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Posts Tagged ‘Belden Namah’

Election to proceed in June, but writs will be delayed by three-weeks

April 10, 2012 2 comments

AAP

Papua New Guinea’s prime minister and electoral commissioner say the nation’s election will take place as scheduled, following a massive protest in the nation’s capital, Port Moresby.

Thousands of protesters marched on Sir John Guise Stadium in the heart of the city’s government district on Tuesday, demanding the government stop interfering in the electoral process and that it roll back laws giving parliament the power to suspend judges.

PNG’s politicians last week voted 63 to 11 to delay the June 23 poll by six months after it was revealed the rolls for 41 electorates in the resources-rich highland region were incomplete.

“(Cabinet), the parliament, does not have the power to direct the electoral commissioner,” Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told the crowd.

“Parliament will not interfere with the electoral commissioner.”

With 51 per cent of that nation’s eligible voters in the highlands, issuing the writs when the rolls aren’t ready would be unfair, Mr O’Neill said.

“How do you expect them to vote, what about their rights,” he said.

Electoral commissioner Andrew Trawen, addressing the crowd mostly in pidgin, said the election will go ahead as scheduled in late June, but writs will be issued three weeks late to allow for greater public scrutiny of the rolls.

“The three weeks’ delay will give the voters from the Highlands equal or same opportunity like that given to voters in the Southern, Momase and New Guinea Islands regions to view and object to the preliminary rolls so that a credible roll is produced for the Highlands,” he said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

Mr O’Neill also made a conditional promise to repeal the controversial Judicial Conduct Act, a law the government passed, then used to suspend the nation’s chief justice, Sir Salamo Injia, and Justice Nicholas Kirriwom.

He said parliament would repeal the law provided Sir Salamo and Justice Kirriwom stepped down voluntarily.

“If they do the right thing, I will do the right thing,” he said.

Both judges are currently overseeing a hearing into the government’s legitimacy, and police have previously arrested Sir Salamo on charges of perverting the course of their investigation into his handling of court finances.

Petitions against a delay were handed to Mr O’Neill, Mr Trawen and Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat on behalf of Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio.

Student representative president Emmanuel Issacs told the crowd they would wait to see what parliament did next before deciding on further civil action.

The peaceful, but at times rowdy, protest was made up of a highly sceptical crowd.

While Mr O’Neill spoke, one frustrated protester could be heard shouting “It is bullshit, he is lying” over the crowd’s chant of “rausim, rausim” – pidgin for “chase him out” or “get rid (of him)”.

The public statements from Mr O’Neill and Mr Trawen are significant.

Mr Trawen has long been against delaying the poll, arguing the constitution spells out a strict five-year term for PNG’s parliamentarians.

He threw down the gauntlet on Monday afternoon, saying he would go the governor-general on April 27 for the issue of writs despite parliament’s vote.

Mr O’Neill offered the compromise delay of a month for the writs late on Monday night.

Port Moresby and social media have been rife with rumour since Mr O’Neill indicated on Saturday morning he had backed away from the vote.

The government has denied rumours of a split within its ranks and that Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah, seen by many as the architect of the vote to delay the election, had been sacked by Mr O’Neill.

A poker-faced Mr Namah sat next to a smiling Mr O’Neill at the stadium.

Meanwhile, a scheduled parliamentary sitting was cancelled when an insufficient number of MPs turned up on Tuesday.

Parliament is expected to resume on Wednesday at 10am (AEST).

O’Namah tries horse trading with the judiciary

April 10, 2012 2 comments

Via PNG Blogs

Papua New Guinea’s flip-flopping Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has remained defiant saying the Judicial conduct law will only be removed if the Chief Justice, Salamo Injia resigns. 

Arriving with a government entourage under heavy police guard, O’Neill addressed more than 4000 people at the Sir John Guise Stadium at midday today.

The PM also wants another senior judge, Justice Kirriwom to step aside as part of a trade off to have the judicial conduct law repealed. Both judges have been at the center of the controversy between the government the judiciary.

O’Neill’s response has drawn public anger from Papua New Guineans both on the streets and on social media networks.

“What’s the next step PNG? I’d like an all out rampage across the nation. This is so bloody waste of time. Do we now fear these Dictators?,” said one Twitter user.

O’Neill says election will not be delayed – but what about Namah?

April 10, 2012 3 comments

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, says the nation will have an election on June 23 as scheduled, as public outcry mounts against parliament’s decision to delay the poll by six months.

But Mr O’Neill is proposing the issuing of electoral writs be delayed by one month, arguing voters need more time to inspect the rolls.

It is unclear if electoral commissioner Andrew Trawen, a staunch opponent of the delay, has agreed to the deal.

The proposal comes as Port Moresby braces for protests as news spreads of last week’s controversial parliamentary vote.

That vote by 63 MPs, Mr O’Neill says, was not binding, serving only to voice parliament’s frustration at the unpreparedness of the rolls in the critical, and resource-rich, Highlands region.

‘Let me assure the nation that, except for the date for the issue of the writs, the 2012 elections will go ahead as scheduled by the electoral commissioner,’ Mr O’Neill said in a statement.

Much of the statement spelled out details of a four-hour crisis cabinet meeting attended Mr Trawen.

Mr O’Neill says both cabinet and the electoral commission agreed that the unpreparedness of voting rolls by April 27 was critical and warranted deferral of the election.

The statement only bears Mr O’Neill’s signature, and a spokesman for Mr Trawen would not comment when read its contents.

He said Mr Trawen would make a statement on Tuesday.

However, earlier in the day, Mr Trawen said he was seeking legal advice on the constitutionality of the decision made by parliament on April 5 to defer the elections until October.

‘I will proceed to advise the Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio to issue writs for the 2012 elections as scheduled on 27th April, 2012,’ he said in a statement on Monday.

‘And I want the people of PNG to know that I have always maintained that the commission is prepared and the 2012 elections will go ahead as planned.’

Mr Trawen said preparations were on track and the commission was doing its best to prepare and deliver credible electoral rolls for a June 23 poll.

Mr O’Neill surprised the nation and international observers by backing away from parliament’s vote on Saturday morning.

He said a report cited in parliament, and written by Mr Trawen, did not recommend differing the poll, a claim made by some MPs before the vote to delay.

The proposal comes as Port Moresby shows signs of growing public outcry against parliament’s decision.

A convoy of 10 buses made its way through out the city on Monday, urging a public demonstration in the centre of the city.

There was also a public concert on Ela Beach, where in between songs presenters urged the public to make its voice known.

Students, unionists and former soldiers are expected to attend.

‘I hope it will be peaceful,’ said Godfrey Aisi, who is among a group of former soldiers who will join unions and students on Tuesday morning.

‘We will be angry if the PM does not come and face us.

‘But we will peaceful. We hope the police don’t use teargas on us.’

Critics of the move say PNG’s 36-year-old constitution spells out strict five-year parliamentary terms and gives MPs the power to call early elections, but not defer them.

The police and military have also said they were ready for the elections, Mr Trawen said.

Former prime minister Sir Michael Somare and former attorney-general Sir Arnold Amet say the move is blatantly unconstitutional.

‘No parliament since independence has used its numbers to buy more time in office than these desperate 63 members of parliament who voted for the deferral of the elections,’ Sir Michael said.

OCCUPY WAIGANI ON TUESDAY

April 9, 2012 2 comments

Via Martyn Namorong

CIVIL SOCIETY AND ALL COALITION PARTNERS

PUBLIC STATEMENT TO ALL CITIZENS OF

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

On the Thursday the 5th of April 2012, the Parliament-Elect Prime Minister Peter O’Neil and his Cabinet passed a motion 63 to 11 on the floor of Parliament. This motion was to defer the 2012 National General Elections further by a period of 6 months.

This move is UNCONSTITUTIONAL and denies the right of every PNG Citizen to vote every 5 years.

This move is UNACCEPTABLE to the people of Papua New Guinea. This Prime Minister has lied to the People of Papua New Guinea saying that the Elections will proceed as normal and then goes back on his word.

We the people of Papua New Guinea DO NOT WANT TO HEAR LIES!!

We the people of Papua New Guinea want to have our say through our votes and we WILL NOT BE DENIED OUR RIGHTS TO VOTE IN THE ELECTIONS!!

We the people of Papua New Guinea are now DEMANDING the Government to RESCIND THIS MOTION TO ‘DEFER THE ELECTIONS’ IMMEDIATELY!! We DEMAND that the Elections go ahead at the appointed time. By the 27th of April, the Writs must be issued and due election process allowed to occur.

We the people of Papua New Guinea declare that we will not relent in our protest until our demands are complied with!!

A Coalition comprising:

Trade Unions, Business Houses, Civil Society Organizations, University Students, Churches and Citizens will convene a:

NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION and MARCH TO PARLIAMENT

Date: Tuesday 10th of April, 2012

Time: 8:00 am

Bus pick-ups will be done for ALL CITIZENS in Gerehu, Morata, Bomana, 14-mile, Brown River, Porebada, Hanuabada, Sabama, Taurama, and other areas, to converge at Sir John Guise Stadium before or by 8:00am, and we will ALL march to the Parliament House.

ALL PAPUA NEW GUINEANS MUST COME!!

WEAR YOUR INDEPENDENCE DAY PNG COLOUR T-SHIRTS. WE WILL MARCH, AND WE WILL PROTEST, AND WE WILL CAMP OUTSIDE THE PARLIAMENT HOUSE UNTIL PARLIAMENT RESCINDS THE MOTION TO DEFER THE ELECTIONS!!

NATIONAL GENERAL ELECTIONS MUST GO AHEAD AS SCHEDULED!!

PNG govt calls on judges to resign

March 20, 2012 5 comments

Eoin Blackwell, AAP 

Papua New Guinea’s Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah has called on three judges, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, to resign.

In a full-page press statement in the Port Moresby-based The National newspaper, Mr Namah accuses Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and Justices Nicholas Kirriwom and George Manuhu of “judicial corruption”.

Mr Namah also calls for the resignation of the registrar of the Supreme and National courts.

The 361-word statement is the latest public salvo in an ongoing dispute between high-ranking officials of PNG’s judicial system and elements of the national executive.

Police two weeks ago arrested Sir Salamo and court registrar Ian Augerea on allegations of misappropriating funds belonging to a deceased justice’s estate, releasing them soon after.

The court then placed a permanent stay on the case, calling the police investigation an abuse of process because the funds were correctly handled.

Citing an email allegedly written by Justice Manuhu and shared among judges, Mr Namah said it showed justices agreed that Sir Salamo had acted incorrectly in handling the funds, but had banded together to publicly protect him.

“Justice Manuhu on July 9, 2009 sent an email to then Justice Mark Sevua and Bernard Sakora that the `action of the registrar at the direction of the chief justice is contemptuous of the highest order’,” the statement bearing Mr Namah’s signature says.

Justice Kerriwom should resign because a leaked internal court memo written by him called for the court to unify and defend itself against the “regime” of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

“This is not an attack on Sir Salamo Injia or the chief justice. It is an attack on the third arm of government by the executive, and we are sitting back and absorbing it all like always,” the memo said.

“There is a hidden agenda in all these persistent moves to oust the (chief justice) that we are not being told, but will become obvious in the not-too-distant future.”

Mr Namah could not be reached for comment.

As chief justice, Sir Salamo presided over last year’s Supreme Court battle that found Sir Michael Somare was unconstitutionally dumped from office following a vote by the majority of parliament.

The government tried to have him removed from the case three times and have twice ordered him to step down, only to have their announcement batted aside by the judiciary.

Sir Michael’s son, suspended MP Arthur Somare, said the attacks on the judiciary were a first in PNG’s 36 year-old democracy.

“Mr Namah is deliberately gnawing away at the independence of institutions that define our democracy,” he said.

“He cannot meddle in the internal workings of the judiciary. Judges are allowed to consult with each other. His utter contempt against the judiciary is dangerous for PNG’s future.”

Sir Michael’s choice for attorney-general, Sir Arnold Amet, said attempts to sideline the judiciary raised the possibility the government might try to defer the 2012 election.

“Consistent with the actions of the regime, we cannot rule out the possibility that an attempt may be made to defer elections by sidestepping the rule of law and the constitution,” he said.

The chief public proponent of deferring PNG’s June polls, Mr Namah recently announced the elections will take place as scheduled and that he had no power to stop them.

Parliament resumes on March 20.

Grand Thief calls for Namah’s head

March 15, 2012 4 comments

Ilya Gridneff, Sean Nicholls

Former prime minister of Papua New Guinea [The Grand Thief] Michael Somare has demanded an investigation into the behaviour of the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Belden Namah, at the Star casino last year.

It was revealed yesterday that incident reports written by casino staff alleged Mr Namah sexually harassed a blackjack dealer before being thrown out for threatening staff while drunk on the morning of April 16.

But hours later, the casino readmitted Mr Namah, along with two colleagues. It is understood he had deposited $800,000 in a casino account, along with two colleagues.

Sir Michael, toppled by the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, in a political crisis last December, said Mr Namah should be banned from overseas trips and described his behaviour as ”disgraceful” [and Somare and his family would know all about that!]

”I know many in PNG are embarrassed that an elected representative, therefore a leader of government, can behave in such a shameful and disorderly manner,” Sir Michael said.

”Mr O’Neill cannot remain silent about the conduct of his deputy any more. Too many allegations are already stacking up against Mr Namah.

”The alleged amount of money held by the casino of $800,000 for Mr Namah is also alarming,” Sir Michael said.

Lawrence Stephens, the PNG chairman of the corruption regulator Transparency International, said it was always disappointing to hear of public officials misbehaving overseas.

”It looks bad. Splashing large sums of cash around at a casino is extremely frightening, especially when we are constantly told there is not enough money for schools, hospitals and roads,” he said.

”Over the years we’ve heard numerous names of PNG people behaving in a similar way with large sums of money at various Australian casinos,” Mr Stephens said.

”And it is a huge public embarrassment when senior representatives behave in such an obnoxious manner,” he said.

”I am sure the PNG people will be hugely disappointed with these reports.”

The federal Deputy Opposition Leader and spokeswoman on foreign affairs, Julie Bishop, described the allegations about events at the casino as ”serious” and urged Mr Namah to co-operate fully with any investigation into the matter.

”The allegations about Mr Namah’s behaviour … are serious, particularly the claim that large sums of money were involved,” she said.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said the allegations were matters for the inquiry under way into the Star by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

Mr Namah, a former forestry minister in Mr Somare’s government, has denied he is the person mentioned in the five incident reports dated April 16, 2011.

His lawyer, Greg Sheppard, said Mr Namah ”did not misconduct himself”.

Australian casino allowed ‘drunk and abusive’ Namah to gamble away $800,000

March 14, 2012 6 comments

Sean Nicholls and Matthew Moore

Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Belden Namah, allegedly sexually harassed a blackjack dealer at Sydney’s Star casino last year before being thrown out for threatening staff while drunk.

Despite this, the casino readmitted Mr Namah, an opposition MP at the time, after realising he and colleagues planned to gamble hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to The Age.

But Mr Namah denies he is the person described in five separate Incident Reports, including one in which he is named by casino staff. His lawyer, Greg Sheppard, said Mr Namah ”did not misconduct himself” at the casino.

”Until we are provided with the incident reports in question, Mr Namah is unable to comment further on how his name appears on these reports, except to say that if it does, they are mistaken,” Mr Sheppard said.

Mr Namah was in the government of Michael Somare before joining the opposition, which deposed Sir Michael last year.

Incident reports by staff show Mr Namah and two colleagues were gambling in the Sovereign Room for high rollers when approached about 7am on April 16 last year and asked to stop drinking ”as they were deemed to be approaching intoxication”.

A blackjack dealer’s statement said that after being asked to stop drinking, Mr Namah began ”teasing me by asking my mobile number”. Mr Namah is then alleged to have asked him:

”Can I f— you tonight?”

When he was being removed from the casino, Mr Namah allegedly told either a manager or security guard:

”You may be big but I will knock you on your f—ing arse.”

A former duty manager, Elizabeth Ward, has previously revealed a ”minister from a neighbouring government” was ejected from the casino last year. This is now understood to be Mr Namah.

She had been advised the minister was allowed back in several hours later after executives realised he and two friends had deposited in a casino account $800,000 to gamble.

Read the Incident Reports from the Casino.

Namah at the centre of alleged Bewani oil palm fraud

March 13, 2012 16 comments

PNG Blogs

“Namah heavily implicated in the saga and received substantial cash benefits totalling almost half a million in US$ dollars.”

Malaysian investor is now demanding 80 percent of shares in the Bewani Palm Oil Development Limited, a landowner company from Vanimo or be reimbursed for all the expenses incurred totalling US$10 million.

Maxland (PNG) Limited whose sole shareholder Andrew Lim is the Managing Director of Pricewood Products Berhad of Sandakan, Sabah Malaysia was misled into spending more than US$10 million dollars between 2007 up until 2009.

Maxland (PNG) Limited was approached by the member for Vanimo/Green Belden Namah in his capacity as Minister for Forest in the previous Somare government. Mr Namah expressed the desire for Lim’s company to finance and develop the Bewani agro forestry palm oil project in the Sandaun Province. Mr Lim was interested and undertook to be involved in every aspect of the project including funding and management.

Mr Lim and his company Maxland (PNG) Limited were led to believe that they will manage and operate the Bewani palm oil project through the landowner company Bewani Palm Oil Development Limited (BPODL).

At the request of Minister Namah and his business partner Jimmy Tse, Lim and his company remitted a substantial amount of money to the tune of US$10 million to various accounts in PNG, Fiji, American Samoa and Hong Kong.

While Maxland (PNG) Limited was seriously committing itself to funding and managing the Bewani Oil Palm Project, Jimmy Tse secretly committed another company, Bewani Palms Management Limited (BPLM) to manage the project. Lim was not made aware of this and yet Jimmy Tse and Minister Namah were receiving funds from his company some of which were transferred to BPODL to finance the management agreement.

According to documents, Bewani Palms Management Limited was incorporated on the 06th of March 2008. It described itself as a company rendering expertise and technical support in management and corporate governance. At the time of its incorporation, a Papua New Guinean known as Philip Eledume an accountant by profession was the company secretary and sole director.

The Joint Venture (JV) Agreement between BPODL and Maxland (PNG) Limited dated 08th of September 2008 provided for the transfer of 80% shares on BPODL to Maxland. Other parties in the JV Agreement were BPML as the proposer and three landowner companies namely Palms 21 Limited, Bulaulai Limited and Ossima Yalamaki Limited. Maxland is identified in the JV Agreement as the developer.

In the JV Agreement, the developer Maxland (PNG) Limited will acquire 80% interest, the three landowner companies 15% and Bewani Palms Management Limited as the proposer will hold five percent interest.

Despite being signatories to the JV Agreement, none of them actual have shares in Bewani Palm Oil Development Limited. Jimmy Tse appears to be the sole shareholder and Director of BPODL. Maxland through Andrew Lim was not made aware of the shareholding composition.

The share transfer instruments dated 10th September 2008 executed by Jimmy Tse through his lawyers Fairfax Legal were never lodged with Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) nor were they entered into the share register of the company as required under the Companies Act.

Mr Lim was actually misled into signing the JV of BPODL and another entity Octopus Resource Limited that landowners approval were secured, the landowners from the project area signed a petition on the 01st of October 2008 stating they were neither consulted nor did they give their approval for the acquisition of the subject land in the project area.

The project area of land is described as Allotment/Portion 1600 Section/Millinch Oenake (SW) and (SE), Bewani (NW) and (NE) Town/Fourmil Vanimo, Aitape in the West Sepik Province, an area 139,509 hectares of customary land. The land area was acquired under the Special Agriculture and Business Lease which the subject of the SBAL inquiry in progress.

On the 04th of November 2008, shares in BPODL were discreetly increased from 100 to one million shares and Jimmy Tse secretly allotted himself 999,990 shares which effectively reduced Maxland’s interested to 0.1 percent in BPODL.

He falsely executed share transfer instruments for the transfer of 800,000 (80%) share in BPODL to Maxland on the 19th of March for the second time. The next day without Mr Lim’s knowledge Jimmy Tse executed share transfer instruments for the purported transfer of the same 800,000 (80%) shares in BPDOL to another company identified as Million Miles Group Limited.

On March 26th 2009, Andrew Lim met Minister Namah and Jimmy Tse wherein the Minister urged Mr. Lim to enter into a joint venture with Peter Hii of Million Miles Group Limited to develop the project. Mr. Lim was surprised and disappointed and rejected the suggestion. At no time during the meeting did Minister Namah or Jimmy Tse inform Mr. Lim that share transfer instruments purporting to transfer 80% of shares in BPODL to Mr. Hii’s company have been executed. The information was kept secret.

It’s seems Mr. Andrew Lim and his company Maxland (PNG) Limited has been taken for a long ride all along for the purpose of getting money out of him and under the pretence that it was for the Bewani Oil Palm project.

According to the list of all expenses incurred between 2007 to 2009, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Forest Belden Namah received cash to the tune of US$449,153.85 posted through banks in PNG, Fiji and Singapore.

Mr Lim and his company wants 80% of the shares in BPODL or to be reimbursed for all the expenses they have incurred and only on the basis of the latter will they walk away from the project. It is understood Mr Lim and his company has initiated a litigation process to recoup their lost money.

A prolix Sam Basil ‘explains’ Falcongate – or does he?

January 23, 2012 1 comment

By Keith Jackson* 

WHILE PRIME MINISTER PETER O’NEILL has been doing his level best to ease tensions between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia over the Falcongate incident, in a rambling public statement minister Sam Basil has said he “personally finds the Indonesian embassy response shallow and wanting”.

Mr Basil, the National Planning Minister, was aboard the government Falcon jet that was intercepted by Indonesian defence force fighter planes over Indonesian airspace on 29 November.

The incident was brought to light only in recent weeks and has sparked a number of serious questions relating both to the circumstances of the intercept and to what deputy prime minister Belden Namah, other politicians and Malaysian businessmen were up to in making the controversial flight.

In his statement, Mr Basil makes a barely disguised reference intimating that Indonesia staged the intercept as a deliberate act of intimidation:

No nation, however large or small, however rich or poor, however large or small its army, should be allowed to intimidate, coerce, manipulate and dominate another.

I am urging Papua New Guineans not to be swayed by malicious and untrue suggestions that the Falcon jet was carrying US$250 million. That is a red herring – a mere diversion from the real issue.

But the statement makes no mention of serious allegations that the Indonesians were prompted to act because an international fugitive, Djoko Tjandra, was on board the Falcon.

Tjandra is alleged to have various business dealings with some PNG ministers, and is said to be behind a controversial attempt to establish what would be a lucrative rice monopoly in the Central Province.

Mr Basil’s statement, issued through his website, went on to say:

The Falcon jet was chartered by the Bewani oil palm project and was ferrying business partners in the project which included Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah, [Police] Minister [John] Boito and myself.

I was there because the trip offered insights into oil palm project management which is useful in the light of the Tekadu oil palm project in my Bulolo electorate as well as the Markham Valley oil palm project in Morobe generally – not to mention that as National Planning and Monitoring Minister I would sooner or later have to deal with oil palm-related issues.

As a commercial chartered aircraft, all of us were subject to the rigorous checks required under customs, immigration and civil aviation laws of the various countries where we landed….

Spearheaded by Mr Namah, we formed the new O’Neill-Namah government that wants to see issues like lying over shares one holds, resisting and delaying legitimate Ombudsman Commission processes through the court system, unexplained missing Taiwan dollar-for-diplomacy funds, breaking multitude of PNG, Solomon Islands and international aviation laws highlighted in the Defence Force Inquiry into the Julian Moti Affair and extensive waste of funds in the Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance with no one charged or prosecuted to date.

He went on to say said that he finds the Indonesian government response to the air incident “shallow and wanting”.

The Indonesians explained the intercept as being an error caused by confusion over whether the Falcon had an overflight permit or not.

“Someone is not telling the truth,” Mr Basil said, “and the truth has a way of slipping out despite best efforts to cover up – even by nations.”

Let’s hope the truth about exactly who was on the Falcon and what they were really up to also “slips out”.  At the very least, the ministers on board could be perceived to have a conflict of interest.

Mr Basil’s attack on the integrity of Indonesia will not only anger a neighbouring nation, it will be seen, to use Mr Basil’s term, as an elaborate “red herring” to cover up some salient facts about the flight that the PNG public has a right to know.

Time to come clean, Messrs Namah, Basil and Boito.

*PNG Attitude Blog

Basil finally speaks – but no word on international fugitive Djoko Tjandra

January 21, 2012 5 comments

National Planning Minister Sam Basil has finally gone on the record with his version of events surrounding the Indonesian military intercept of the government’s Falcon jet flight – but he has made no mention of allegations the Indonesian’s were prompted to act because international fugitive Djoko Tjandra was on-board the aircraft and is the man behind the controversial Central Province rice monopoly bid…..

This is Sam basil’s statement issued via his website:

 

Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Sam Basil today urged the nation to remain united over the Indonesian military jet incident involving the Falcon jet.

“No nation, however large or small, however rich or poor, however large or small its army, should be allowed to intimidate, coerce, manipulate and dominate another,” Basil said.

 “That is one of the pillars that hold up the United Nations and the basis upon which Deputy Prime Minister  Belden Namah raised the issue on the November 29, 2011 incident.”

Basil was referring to the much-publicised issue on an intercept by two Indonesian military jets on the Air Niugini-managed Falcon jet.

Namah and his business partners together with Minister for Police ohn Boito and Basil were on-board as well flying over Sulawesi in the Indonesian air space when the incident happened.

“I am urging Papua New Guineans not to be swayed by malicious and untrue suggestions that the Falcon jet was carrying US$250 million,” Basil said.

“That is a red herring – a mere diversion from the real issue.

“The Falcon jet was chartered by the Bewani oil palm project and was ferrying business partners in the project which included Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah, Minister Boito and myself.

“I was there because the trip offered insights into oil palm project management which is useful in the light of the Tekadu oil palm project in my Bulolo electorate as well as the Markham Valley oil palm project in Morobe generally – not to mention that as National Planning and Monitoring Minister I would sooner or later have to deal with oil palm-related issues.

“As a commercial chartered aircraft, all of us were subject to the rigorous checks required under customs, immigration and civil aviation laws of the various countries where we landed.

“That includes declaration if any one of us was carrying more than the equivalent of K10,000 in cash which we all complied with.

“With the kind of portfolio held by Boito and my own strong stance in fighting corruption shown in the Investigative Task Force Sweep, why would we be a party to money laundering or any kind of illegal activity for that matter?

“If there was the slightest sniff or suggestion of money laundering or illegality of any kind, I personally would have distanced myself from the trip.”

The Bulolo MP added: “Spearheaded by Mr Namah, we formed the new O’Neill-Namah Government that wants to see issues like lying over shares one holds, resisting and delaying legitimate Ombudsman Commission processes through the court system, unexplained missing Taiwan dollar-for-Ddplomacy funds, breaking multitude of PNG, Solomon Islands and international aviation laws highlighted in the Defence Force Inquiry into the Julian Moti Affair and extensive waste of funds in the Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance with no one charged or prosecuted to date.”

Basil said that the Deputy Prime Minister, a national leader of Papua New Guinea hasdexpressed concern based on what was observed and the reports of the pilot and co-pilot on the incident involving the two Indonesian military jets.

A diplomatic note has given to the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia who have in turn responded suggesting discrepancies in dates approved when the Falcon jet would be using Indonesian air space and as justification for the actions of their military jets

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, as executive head of Government has accepted the response subject to clarification on the dates and assured the Republic of Indonesia on the importance of amicable bilateral relations between our two countries.

Basil said that he personally finds the Indonesian Embassy response shallow and wanting.

Referring to the Occurrence Report – O471-11 Apparent Intercept by Military Jet Aircraft over Indonesian Airspace by Captain Christopher Smith, Basil said that the Falcon jet despite being on course and on altitude was given a traffic alert on their traffic collision avoidance system and a resolution advisory which caused Captain Vincent Kipma to disengage the autopilot. He had to make a steep climb “to avoid a collision”.

Following the “bizarre confrontation”, Captain Smith radioed Ujung control asking if they had the Falcon jet’s overflight permit which was issued on November 27, 2011 and valid for seven days.

The report states: “After several minutes, they responded with an affirmative. A phone call was then placed to Universal Weather from the flight phone explaining the engagement and to check the validity of the Overflight Permit.

“They acknowledged that it was valid and said they would follow up with Indonesia on their end.”

Basil concluded: I agree there is a discrepancy.

“Someone is not telling the truth – and the truth as a way of sipping out despite best efforts to cover up – even by nations.