Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Is there something fishy about Bougainville’s new Vice President? 

Is there something fishy about Bougainville’s new Vice President? 

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Autonomous Bougainville Government, under the leadership of President John Momis, is not shy about appointing criminals to Cabinet positions. Take the example of Fidelis Semoso, Minister for Economic Development, the National Court found he was part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the state of K2.7 million, which came at the cost of Buka General Hospital.

Now we have been informed that President Momis has appointed a new Vice President, Raymond Masono, following the resignation of Patrick Nisira (another man not unknown to this blog!).

While Masono is better known as the former Minister for Public Services  and Director of the Office of Panguna Negotiations, his business activities have not been in the public eye.

We can reveal that Masono jointly owns a company Bougainville Seaweed Limited, which has been in receipt of multiple large payments from the Autonomous Bougainville Government, at a time when Masono was a senior civil servant.

Company records show that Masono owns 1/3 of Bougainville Seaweed Limited, the remaining 2/3 of the company is split evenly between Albert Kinani and Kenneth Kumul, both publc servants.

Drawing from leaked financial data detailing Autonomous Bougainville Government expenditure in 2014, it can be confirmed that Bougainville Seaweed Limited was paid in total K290,000 by the Bougainville government during August of that year.

The first payment occurred on 12/8/2014. In total K190,000 was paid to Bougainville Seaweed Limited for ‘Atolls Area Farming Of Seaweed’.

Several weeks later, on 25/8/2014, a second payment of K100,000 was made for ‘Feasibility Study On Seaweed Farming’.

When these payments were made Raymond Masono was Director of the Office of Panguna Negotiation, Kinani was Secretary for Commerce, and Kumul was Atolls District Sea Weed Farming Coordinator.

Given that the ABG has its own holding companies set up to run state enterprises, there appears to be no legitimate reason why this company would be owned by three public officials (especially by one whose job title has nothing to do with seaweed farming). This also has to be set against a backdrop of criminality and corruption within the Autonomous Bougainville Government, which has been well documented on this blog.

On top of this revelation it is likely that Masono, in his capacity as Bougainville Seaweed Limited’s Director, has been submitting incorrect information to the Investment Promotion Authority. For example in Bougainville Seaweed’s 2014 Annual Return, Masono claims that the company had net assets of a mere K3, and 1 full time employee, despite being paid K290,000 by the ABG alone in August. It also appears that the company was also in receipt of EU money during 2014. If Masono knowingly submitted false information, this is a criminal offence under section 420 of the Company Act 1997.

This activity must also be read against the Leadership Code set out in Constitution of Bougainville which states ‘a person to whom this Part applies has a duty to conduct himself in such a way, in his public or official life and in his private life and in associations with other persons, as to comply with the long-established standards of customary leadership in Bougainville, including trustworthiness, transparency, and acting in the interests of, and as custodian of wealth for the People, and not for personal gain’. 

It continues: ‘A person to whom this Part applies has a duty to conduct himself in such a way, both in his public or official life and in his private life and in associations with other persons, as not to –

  1. place himself in a position in which he has or could have a conflict of interests or might be compromised when discharging his public or official duties;  or
  2. demean his office or position;  or
  3. allow his public or official integrity, or his personal integrity, to be called into question;  or
  4. endanger or diminish respect for and confidence in the integrity of government in Bougainville’.

It remains to be seen whether Vice President Masono has met this standard with respect to Bougainville Seaweed Limited.

Advertisements
  1. February 28, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Excellent reporting and many thanks. Our eyes are opened even wider.
    In all due respects to the writer of this information, it would be more news worthy if a name or contact number was revealed so jouranlists can make contact.
    Best wishes.

  2. Tammaimua Pakeva
    March 2, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Last month 3 Malaysians arrived on Bougainville to travel to the caterers atolls to conduct awareness on the process of farming , marine produce especially Beecher uma , while the ban is still in place.
    I caught up with the team during lunch, at hot Hot Rooster enjoying lunch. In the presents of the Atolls District manager , Paul Tobassi , Kenneth and others.

    I have first hand information , that the now vice president gave the team to carry on the activities.

    Advise from fisheries, that any activity involving farming,and any form of activities in involving Beecher uma is illegal.

    Yes, the activities now involving the vice in businesses is and must be investigated.

  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: