Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Paul Paraka seeks K24 million payments

Paul Paraka seeks K24 million payments

February 23, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

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by STEVEN ANDRE, PNG Blogs

The law firm at the centre of fraud allegations involving the Prime Minister and many other high-ranking people in PNG is ‘striking again’.

In a letter dated 26th January 2016, Paul Paraka writes to Secretary for Finance, Dr Ken Ngangen, for some outstanding payments of K24.1 million. The bills comprised of a K12.940 million principal amount as purportedly confirmed by two National Court Orders in 2007 and interest component of K11.170 million. Mr Paraka claims that the bills were cleared by the Solicitor General in 2005 and two National Court orders subsequently confirmed it. He claims that the bills were not paid in the past because there were some Supreme Court cases pending and now that the cases had been concluded in July 2014, the Department of Finance is legally obliged to make these payments, failure to which would result in contempt of court proceedings. Mr Paraka refers to a letter by the Attorney General Ano Pala dated 6th July 2014 to then Commissioner of Police Geoffrey Vaki, where Mr Pala purportedly legitimized the payment of these legal bills.

On 2nd February 2016, Dr Ken Nangen wrote to Mr Paraka, acknowledging receipt of his claim and stated that he would conduct his due diligence, consult the relevant legal authorities and revert to him.

It is understood, the good secretary for finance wrote to the Attorney General a few days after that, seeking his advise on the Paraka’s claims in light of various civil and criminal proceedings currently on foot. It is not known the action taken by the sleazy Attorney General.

If one looks at how Paul Paraka has built his now debunked criminal network, it is evidentially clear that he had not been acting alone nor has he benefited alone. Paraka had the entire system from Prime Ministers down to the tea boys working for him –orchestrating his fraudulent payments. His subsequent arrest by the Taskforce Sweep team has exposed that criminal network.

One thing about this kind of habitual fraudsters is that they do not just write a random letter to lodge a claim. They act on purpose and coordinated. So at this time when the same bills are quarantined in various criminal and civil court cases including those ones involving Paraka himself and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Paraka is striking again. Is he acting alone? You bet.

The following circumstances should shed some light:-

1.     The mastermind of the Parakagate was Mr Paraka himself but he kept a low profile when PM O’Neill was brought to the fore to answer to criminal charges. It is understood PM stopped supporting Paraka and left him in the cold since PM was slapped with the arrest warrant. Paraka is understood to be fending for himself, by liquidating his assets and at times, smuggles bettlenuts into the city. Paraka is a frustrated man, having spent money and resources to fund PNC in the 2012 elections and defended many of PNC candidates election petitions for free. For some reason, Paraka refused to expose the PM and other high profile individuals who have benefited from the fraud. That has been his last arrow in his quiver –bargaining chip.

2.     Paraka’s fresh claims were coincidently lodged at the time when his [Paraka’s] favourite judge, the honourable Sir Bernard Sakora was scheduled to sit on an appeal concerning the PM O’Neill’s arrest warrant. It is understood Sakora took possession of the Supreme Court appeal file at the time when Paraka lodged his fresh claims. It was reported in the news that Sakora heard this matter on 4/2/16 but the decision which was scheduled to be handed down the next day, seems to be unusually delayed for at least 3 weeks now.

Controversial Sakora was the judge who issued a stay order in favour of Paul Paraka on a Saturday morning in Alotau in March 2010 to thwart the publication and implementation of the Commission of Inquiry into Finance Department Report. The court order remained on foot until December 2013 when the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia set it aside. Sakora is from nambis and Paraka from Highlands –what’s the connection?

Sakora is not new to controversy. [Part 2 of this article will cover more of that…..to be continued]

3.     In less than a week, Isaac Lupari, one of the venal individuals who is heavily featured in the Finance Commission of Inquiry and who had been a mastermind in managing PM’s Paraka related cases in court, was appointed as the Chief Secretary to Government.

Remember that back then, in 2006, it was the Chief Secretary Joshua Kalinoe who issued a stop payment on Paul Paraka legal bills payments and advised Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the same bills. Now we have a Chief Secretary who is closer to Paraka.

4.     Ano Pala is copied in the letter by Paul Paraka and interestingly, Dr Ngangen would seek Pala’s clarification on these bills. Pala’s reaction to this is unknown, but what is clear is that Pala is responsible for all legal representations on behalf of the PM.

The Merits of Paraka’s Claims

It appears on the face of it that Secretary Ngangen properly referred the bills to the Attorney General. However, what is worrying is the fact that the same Attorney General (Pala) may be acting in cohorts with Paraka given that Pala previously came out in the public claiming that Paraka’s bills were legitimate. The letter Paraka claims to have been written by Pala dated 6th July 2014 is also a concern as now Paraka is relying on it to lodge fresh claims when the cases concerning the merits of the same bills are believed to be litigated in court. Also note that Paraka copied his letter to Pala.

Mr Paraka claims that the Supreme Court on 4 July 2014 concluded the Supreme Court cases and without stating the details of that decision, he manipulates it with the impression that the Supreme Court decision did not have any effect his reliance on the National Court orders which he claims are still on foot. From my recollection, the Supreme Court made adverse findings against Paraka and heavily criticized him and the orders were discharged.  A legal contact supplied me with the case citation -Kalinoe v Paul Paraka Lawyers [2014] PGSC 38; SC1366 (10 July 2014) where the Court, in upholding the appeal by the State, specifically ruled “Except only for the orders granting leave, the decision and orders of the National Court in National Court proceedings, OS 829 of 2006 and OS 876 of 2006, respectively arrived at on 17th November 2006 and 02nd March 2007 are quashed and set aside.”

I recall Ano Pala misinterpreted that Supreme Court decision, in almost verbatim of Paraka’s letter, that the bills are now cleared and no criminality in it. The Supreme Court compelled him to appear and explain. Pala almost went to jail for it. Isn’t it surprising that the position Pala took then, is the same position reflected in Paraka’s letter??

Conclusion

Paraka is not acting alone. In light of what I have highlighted above, it leads me to a convincing theory, that there is some conspiracy at play. That conspiracy has got to do with Sakora dealing with the case involving PM O’Neill’s arrest warrant. And the connection to Sakora is Paraka. Paraka wants these payments to be made in return for a favourable decision –probably to stay the trial hearing which is scheduled to take place on 3rd March 2016. PM has been trying all his best with the courts and hired the best lawyers but his attempts were in vain. According to records available in the public domain, this is the first time Sakora sits on a Paraka related case since his Alotau order. My contacts within the judiciary tell me that Sakora is crazy and he can make crazy decisions.

You have Ano Pala and Isaac Lupari strategically positioned to facilitate these kinds of deals. These guys are openly defying the social norms and structures. They don’t have a single moral impulse remaining in them to impose restraint on their actions.  They are taking the cue from their master –PO. Their persistent tendencies to commit crimes are becoming like infectious disease.

Attachments: Paul Paraka Lawyers letter to Finance Secretary and the response therefrom.

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  1. Clint Ura
    February 25, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    True to form, Judge Sakora made a crazy call to stay the order and removed legal representation for Gitua and Damaru.

  2. February 28, 2016 at 4:42 am

    KUA & PATO AS CORRUPT, OR WORSE THAN PARAKA.

    The current Minister for Foreign Affairs Rimbink Pato and the then Minister for Justice and Attorney General Kerenga Kua both conspired, or otherwise played the most dirtiest trick on the people of PNG when they paid themselves Millions ( over K8 million) of public funds. Today Kerenga Kua struts around putting on the robe of righteousness, seeking to fight corruption and publicly portraying himself as MR CLEAN on the public affairs of the nation.

    Well what do the facts speak for Mr Kua? The Fourth Category of payments (that Mr Wafai refers to in a Statement in his own Defence to the then Chief Secretary when he was suspended for making payments to Paul Paraka) are payments made by Finance Department out of the Attorney General or Justice Department Vote that are directed by Politics and Politicians.

    What work of equivalent value did Posman Kua Aisi Lawyers do by way of instructions from the State to deserve K14 Million they claimed of public funds?

    The Answer is NONE WHATSOEVER !

    What work was attributed for the payment sanctioned by Attorney General Kerenga Kua to his old law Firm? It was Kerenga Kua’s own representation of the Grand Chief in Court during the impasse period.

    You may scream, that was bloody politics! Yes you are correct! It had nothing to do with any work rendered for the State by which Mr Kua was engaged through normal brief out processes. Mr Kua acted for Grand Chief Somare personally.

    Did Mr Kua knew he was sanctioning an improper and illegal payment of State funds of K5 Million to himself/ his own firm?

    The answer is a very likely YES!

    Now Kua may argue he left that firm and no longer had anything to do with that firm etc.

    Well, not quite. A little bird tells me he was still a Partner of that firm on the record when that payment was made. In any case Kerenga’s equity in that firm was conveniently transferred to his blood brother who is also a lawyer in that firm to hold for him and Kerenga. His brother never paid for the equity. He just walked into warm his brothers office and hold his brothers shares, just in case he loses the elections.

    Kerenga Kua did act in conflict of interest in sanctioning a payment to a firm that he had an interest in, and he acted corruptly and improperly to sanction a payment for which there was no proper prior engagement by the State of his firms services.

    In any case Kerenga Kua’s actions are totally indefensible, and absolutely unconscionable as the amount charged was way way over the top. As Attorney General he had the responsibility to seek to have those fees taxed. But he failed that public duty in handing himself a big fat pay cheque that was not earned or deserved at all.

    Rimbink Pato was no different. He had acted for then Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal in the impasse. The value of the work done was not even in the region of K12.5 Million he charged. In any case it was Sam Abals responsibility to pay Pato, just as it was Somares to pay Kua. Why should the State and the public pay these two fat cats? Pato received K3.5 Million. That was wrong and highly improper.

    Again, Pato will try to argue he left Steeles and he has no interest in Steeles as a law firm. Nothing could be further from the truth. My Pato is in the Steeles office every week. He operates other businesses through the same compound. He has people baby sitting his firm and he actively reviews files and deals with matters in the practice even while serving as an MP.

    Both Kua and Pato’s firms were never engaged by the State through any procurement process recognized at law. Yet these two men, once elected to government, used their positions as Ministers to swiftly pay themselves; ie used their positions to benefit themselves.

    It is my allegation that these men knowingly acted dishonestly, corruptly and they acted unlawfully. The payments made and received by their firms are a form of defrauding the State. They were unlawful payments. They also acted in abuse of their offices.

    Earlier I intimated that Kua and Pato are worse that Paraka,( if there is such a degree of badness), and you may be wondering why. At least in the case of Paraka, he is upfront and he had a contract with the State. In the case of Kua and Pato, they had no contract with the State. Further, they have been the most vehement critics of Paraka. But all this time, the public have been misled. It is a case of the pot trying to call the kettle black.

    There are various other blog articles and news paper revelations of Mr Kua and his firm receiving corrupt paymenst of upward of K4 Million and even higher sums from the Western Provincial Government. These can be subject of another article that can set the readers blood racing.

    The time has come for the Police, the Public and corruption fighters like Sam Koim to really focus on the payments made to these two firms and the roles of Kua and Pato.

    In all fairness, the forum is open for Kerenga Kua and Rimbink Pato to produce their documents and defend the propriety and legal correctness of their actions. After all they are national leaders and it is only fair that they now be given an opportunity to defend themselves openly.

    Might I add that the Oneill government initiated a public Commission of Inquiry into these payments. Posman Kua Aisi lawyers hired QCs out of Australia to come and get injunctions to stop the publication of the results of the findings of the Inquiry.

    I think it is a matter of public interest that the Report and findings of that Inquiry should be published for the public to draw their own conclusions. In any case public interest demands of a leader like Kua to stand up and have his say, rather than give a lame excuse or use the age old subjudice cover.

    I also think it is hypocritical of leaders like Kua and Pato walking around as if they did nothing wrong. In my view, unless I can be faulted by Kua and Pato on the facts and views I have expressed ( which I welcome), they deserve to be prosecuted, and stripped of their leadership responsibilities.

    [Readers please note, the facts used in this article are already in the public arena in various articles and media reports.]

  3. Samuel Kuri
    February 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    CORRUPTIONS AT ITS BEST

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