Complaints after complaints about abuse and over exploitation by the RD Tuna Cannery workers of Madang Province, and not once did the Madang Provincial Labor officer look into them.
This is because Peter Neimani, the Provincial Labor Officer is said to be on RD’s payroll, so his hands are quite tied up and unable to address the workers complaints. You see, Peter has been and is still being paid by these foreigners every fortnight to keep all complaints against the company under the carpet.
This highlights two things, first is that the RD Cannery had planned to mistreat, abuse and exploit its workers long before doing so, and part of its plan was to find a puppet to brush away the complaints and even cover for them, and the puppet is Peter Neimani.
Secondly, being on RD’s payroll means Peter’s getting paid fortnightly while he’s playing ‘Labor officer’ for the government, so he gets two pay packets every fortnight. Paid by the government for being lousy and paid by the company to be the puppet that they can use however they want, anytime they wish, so long as they put some money on him.
Being on RD’s payroll is not all, Peter’s children’s school fees are all paid for by this much controversial fishing company year in year out, and the vehicle he’s driving around was also bought and handed to him by the company. Peter is among the ‘top shots’ puppets in the province (Nixon Duban is another one of them), who get cartons of ‘export brand’ tinned fish delivered to their doorsteps by the company.
Most of the workers doing the hard labor work are PNG nationals. Innocent men, women and youths showing up everyday and standing all day long to honestly earn a living, but are used by the company as tools. The Philippines workers are said to be ‘supervisors’, which jobs is really to walk around and make sure the nationals are working hard non-stop, and also to keep an eye on them and report to the management at the end of everyday.
The continuous abuses and exploitation of the workers are in all forms unimaginable to anyone who’s enjoying a RD product both locally and Internationally. RD is the company that pays K80 a fortnight to every faithful worker. It is the company that pays K200 and way less for workers who resigned after working for 17 years or more. It is the company that deducts from the workers ‘already low’ pay, allowances when it issues safety gears or provide transportation.
The list of these very ill, inhumane treatments continues, and the workers say they’ve lost count of how many times they’ve turned up at Peter Neimani’s office and told him. It seems Peter is way too busy enjoying the cartons of 48 cans of export brand tinned fish, a free ride on school fees for his kids and a tinted glass vehicle to even notice his fellow countrymen and women, practically crying their hearts out to him.
Madang Provincial Administrator Bernard Lange is accused of improper behaviour over the payment of K500,000 to a group of landowners. It is alleged the payment was made against the advice of senior officials, made without proper procedures being followed and was organized in just 48 hours after Lange put pressure on the Provisional Treasurer to release the cheque.
The Director Natural Resources, Francis Irara, has written to the Provincial Treasurer to voice his concerns about the legality of the payment.
In the briefing paper prepared by Irara he says the K500,000 cheque was personally obtained by Bernard Lange who pressured the Treasuruer to relaese the payment. The cheque was given by Lange to MP Alois Kingsley to present to the landowners. Irara says the whole transaction was organized in just two days.
PNGExposed has received more details about Madang Provincial Administrator, Bernard Lange’s obstruction of efforts to tackle the endemic corruption in his administration.
Since we revealed the letters from the Secretary of Finance in Port Moresby requesting Lange to attend Provincial Audit Committee meetings and provide the committee with the information it needs to carry out its investigations, a number of sources have stepped forward with further information.
These sources have revealed that rather than complying with the instructions from Port Moresby and assisting the committee the February meeting of the Audit Committee was cancelled as the Chair was ill and two subsequent scheduled meetings were cancelled as Lange was “not available”.
Finally, both Lange and his Treasurer, Soten Uriah, turned up to the June meeting (eight months after they had received their letters from the Department of Finance). The pair did table some reports but they were not circulated to the Committee members before the meeting . These were complex financial reports which required careful reading and consideration. When the Chair of the committee suggested that the start of the meeting be deferred for an hour or so to allow members time to read the reports, Lange said there was no time for that as he had to be leaving soon. The meeting was therefore unable to engage in any meaning consideration of the information provided.
The Chairman, as we know, subsequently resigned over the lack of cooperation from the Administrator and his failure to support efforts to tackle corruption.
The Madang Provincial administration is starting to leak like a sieve – which shows there are some honest public servants.
Madang Administrator Bernard Lange and his Treasurer have ignored instructions from the Department of Finance in Port Moresby to clean up the endemic corruption in their offices.
We have already revealed the Chair of the Madang Provincial Audit Committee has resigned over the lack of action on corruption and provided examples of the type of corruption that plagues the Province. In response a number of sources have come forward with further information.
The letters below show the Department of Finance in Port Moresby has had to write to both Lange and Treasurer Soten Uriah requiring they attend Provincial Audit Committee meetings set up to tackle instances of corruption. Sources have further confirmed that although both men have managed to attend at least one meeting of the Audit Committee since the letters were received they have failed to provide the Committee with the documentation and other information it has requested or to ensure other Divisional Heads attend and cooperate. This deprives the Committee of the information it requests and the authority required to fulfill its functions.
Madang Administrator Bernard Lange is refusing to acknowledge the considerable evidence of corruption within his organisation or do anything to deal with the problem.
The Chair of the Provincial Audit Committee has recently resigned over the indifference shown to its findings, as we revealed last week.
A further small example of the problems within the Province is shown in the photographs of a school classroom at Gum on the outskirts of Madang town. Bahubo Building Contractors was awarded the contract to build the classroom and work started in 2009 – but it has never been completed and the half-finished building is unusable. These is despite K100,000 having been paid out to the contractor.
The payments made were as follows: Cheque number 219719 dated 23/03/2009 for K50,000; Cheque number 222915 dated 22/09/2009 for K35,000; and Cheque number 227942 dated 14/12/2010 for K15,000. The last cheque was a final payment and when it was drawn all work on the classroom ceased.
Bahubo Building Contractors have been paid K100,000 out of tax payers money to build a much needed classroom but have never completed the job. The Madang Administration has taken no steps to ensure the work is completed or recover the money paid.
The Madang Administration and Bahubo Building Contractors have defrauded the people of Papua New Guinea and cheated the pupils, staff and parents of Gum school.
The Provincial Audit Committee in Madang has uncovered evidence of corruption by officials on a grand scale but that evidence is being wilfully ignored by the authorities.
The Chairman of the Madang Provincial Audit Committee has resigned because of the lack of support for his committee’s work from the Madang Provincial Administration and the Department of Finance.
Last year the Chairman of the Audit Committee wrote to both the Governor, Jim Kas, and the Department of Finance in Port Moresby expressing his concern about corruption but both letters went unanswered.
By Racheal Shisei
“Developers are here to put coins into your pocket and mine so don’t upset them.“ That’s from the Madang Provincial Administrator, Bernard Lange who chaired the meeting between the Transgogol Landowners of Madang and the Rimbunan Hijau (RH) Timber Logging Company. Lange told the Land Owners that Asian companies like RH, have contributed to a lot of development in the country, like building roads and bridges.
This meeting held at the Madang Provincial Government Conference room was to discuss why RH is trespassing on the Gogol road and paying royalties to Jant, the previous Logging Company in the area instead of the Land Owners, why RH is dumping wastes into the rivers, why it hasn’t constructed any proper bridges and improve the roads and why it started logging down trees in the area without consulting any of the Land Owners.
Most questions from the Land Owners were fired across the room to the Provincial Forest Officer, Eileen Kolokol who never attempted an answer, instead letting Administrator Lange speak for her all throughout. For a moment it seems the Administrator was covering for her before she could have a chance to speak, but her facial expression clearly showed she wasn’t going to like it was all planned. RH had a representative present to which, the Administrator was answering questions on their behalf like he did for Eileen the Forest Officer. In doing so the Administrator was in most cases only instructing one of his assistant officer to write down the direct questions which required straight forward answers from RH and the Forestry officer there and then.
One of the Land Owners fired back at the Administrator, the Forest Officer and the RH rep, asking what development they’re referring to in terms of roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. He pointed out that since the previous Taiwanese logging company Jant left the area with most of their kwila trees, no one hospital or school was constructed as promised and the roads built were only leading into areas where the company can access to cut down their trees. These roads are the dustiest and men, women and children often take cover when the big logging trucks speed by. He went on to ask if RH can be trusted from the way it has began operations without consulting them.
The meeting, controlled by the Administrator went for one and a half hour, ending with the Administrator promising the Land Owners that he will to seek ‘technical advise’ before he gets back to them with answers. In the meantime he says, companies like RH can continue to log and the Land Owners shouldn’t be setting up road blocks because they will only cause inconveniences to the mothers and children who want to travel to town, hospitals and schools.