From ACT NOW!
For those of you who are keeping track, this is an update on the Papua New Guinea members of Parliament who have been charged or found guilty and await sentence or have been imprisoned to date:
CHARGED: Francis Awesa, MP for Imbonggu, Works Minister
Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, Nov 2014 for unlawfully engrossed a public easement for personal use and in the process denied the public right of access and failure to disclose a property. Public Prosecutor requested a Leadership Tribunal, March 2015
CHARGED: Delilah Gore, MP for Sohe, Community Development Minister
Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, January 2015
CHARGED: John Hickey, MP for Bogia
Arrested and charged by police for misappropriation of K700,000, March 2015
PRISON: Havila Kavo, MP for Gulf
Found guilty of misusing US$50,000 from a trust account. Sentenced to three years prison, December 2014
GUILTY: Ronny Knight, MP for Manus
Found guilty of misappropriation of K900,000 by a Leadership Tribunal, March 2015. Awaiting sentencing.
CHARGED: Boka Kondra, North Fly MP and Tourism Minister
Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission and suspended from Office for alleged misappropriation and misuse of funds including K85, 276 from the DSIP funds and District Support Grant; K134, 966 from DSIP and DSG funds in rental payments for accommodation in Port Moresby; and K18, 200 from the DSIP and DSG
CHARGED: James Lagea, Kagua-Erave MP
Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission in January 2015 for his failure to submit Financial Returns as required under Section 89 of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates and his failure in upholding his duties and responsibilities of office as required under Section 27 of the Constitution and the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leaderhship.
CHARGED: Ben Micah, Kavieng MP and Public Service Minister
Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, March 2015
The referral may relate to allegations the Minister has been living at the Grand Papua Hotel at the taxpayers expense
CHARGED: Belden Namah – Vanimo-Green MP
Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission for alleged misconduct in office, April 2015. Mr Namah faces at least 16 categories of misconduct, including failure to declare his election expenses and failure to acquit public funds among others.
CHARGED: Peter O’Neill – Ialibu Pangia MP and Prime Minister
Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission over accusations of bypassing proper procedures to secure a $1.3 billion loan from UBS bank to buy Oil Search shares for the PNG government. The referral is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court. O’Neill is also using the courts to challenge an arrest warrant issued in June 2014 over allegations of fraud
PRISON: Francis Potape, Komo-Magarima MP
Found guilty of misappropriation of over US$100,000, October 2014, and sentenced to 30 months prison
CHARGED: Puka Temu, Abau MP
Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, March 2015, for alleged misconduct in office. The first allegation relates to the facilitation and allocation of a piece of state land to a group in Western Highlands when he was Lands Minister in the Somare-Temu Government. The second allegation refers to a road contract awarded by the Abau Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee, allegedly to a company owned by a close relative of Sir Puka.
PRISON: Paul Tiensten, Pomio MP and Minister for National Planning
Sentenced to nine years prison in 2014 for stealing over K10 million.
In February 2015 convicted over the theft of a further K3.4 million with a further 3 years added on his sentence.
Mr Micah is no stranger to allegations of corruption in public office.
Can anyone confirm or deny this latest allegation?
Kavieng Blogger (PNG Blogs)
Can we Papua new Guineans stop and think clearly and stop being cheated by politicians like Ben Micah, goodness me, when he was Kavieng MP from 1992-1997 he completely corrupted his district support grant of K1.5 million he was receiving then.
Those in in Kavieng never saw that money, its benefits nor acquittals. When Micah was MP he traveled home 5 times in 5 years to spend Christmas with his wives not his people.
1. During his term he bought a new house at Ela beach costing K1.2 million.where did he get the money from? He abused his DSG funds by giving to his family members and political cronies like Tony Matautu and Gillis who in turn gave it back to him to buy the house
2. He bought a barge for K700,000.00, after Micah was dumped in the 1997 National Elections, Martin Aini investigated the cost of the boat and the supplier in Brisbane quoted $55,000 to build a new one. The rest of the money was used to buy his new printing business in port moresby.
3. Micah’s printing business went broke after the Ombudsman Commision directed government departments not to use Micah’s business because his quotes were twice everyone’s else and that he had to give kickbacks to his sleazy corrupt public servants.
4. Finally PNGBC (Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation) took Ben Micah to court and declared him bankrupt. He was bankrupt from 1999-2009, yet he stood for two elections when he wasn’t qualified to do so completely disregarding the rule of law and showing his disdain for ethical or moral standards.
5. In 1999, Micah was appointed chairman of IPBC and was sacked by Sir Mekere Morauta after eleven (11) months for spending (stealing) K2.5 million renovating his small office at Port Moresby.
The above examples are but the tip of the iceberg of what Ben Micah has corruptly done in the past 15 years, he now he has corruptly won the elections, he will be taken to court by Martin Aini for bribery and illegal campaigning which will all come out in public.
Finally, Ben Micah will be dismissed by the court of disputed returns because he failed to register himself for the 2012 elections and bribed John Kasinga to allow him to contest and vote by hand writing his name on the common roll
That’s Ben Micah for you, Corrupt, Greedy, Adulterous.
Papua New Guinea’s prime minister Peter O’Neill says his government has no intention of setting up investigations into what’s said in the press or online about his administration.
The prime minister’s comments come a week after his chief of staff Ben Micah printed a public notice in the daily newspapers vowing those who spread “malicious and misleading” information would be “dealt with.”
When asked at a press conference in Port Moresby to clarify the statement, Mr O’Neill said his government had no intention of quashing debate in PNG’s media and blogosphere.
“There is no intention on the part of government to do that,” he said on Tuesday.
“But we just want to urge all those who participate in these sites to be a bit more responsible, to be a bit more careful, when you have malicious lies about persons, not policies.”
“You are not arguing policies of what government is doing.”
In his newspaper statement, Mr Micah called on “patriots” to turn into the authorities those who were publishing material online and via text message information “subversive to the overall security of the nation.”
“All patriots and law-abiding citizens are required to be vigilant,” the statement said.
“The military, police and the National Intelligence Organisation and other pro-government civilian networks are monitoring all attempts to destabilise the government’s firm control of the country.”
In a rare interjection during Mr O’Neill’s usually tightly run press conferences, Mr Micah said the statement was aimed at people spreading rumours of military coups.
“This is not a Stalinist regime,” Mr Micah said.
“We will be using normal government apparatus to monitor policy information.”
Approximately 1.5 per cent of Papua New Guinea’s seven million people use the internet, according to the World Bank.
Both the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Pacific Media Centre (PMC) say the announcement raises deep concerns over free speech and the rights of individual privacy.
PNG has just emerged from a period of intense political turmoil after the Supreme Court ordered the return to power of ousted prime minister Sir Michael Somare without the backing of the majority of parliament.
Mr O’Neill and his supporters have been running the country since August last year, and maintained control of the nation during a failed bloodless mutiny attempt at the behest of Sir Michael’s ousted cabinet in January.
The executive director of the Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs says government attempts to rein in social media are chilling and reminiscent of what would happen in a totalitarian state.
The chief of staff in the prime minister’s office, Ben Micah, says people who spread what he calls subversive material on the internet and through mobile phones are being investigated.
The Institute’s Paul Barker says there have been occasions in the recent political turmoil when malicious or misleading information may have been made public.
But he says if there are concerns people can use the country’s slander and libel laws.
“And if clearly defamatory statements are being made, well people can take legal action to address it. Certainly having effectively threats of a range of state institutions probing private or public internet sites or dialogues on Facebook or SMS or whatever, would seem to be going overboard.”
ACT NOW!, a Papua New Guinea advocacy group that actively campaigns using the internet says an attempt by the government to clamp down on social media is a threat to freedom of expression and a hindrance to a vibrant democracy.
Last week the prime minister’s chief of staff, Ben Micah, put out a press release condemning what he called the spread of malicious and misleading information and promising that offenders would be dealt with.
He said this misinformation is detrimental to the peace and good order of the community and subversive to country’s security.
The spokesperson ACT NOW!, Effrey Dademo, says her organisation is encouraging people to speak up about their concerns and she says it is really upset by Mr Micah’s move.
“Because that’s not really healthy for the country at the moment in terms of having people speak up. And that’s one of the concerns ACT NOW! has. Our main aim is to get the mass population of PNG to speak up about what they see is not right.”
A blogger in Papua New Guinea says a new government declaration aimed at reining in social media is scary, but people are waiting to see how it will be applied.
Last week, the chief of staff in the Prime Minister’s office, Ben Micah, announced a government crackdown on subversive activity on the internet.
He says government agencies are monitoring the internet and he urges people to inform on those spreading what he calls malicious and misleading anti-state information online and through text messages.
Blogger Emmanuel Narakobi says it reminds him of witchhunts like the attempts in the United States to ferret out communists.
“If you have got a clear definition of what is wrong with what people are saying then it is easier for you to understand that is right or wrong but when you just say generally anti government or that sort of language, which is their own interpretation, and also on the other side of it, not tying it down to any sort of law – clearly stating what sort of law you would be breaking, it can appear to be a scary place to go.”