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Disgraced judge Bernard Sakora resigns in latest move to avoid justice

February 12, 2018 6 comments

Disgraced Judge, Justice Sakora, has resigned to avoid facing court

Having seemingly already wriggled out of one corruption charge in the criminal courts, Justice Sakora has now resigned as a Judge [see story below] in order to close down formal misconduct investigations against him, by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, and a separate Leadership Code Tribunal, instigated by the Ombudsman Commission.

Sakora’s criminal charge was in relation to his role in preventing the publication of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance which first revealed the role of Paul Paraka and his law firm in scamming millions of kina from the government. It is alleged Sakora received K100,000 from Paraka in return for granting the injunction. 

During the Finance Inquiry hearings, Sakora also granted an injunction to Messrs Gelu, Lupari and Lui, stopping investigations into their role in the Paraka scams. The injunctions were withdrawn after an appeal by the Commissioners.

Sakora was also recently heavily criticised by the Supreme Court over his awarding of almost K18 million in damages to Peter Yama and a further K5 in costs.  Both orders were revoked by the Supreme Court.

As the Leadership Tribunal investigating Sakora, which has been sitting since August and includes a New Zealand judge on the panel, will now have to be abandoned, the Justice Minister should reveal how much the Tribunal has cost.

Yet more tax payers money wasted while another white collar criminal walks free!

PNG Attorney General reveals judge’s resignation

Justice Minister and Attorney General, Davis Steven has revealed the resignation of senior judge, Justice Sir Bernard Sakora from the National and Supreme Courts.

In a statement today, Minister Steven says, he has advised the prime minister of Justice Sakora’s resignation.

The senior judge has given 25 years of service to the nation, making him the second longest current serving judge to the Deputy Chief Justice Salika.

Mr Steven says Justice Sakora resigned on his own accord, to take rest from public office.

Sir Bernard leaves a legacy behind in his strong punctuation of academic reasoning, and his grammatical flair sets his recorded decisions apart.

Minister Steven thanked Sir Bernard for serving the judiciary and the country as a judge.

The resignation of Justice Sakora effectively terminates formal investigations into misconduct allegations against him, initiated by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, and a separate Leadership Code investigation process, instigated by the Ombudsman Commission.

NBC News/ PNG Today

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Australia lectures PNG on corruption and underdevelopment… Where is that mirror?

February 17, 2014 4 comments

Goodie. The Australian government has returned to the lectern to chastise PNG over corruption and lack of development. Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, has slammed the PNG government claiming corruption is rife, and laments PNG’s backward slide on the Millennium Development Goals.

julie-bishop2Which would be fine, were it not an act of complete policy schizophrenia. Because while the Australian Foreign Minister tut-tuts at PNG, her government – and those before it – pursue an economic agenda in PNG that fosters corruption and undermines community-led, sustainable ‘development’.

What’s more ‘aid’ is a key weapon employed by Australia to engineer economic arrangements in PNG it says will alleviate ‘poverty’, but which in reality have fostered corruption, a growing criminal economy, epic land grabs, a bloated extractive industry, lunar landscapes, and a decade long war.

For instance, no one has been more proactive in pushing the sale of PNG’s mineral, oil and gas resources to foreign multinationals than the Australia government, with AusAID – now part of DFAT – at the forefront of these efforts through its ‘mining for development’ programme. According to DFAT, ‘the mining sector has considerable potential to help reduce poverty, accelerate human development and economic growth, and support progress towards the Millennium Development Goals’.

In reality it creates a bonanza for Australian/Canadian/Chinese/US miners and construction firms, who conveniently turn a blind eye to the big black hole they dump their tax revenues into – and claim, contrary to all the evidence, that they are helping to ‘develop’ PNG.

The fact is these revenues are pumped into government coffers, and then national ‘entrepreneurs’, with a supporting cast of foreign criminals, devise a whole series of scams to privatise it, ensuring minimal amounts make it into aid posts, schools, roads, communications, universities and infrastructure (when it does, it is often decimated by bribery and inflated prices submitted by client contractors).

The scams vary in complexity. Sometimes they involve blatant misappropriation of money and assets, in more complex examples they consist of inflated contracts, bogus consultancies, jobs for mates, sham law suits, privatisation of public assets … the list goes on and on.

All of which is sustained because PNG lacks a real economy, one built around the everyday sweat shed by rural and urban workers. Instead there has emerged a fictitious economy built on misappropriation and swindle, which is propped up by the tribute (tax) paid by miners to political intermediaries (corrupted government agencies).  And lets not be naive – the miners are aware of the graft, and are content to see it continue. National leaders working for money are obedient, those working for the people don’t dance as readily to the multinational’s tunes.

And what is the other big Australian agenda that has been pushed by AusAID, and its academic satellites, over the years? Why the privatisation of customary land, through land registration schemes. If customary landowners were able to convert vast tracts of land into economic assets, so the argument goes, PNG could experience a grass roots economic boom.

Yet we know in those instances where land in PNG has been ‘converted’ into economic assets it has sparked a frenzy of white collar criminality. First the land is acquired through a series of illegal transactions, be it through defrauding customary owners or paying off friends in the Lands Department. The alienated asset then becomes part of a black economy, a reality that is covered up by the ‘legal’ leases proudly displayed by the villains. With their crooked schemes hidden under a cloak of legality these mainly foreign land-grabbers can then take advantage of sky-rocketing urban housing prices, or prey upon the country’s rich forestry resources. The national elite cashes in as fixers for these crooked deals, drawing on their political and customary connections.

All of this is laid out in the SABL inquiry reports, and Public Account Committee inquiries, currently collecting dust.

And some of the biggest names in PNG politics and business, have been involved in these nefarious trades and schemes. The likes of Peter Yama, Paul Paraka, Peter O’Neill, Michael Nali, Andrew Mald, Rex Paki, Gabriel Kapris, Tom Amaiu, Beldan Namah, Paul Tiensten, Eramus Wortoto, Puka Temu, William Duma, to name just a few, have been condemned in anti-corruption reporting, judicial inquiries, and in the pages of PNG Exposed.

So, in effect here is how it works. The Australian government wants to see a business and political elite mobilised so PNG can be converted into a giant market, on which its natural resources are the main traded item. Evidently the trickle down effect will lift villages out of what the aid boffins call ‘poverty’.

In reality it has 1) built a fictitious economy resting on the rents generated by a bloated extractive industry; 2) facilitated a black trade in land and forestry resources; 3) allowed a national elite, embedded in illegal enterprises, to consolidate their power and wealth-base, creating a stranglehold on the top jobs in government.

And then what happens when our honourable leaders park their ill-gotten gains in the Queensland economy, to the cheers of real estate agents? It falls on deaf ears in Australia. And what happens when Aussie fraudsters steal from our public purse, or concoct schemes to take our resources? It falls on deaf ears in Australia. And what happens when rural communities attempt to work collectively in order to harness their own resources in small-scale industries constructed in the spirit of sustainable, self-reliance? Nothing, they are not encouraged or assisted, indeed a self-reliant nation of autonomous producers is to be feared, and dependency is instead actively encouraged by Australia – dependency on mining revenues, dependency of foreign ‘investors’, dependency on resource rents, dependency on foreign ‘advice’, never autonomy, never self-reliance, never self-determination, never self-belief.

Julie Bishop, if PNG is a monster Australia is Dr Frankenstein!

Frankenstein

Yama and Gelu conspired to steal K15.5m from the people of PNG

November 23, 2011 1 comment

Controversial businessman and former politician, Peter Yama, conspired with then Solicitor General, Zacchary Gelu, to steal K15.5 million from the people of PNG, according to the report of the Department of Finance Commission of Inquiry.

Both Yama and Gelu, together with State lawyers, Neville Devete and Lais Kandi have been recommended for prosecution by the police for their roles in the scam which involved an unlawful claim against the State which the lawyers failed to defend.

Peter Yama’s claim was based on his contention that for 9 years from 1990 he was prevented access to a piece of State land that he had leased for 99 years in 1988. Yama filed his claim through Poro lawyers in August 2002, demanding K38 million in damages.

The Commission of Inquiry found that Yama’s claim was entirely fraudulent in that:

  • he failed to comply with a mandatory procedural requirement,
  • filed his claim many years too late,
  • had no cause of action,
  • filed the claim in respect of a piece of land that DID NOT exist
  • did NOT have a lease over the land named in his claim,
  • filed the claim despite OWING the State K60,000 in rent arrears, and
  • NEVER served his claim on the Department of Lands.

Despite these numerous legal flaws, Attorney General Zacchary Gelu executed a Deed of Settlement in November 2002, granting Yama K15.5 million from the public purse.

The Commission of Inquiry reports details the many “serious failures” of Zacchary Gelu in the performance of his duties and the “ample evidence” of his culpability in authorizing the payment of K15.5 million which was “baseless and patently flawed”.

Police are currently prevented from investigating Yama and the lawyers because of a court injunction obtained by Paul Paraka and Zacchary Gelu challenging the legitimacy of the Commission of Inquiry.

The Commission of Inquiry was headed by Justice Sheehan with Justice Davani and Don Manua.

Although appointed in August 2006, the Commission faced numerous legal challenges from parties under investigation and interruptions to its funding so that in the three years from 2006 it was only able to operate for a total of 12 months and its final report, published in October 2009, only contains the findings from 45 full investigations with 212 more still outstanding.

The Commission Report relating to Yama and Gelu can be downloaded here:

Yama and Gelu

Still no action on the theft of K780m

November 21, 2011 1 comment

Eighteen months ago this blog was created to publish the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into corruption in the Department of Finance.

That inquiry revealed that over K780 million has been stolen from the people of PNG by people like Paul Paraka, Zacchary Gelu and Peter Yama.

The Commission of Inquiry presented its report to the then Prime Minister, Michael Somare in October 2009.

The report was presented to Parliament in February 2010.

But the report findings have only ever been published on this blog and there have been no police investigations, prosecutions or convictions against the people responsible for the theft.

The men who stole the K780 million are walking free enjoying the proceeds of their crime, while 4 women die every day while giving birth because of a lack of health services that don’t exist because people like Paul Paraka have stolen the money that would have paid for them.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says he is committed to fighting corruption but has done nothing to implement the findings of the Commission of Inquiry.

So, despite the court injunction mysteriously obtained by Paul Paraka stopping any publication of the Finance Department Commission of Inquiry findings, we are  again publishing the Commission report and over the next few weeks we will republish a series of articles detailing some of the individual scams and the people involved.

We do this in the hope that one day the people of PNG might see justice done – and we might see better health and education services for all Papua New Guineans and not just those who use stolen funds to fly their relatives to Brisbane and Singapore.

Download the Full Commission of Inquiry Final Report here (warning file size 6mb).

Yama’s K15.5 million payout goes back to court

June 3, 2010 2 comments

On May 18 PNGexposed revealed how Peter Yama and Zacchary Gelu had conspired to steal K15.5 million from the people of PNG.

We are pleased to report the matter is now back  before the courts

The National newspaper reports Department of Justice and Attorney-General secretary Dr Lawrence Kalinoe has applied for a Supreme Court reference on the matter.

Kalinoe, acting for the state through lawyer Peter Donigi, is seeking to establish the validity of the payout and whether due legal processes were followed.

The reference application is seeking answers from as far back as Nov 28, 2002, when a deed of settlement was reached between Yama and the solicitor-general, and leading up to a National Court order on April 14 for the money to be paid.

The state is arguing that the deed of settlement did not follow the basic principles of governance, highlighting parts 2, 3 and 6 of the Constitution dealing with the national legal system.

The State had also applied for a stay on the execution of the April 14 National Court decision.

The reference application was filed last month.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and justices Gibbs Salika and Bernard Sakora yesterday morning heard, and granted, an application by Yama seeking to be included in the special reference proceedings.

The matter was adjourned to next Monday for Yama’s lawyer, Ben Lomai, to submit a notice of objection to competency of the special reference sought by Kalinoe.

Yama and Gelu conspired to steal K15.5 million from the people of PNG

May 18, 2010 6 comments

Controversial businessman and former politician, Peter Yama, conspired with then Solicitor General, Zacchary Gelu, to steal K15.5 million from the people of PNG, according to the report of the Department of Finance Commission of Inquiry.

Both Yama and Gelu, together with State lawyers, Neville Devete and Lais Kandi have been recommended for prosecution by the police for their roles in the scam which involved an unlawful claim against the State which the lawyers failed to defend.

Peter Yama’s claim was based on his contention that for 9 years from 1990 he was prevented access to a piece of State land that he had leased for 99 years in 1988. Yama filed his claim through Poro lawyers in August 2002, demanding K38 million in damages.

The Commission of Inquiry found that Yama’s claim was entirely fraudulent in that:

  • he failed to comply with a mandatory procedural requirement,
  • filed his claim many years too late,
  • had no cause of action,
  • filed the claim in respect of a piece of land that DID NOT exist
  • did NOT have a lease over the land named in his claim,
  • filed the claim despite OWING the State K60,000 in rent arrears, and
  • NEVER served his claim on the Department of Lands.

Despite these numerous legal flaws, Attorney General Zacchary Gelu executed a Deed of Settlement in November 2002, granting Yama K15.5 million from the public purse.

The Commission of Inquiry reports details the many “serious failures” of Zacchary Gelu in the performance of his duties and the “ample evidence” of his culpability in authorizing the payment of K15.5 million which was “baseless and patently flawed”.

Police are currently prevented from investigating Yama and the lawyers because of a court injunction obtained by Paul Paraka and Zacchary Gelu challenging the legitimacy of the Commission of Inquiry.

The Commission of Inquiry was headed by Justice Sheehan with Justice Davani and Don Manua.

Although appointed in August 2006, the Commission faced numerous legal challenges from parties under investigation and interruptions to its funding so that in the three years from 2006 it was only able to operate for a total of 12 months and its final report, published in October 2009, only contains the findings from 45 full investigations with 212 more still outstanding.

The Commission Report relating to Yama and Gelu can be downloaded here:

Yama and Gelu