in three separate cheques and receipted as a deposit on PMFNRE sale of property by Hunter Real Estate.
The evidence of Mr O’Neill’s involvement with regard to the No.1 Trust Account is discussed at paragraph 12.3.8 and it is clear that the only funds paid into or held in the No.1 Trust Account for Mr O’Neill aggregated K32,449.99 or on the view most favourable to Mr O’Neill the total would be K57,499.99. Yet quite clearly the sum of at least K167,397.11 was paid out for his benefit or at his direction.
At paragraph 220.127.116.11, the commission has found that:
(a) Given the above explanation, the commission is compelled to conclude that the source of the differentials was Mr Maladina’s funds from the NPF Tower fraud and the explanation given by Mr O’Neill does not withstand testing and cannot be accepted. (Mr O’Neill’s explanation is further reported below at paragraph 18.104.22.168).
(b) The PMFNRE No.1 Trust Account appears to have been treated as a common account containing the funds of Mr Maladina and Mr O’Neill and some other transactions. Mr O’Neill’s explanations included claims that some of the payments were sourced from or paid as rental on his properties but his claim did not withstand scrutiny as other arrangements for rent were actually in place as recorded in detail in paragraph 22.214.171.124 of the Schedule.
TO BE CONTINUED