Mining Minister Byron Chan has reacted angrily to revelations on this blog about illegal logging operations in the Konoagil District of New Ireland. He is demanding action to stop the logging and police investigation of those responsible.
But is the Minister REALLY SERIOUS or is this just pre-election posturing? Will Minister Chan really ensure proper investigations are carried out and effective action is taken against those responsible for the theft of forest resources and destruction of the environment?
BY JEFFREY ELAPA, Post Courier, January 03, 2017
MINISTER for Mining and Member for Namatanai Byron Chan has called on authorities to investigate two foreign companies [Millionplus Corporation and Islands Forest Resources] involved in logging activities in his district.
Mr Chan is also calling on the authorities to investigate how Government authorities had allowed the companies to conduct business in the country and wants their Malaysian principals [Kie Yii LING, Ting Ping LAU and Tiing Siu HAH] deported.
He said he is outraged over their being issued environment and logging licences.
“I’m totally disgusted and immediately call for a full investigation into the illegal activities occurring at Forest Department and the Department of Environment and Conservation.
“I further call on the two Ministers Douglas Tomoresia (Forest) and John Pundari (Environment) to institute an investigation into the conduct of the two companies.
“I also call on the police fraud and anti-corruption unit to investigate the activities of these foreigners cheating my people. How can authorities allow foreign companies to conduct illegal businesses in the country.
“I also call on the Minister for Forest to cease the operation of the company and Immigrations to immediately deport the two foreigners and blacklist them as they have misled and abused the trust of my people and my district. We do not need people involved in illegal activities they also pose threats to the sovereignty of the nation.
“This is the kind of business conduct by foreigners under the guise of doing business and involved in local politics are not welcomed to stay in this country.
“My people are innocent like most rural Papua New Guineans. There have been a lot of false promises and false hopes given to my people and I’m really disgusted by the action of such foreign companies conducting business in my district and the country,” he said.
Mr Chan also called on local elites not to mislead the people for whatever motives they had.
“As a concerned national leader and leader of my people I’m calling for an immediate investigate by the authorities,” he said.
Minister for the Environment John Pundari has accused two fellow Ministers of corruption over their recent trip to the international climate change conference in Paris – see story below.
Pundari says Minister for Planning Charles Abel and Minister for Forests Douglas Tomuriesa went missing after the first day or two of meetings in Paris.
Pundari has labelled their conduct corrupt as the Ministers received airline tickets and allowances on the basis they would attend the whole two-week conference and represent their country in negotiations – something they failed to do.
Our photo shows Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa sitting comfortably in business class on his trip home from Paris. The Minister posted the photograph on his Facebook page.
Cabinet Minister exposes actions of PNG officials at Paris Climate change conference
A Papua New Guinea cabinet Minister and a senior public servant have condemned the conduct of some members of the Government delegation to the recent climate change conference in Paris – particularly their attendance, The National reports.
Acting executive director for Office of Climate Change and Development Joe Pokana agreed that the members of the Government delegation should have stayed back longer.
Pundari said: “Getting airline tickets and allowances to attend international meetings, and to show up for a day or two, then spend (the rest of the time) in other places is corruption at its best, and must never be encouraged.
“During the two weeks, we had State ministers – in particular National Planning and Forestry – who attended with a big number of delegates, then left.”
He said they failed to finish what they were supposed to do – represent the interests of the people of PNG.
“It wasn’t good enough and very discouraging for the delegation that went to Paris,” Pundari said.
“If it is not within the perimeters of their responsibility, do not attempt to get out to such conferences because you are doing injustice not only to yourself but to the country as a whole.
“If you did not complete the meetings, you don’t come and open your mouth here and make up big stories.
“We have only one Prime Minister who spoke for every agencies of Government and each agency has their own minister who can speak for themselves.”
Pundari said he was glad to have stayed with the younger public servants led by Pokana.
“We were able to deliver the last statements at the final plenary of the United Nations,” he said.
“We made our statements and we thanked the conference president as a satisfied country.<br
“Let us do the right thing. If you are getting allowance to attend the Paris meet, there was no need for you to spend it up all in Singapore.”
Pokana said only Pundari stayed back with the technical team from OCCD. “We delivered strong statements to the president of COP 21 on the last night and achieved what we have been fighting for,” he said.
“All our issues were captured in the Paris Agreement with the REDD+ as a stand-alone text in the agreement.”
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had recently congratulated the country’s negotiation team who represented the national and regional interest.
Environmentalist, Waigani Corridor
CEPA is a scapegoat!!
It is a carefully scheme strategized by a well-organised network to suck public money. Under the management of Dr Wari Iamo as the Secretary, with his smooth talking PR spin-doctor, Gunther Joku (current acting Secretary), and their Australian friend and strategist Andrew Taplin, along with close aids and cronies, this clique has successful enacted their grand plan. The CEPA Bill!!
It is common knowledge within the department that more than K3 million has been spent on this unbudgeted project. CEPA Project was never budgeted for in the 2011 fiscal year! The money was raised internally by transferring money from one account to another especially from the funds allocated under developmental (PIP) budgets, projects undertaken through joint-bilateral agreements like Kokoda Track Initiatives and Coral Triangle Initiatives (CTI), and further purged from the recurrent budgets.
This money was systematically (without detection) diverted in 2011. Department of Treasury, Planning, and Finance can confirm to approve or disapprove this fact. All this money went into the pockets of fly-in fly-out consultancy services from Australia, including a few PNG friends, whilst local expertises were undermined. If CTI Headquarters and the Australian Government ask the country focal point (SEP division of the DEC) to provide substantiated detailed acquittals, PNG is likely to face international sanctions due to misappropriation by entrusted agencies.
The CEPA concept has never been clearly articulated and presented by these “transformers”. Even DEC officers are kept at bay wondering what this concept is, a concept which has been the closely guarded secret of a private network. The CEPA Documentation has always been highly confidential.
Moreover, the industry or public has never been consulted widely. This begs the question, is the CEPA bill a bill or is it just a concept? The Minister responsible, John Pundari, might have been misled conveniently by the bureaucrats of the department and their spin-doctors. Alternatively, perhaps Mr. Pundari, with full knowledge of this scenario, tabled a bill, for a project that is grey at best, in an effort to blunt the genuine outcry from responsible leaders, and citizens who wish to know the truth about the Nautilus project, as well as other controversial projects.
There is no policy underpinning this bill either, if there is one, then, it was never sighted. Mr. Pundari, the CEPA bill was a cleverly created scapegoat to deviate and ease tension and save face.
The minister has requested adequate funding for the Department also, the reason being that it is underfunded. Well, that is reasonable request given the range of environmental concerns expressed in recent years, however, the real issue is:
- Is the DEC’s management effectively and efficiently executing their mandated roles and responsibilities within the given budget ceiling, including the development funds (PIP) and various trust and imprest accounts?
- Is the DEC prudently managing public funds as per the Public Finance Management Act?
- *If the minister and secretary know that the department is and was so under-resourced that it could not fulfull its regulatory functions, why did they issue countless permits of all sorts?
- Does the Secretary, Minister, and Environmental Council have the power to vet and say NO to further environmental permits until the current operations are properly regulated?
- Whilst the Department is concentrating on the bigger mining, petroleum, gas, agro-business and industrial industries, how effectively are the smaller businesses being regulated?
Respective leaders and Departments like DPM, Treasury, and Task Force Sweep should demand an urgent audit of the DEC spending, as well as weed out the bureaucratic syndicate that exists. PNG cannot lay back and watch the Department sink when functionally illiterate MPs waste public time day-dreaming in the champers ignoring significant discussions whilst their innocent colleagues call for a merge, which is totally irrelevant and unpractical.
We cannot risk this nation because of few devious greedy wannabe barons in the public sector. We want a Papua New Guinea where there is hope and the future is secure and well within our grasp, where our beloved environment can be preserved and protected, our responsibilities to flora and fauna met and the management of our environment conducted in a manner that is responsible and respectful.