Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Michael Somare received $784,000 in Singapore corruption scam

Michael Somare received $784,000 in Singapore corruption scam

September 2, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments
Sir Michael received three cheques worth a total of USD$784,000 in late 2010, all of which were paid into his Singapore bank account.

Sir Michael received three cheques worth in total USD$784,000, all of which were paid into his Singapore bank account.

Couple jailed in US$3.6m money laundering case involving ex-Papua New Guinea PM

Lim Ai Wah and her husband Thomas Doehrman were jailed for laundering US$3.6 million which had been meant to set up community colleges in Papua New Guinea.

Amir Hussain – Straits Times

A married couple laundered US$3.6 million which had been meant to set up community colleges in Papua New Guinea – then gave US$784,000 of it to the country’s then Prime Minister.

Singaporean Lim Ai Wah, 61, was given five years’ jail on Thursday (Sept 1), while her 68-year-old American husband Thomas Doehrman got five years and 10 months.

They were each found guilty on one count of falsification of accounts and five charges of transferring the benefits of criminal conduct.

Doehrman had been the trustee of a fund set up by the PNG government to set up community colleges in the country.

In June 2010 the trust hired ZTE Corporation for US$35 million to supply telecom equipment for the project and the couple conspired with a ZTE employee, Li Weiming, 34, for the company to pay a secret “commission” to them.

To conceal the true nature of the payment, Doehrman and Lim acquired a British Virgin Islands shell company, Questzone Offshore, and signed a fictitious US$3.6 million contract with ZTE.

No services were provided, but a Questzone invoice was created.

Doehrman and Lim gave Li, a Chinese national, US$850,000 via two transactions to his wife’s Hong Kong bank account. They gave Sir Michael three cheques worth a total of USD$784,000 in late 2010, all of which were paid into his Singapore bank account.

The rest of the money was kept in Questzone’s bank account.

The court was not told how the couple were caught, but heard that US$950,000 was meant for the couple and US$1million was supposedly set aside for bribes.

In their police statements, Lim and Doehrman said bribes had to be paid to the then-PM Sir Michael in order to get business from PNG.

Urging District Judge Ng Peng Hong to impose stiff sentences, Deputy Public Prosecutor Alan Loh said the fact that some of the laundered money was traced to then PNG prime minister Sir Michael Somare’s bank account in Singapore will cause public disquiet.

“The sentences imposed on Doehrman and Lim must reflect the seriousness of the present offences which include illicit payments made to a foreign prime minister.

“This is a very significant case in Singapore’s fight against corruption and money laundering”.

He added: “Singapore should not be seen as a haven for slush funds to pass through to the hands of errant or greedy politicians. A strong deterrent message must be sent to safe-guard Singapore’s position as a clean and corrupt free environment for business transactions.”

Li was also charged with one count of falsification of accounts, but he later jumped bail.

The Questzone bank account and Sir Michael’s Singapore bank account with US$301,000 left in it have been frozen.

Lim and Doehrman intend to appeal against their convictions and sentences.

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  1. William ROBINSON
    September 2, 2016 at 8:39 am

    From a previous comment on Tkatchenko:

    “No sirs, it is you who introduced corruption and theft. Our politicians are not corrupt because they are Melanesians, they are corrupt because they have mastered the dark arts of dispossession that the white colonialists brought to Papua New Guinea, so they could pillage our land and resources.”

    Poor Michael Thomas – he was a victim of the neo-colonialists, and nasty Asians. He could not help it ! Its not my fault ! Someone put that money in my Singapore bank account without my knowledge or consent ! I am completely innocent in this matter.

    Sure I could have returned it and disclosed the matter to Parliament, but I need it to pay the electricity account in Australia. Electricity is very expensive in Australia – don’t you know !?

    These whitemen have corrupted me !! I am a true Melanesian – incapable of being corrupted. I would never steal from my fellow Melanesians. Anyway, we did not need those silly Community Colleges – I sent my kids to Australia for their schooling – and so can all my Melanesian wantoks.

  2. F Anu
    September 2, 2016 at 10:09 am

    William Robinson reads an article, reporting that a Chinese multinational corporation used bribery to obtain a lucrative contract in PNG. He then remembers an article which pointed to the fact historically in PNG, foreign companies actively cultivated a new breed of leader prepared to sell out their wantoks, for a bit of grease. Then he casts his eyes forward on Somare, a leader cultivated in this image, who has sold out his people for some grease from a Chinese MNC. He thinks about it. Still doesnt get it. Then delivers the above brain explosion. Bravo.

  3. Induson Indu
    September 2, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Who said no politicians fingers are dirty! Including Grand Chief! Or Grand Thief!! Sorry! I feel so sorry for my poor Melanesians in PNG who duel had day in..day out to survive while the so called respected leaders such their blood hire and dry..! Only God knows who is clean on this earth..blessed is the..learn human being on earth!

  4. Grand chief of what?
    September 2, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Oh dear, just a few months ago Somare and his corrupt palocracy of ex PMs, lectured O’Neill on corruption. Do the right thing Pete, stand down. And there Somare stood, hands clean, soul pure. It is a scary insight into the political psyche. Somare got up there, in front of the cameras, lectured O’Neill on corruption, with piety, after a long career of crooked misdeeds. Psychopathic comes to mind.

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