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Posts Tagged ‘Manumanu’

Take Action On The Manumanu Land Deal

April 25, 2018 Leave a comment

See also –‘Gross manipulation and dishonesty’ over Manumanu land deals

Source: Post Courier Editorial

The K2 million administrative inquiry into the K46 million Manumanu land deal must not be a waste of hard earned public money and time.

Already the property of Parliament, this report presented last week by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill as promised in the public interest, must now be decisively acted upon.

Its recommendations are crucial for establishing the formal terms of reference a formal Commission of Inquiry must operate under when it is set up.

And senior Government Ministers, politicians and senior public servants were implicated in the entire saga. It is only fair that the COI is established so that these people can be cleared.

But a COI can only be set up after final deliberation by the Supreme Court on the questions now before it to interpret regarding its process and relevance to such public inquiries.

And like Prime Minister O’Neill said, the process has not in any case prevented other investigating authorities including the police fraud squad, Ombudsman Commission and the Personnel Management Department from undertaking their own actions as they deem appropriate relating to the same matter.

Pending the final Supreme Court resolution of the reference on COIs, it should not be too difficult to deduce from the initial TOR of the administrative inquiry what should be pursued by relevant authorities now that the report has been tabled in Parliament.

The John Griffin QC led inquiry delivered as expected after their investigations since December, and good advice is now needed on progressing what has been recommended be it prosecution or further inquisition into the conduct of the people, public servants, Ministers and traditional landowners involved in the deal.

The initial assurance given by the Prime Minister when appointing QC Griffin and his team must be honoured in order to maintain the integrity of their findings and to also offset the due process of further perusal of the K46 million deal.

Mr O’Neill said then that the appointment will not prevent on-going investigations of the police fraud squad, the Ombudsman Commission and the Department of Personnel Management in respect of the staff and senior public servants that have been implicated in the matter.

He announced that the inquiry would look into the role of relevant Ministers, the role of relevant departmental heads and their officers, and heads of various state owned enterprises.

He said then that it would look at the role of the management of many of these organisations, the role of the Valuer General in terms of the valuations of the land that was purchased, and of course the recommendations of the inquiry was to be made to Cabinet within four weeks and a report to be Parliament on the findings.

That has already been achieved as promised by the Government.

But what is needed now is progressive action in order to conclude the findings and ensure any breaches of the law, corruption, abuse of office and criminal actions on the part of identified perpetrators are effectively brought to justice.

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‘Gross manipulation and dishonesty’ over Manumanu land deals

April 24, 2018 1 comment

Ministers Pok and Duma have still to be cleared over their involvement in Manumanu land deal

“Gross amount of manipulation and dishonesty between the three key state agencies including Kumul Consolidated Holdings Limited, Defence Department and Lands Department”.

Source: The National

THE disappearance of files from the Lands Department on the Manumanu land deal points to “corruption” and “conspiracy”, according to an inquiry.

The report of the inquiry into the land transactions and deals by the Ministry of Public Enterprise and State Investment, and Ministry of Defence, was recently handed over by chairman John Anthony
Griffin QC to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

“The fact that the Lands Department files disappeared strongly supports the proposition that there was corruption involved and there is circumstantial evidence which supports the notion that there
was a wide-ranging conspiracy, such as the lengths some personnel in the Lands Department have gone through in removing all the files containing evidence relating to the transaction,” the report stated.

It said it needed a full investigation “to uncover the conspiracy”.

The report highlighted that the valuation of land Portion 406 at the cost of K46.6 million was so far in excess of the true value and was “fraudulently high”.

It said the Defence Council did not approve the land purchase “nor was there any feasibility studies being done on that portion of the land prior to the acquisition”.

The inquiry cleared the Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited, State Solicitor, Land Titles Commission and their department heads of any wrongdoing.

It said there was a “gross amount of manipulation and dishonesty between the three key state agencies including Kumul Consolidated Holdings Limited, Defence Department and Lands Department”.

Ten month delay on Manumanu inquiry is unacceptable

December 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has been vocal in the media recently telling anti-corruption warriors to be patient and wait for the results of an administrative inquiry into the alleged illegal Manumanu land deals – transactions involving millions of kina in state funds and hundreds of hectares of land.

See also:

But it has already been ten months since the scandal erupted in the media. It was early February when the Prime Minister promised three investigations, a Commission of Inquiry (later downgraded to an Administrative Inquiry) a police fraud squad investigation and an Ombudsman Commission inquiry.

Now the Prime Minister says the Administrative Inquiry is yet to complete its investigations and the results will be known in an ‘appropriate timeframe’ but given no clue as to what that means.

Meanwhile the people implicated in the scandal and their party are back at the heart of government and the police and Ombudsman Commission are completely silent.

Justice delayed is justice denied and we are all victims of government corruption; corruption that O’Neill is happy to see continue while he sits on his hands.

Transparency International cries foul over appointment of Duma

August 7, 2017 5 comments

In February William Duma was suspended now he is back at the very heart of government

In February Prime Minister Peter O’Neill suspended Ministers William Duma and Fabian Pok and announced a Commission of Inquiry into their role in the Manumanu military base and land scandal.

That Commission of Inquiry has never happened, but in the meantime the revelations about Mr Duma and his connection to various corrupt land deals have only intensified, as these stories illustrate:

But now, in one of his first acts as Prime Minister since the controversial elections, Peter O’Neill has reappointed Duma a Minister in his caretaker Cabinet. The Mt Hagen MP and United Resources Party Leader, has his hands back on the Petroleum and Energy portfolio and will also handle Housing and Urbanisation, Public Enterprise and State Investments, Transport, Agriculture and Livestock!

Transparency International is outraged, as we all should be. TIPNG is calling on the Prime Minster to keep his promise to the people, and revoke the appointment of Duma.

In a statement, TIPNG says Peter O’Neill, is on public record as making a clear commitment to the people that the estimated K2m Administrative Inquiry will examine the details of the Manumanu land deal.

TIPNG says so far, Mr O’Neill has fallen short of his own standards with no publication of the findings of the inquiry, and now the reappointment of Mr. Duma with no consideration of his promise to the people.

It says Papua New Guineans expect leaders to be cleared of all alleged serious wrong-doings before they are entrusted to make decisions which will affect the people.

Why an ICAC is needed, not another fruitless inquiry

March 10, 2017 1 comment

Source: ACT NOW! 

The Prime Minister’s announcement of an Administrative Inquiry into the Manumanu land deals and naval base relocation is just another exercise in covering up corruption and avoiding justice.

We have seen numerous lengthy and expensive Commission’s of Inquiry over the years but no action to address the corrupt behavior they uncover. It will be the same with the latest inquiry, whether it is termed as a Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Inquiry.

This is because such inquiries lack a crucial power – the power to take action against those revealed to be involved in corruption; instead all they can do is make recommendations, recommendations that, history tells us, usually get ignored.

Such inquiries are also flawed because their initial timeframes and budgets are often insufficient when they uncover so much wrongdoing. This leads to delays and sometimes the inquiries end up taking several years. They can also lack political independence, being appointed directly by the Prime Minister, and their reports can be hard to access.

This is why Papua New Guinea desperately needs a well-funded Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) with the power to immediately investigate and prosecute allegations of corrupt behaviour.

The Government of Peter O’Neil was elected in 2012 on a promise to combat corruption at all levels through the establishment of an ICAC. It has failed to deliver on that promise, and instead it continues to waste public funds on administrative inquiries whose recommendations are usually never implemented, and sometimes, not even published.

In 2013, the Commission of Inquiry into Special Agricultural Business Lease recommended forty unlawful leases be revoked, but those recommendations continue to be ignored. Crucially the Commission also failed to report on one-third of the leases investigated and failed to identify with clarity the government officers responsible for the unlawful land grab or recommend action against them.

In 2014, there was the Commission of Inquiry into Law Firm Brief Outs, that report has never been published.

Prior to that, a Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance found K 780 million in public funds had been stolen and recommended the prosecution of a list of 35 persons.  Almost none of those persons have been arrested or charged.

And whatever happened to the Commission of Inquiry into the Investment Corporation, Defence Force Retirement Fund and National Provident Fund? Where are those reports now and why has so little action been taken?

Corruption in this country is prevalent in all sectors of society and its impacts are far-reaching! Corrupt activities are not just carried out by public office holders. It is really a collaborative effort of individuals from elected officials, appointed public and constitutional office holders, clergymen, civil servants, foreign and local companies, business associates and even family members of these individuals!

It is for this reason a well-resourced, self-funded, Independent Commission Against Corruption with wide powers is needed to investigate and prosecute corrupt individuals – not another pointless inquiry.

Jimmy Maladina’s Australian silk recruited by PM O’Neill to lead Duma/Pok inquiry

March 8, 2017 2 comments

Having promised a Commission of Inquiry, under the predicted Chairmanship of (Rtd) Judge Graham Ellis, who cut his teeth in the National and Supreme Court during the 1990s, working a number of high profile anti-corruption inquiries, PM O’Neill has been in reverse gear ever since. 

This culminated first in an announcement by the Attorney General, that his government had somehow overlooked court proceedings barring any Commission of Inquiry from being convened.

John Griffin QC

Then we learnt yesterday that an ‘administrative inquiry’ would be convened, under the leadership of John Griffin QC.

John Griffin QC is most well-known for dashing the hopes of the country, when he managed to secure for his client Jimmy Maladina, a suspended sentence after the latter confessed to misappropriating K2.65 million during his tenure as Chairman of the National Provident Fund, a time when he was joined at the corporate hip to Peter O’Neill. The court let Maladina go with a suspended 8 year sentence, and a 2 year good behaviour bond. On the other hand, a middle man Maladina acted through received 6 years prison.

Later Griffin managed to get even Maladina’s conviction overturned by the Court, despite the fact Maladina ‘admitted freely that he had committed the offence’.

Given Jimmy Maladina declared himself bankrupt, and claims to have sold off his Australian properties to pay restitution – it can only be assumed Maladina has good friends who could pay for a silk of Griffin’s stature.

However, with a budget of K2 million for this ‘administrative inquiry’ into Duma/Pok, paying for high priced silks will not be a problem.

We are told the inquiry began on 7 March, and will continue for 4 weeks, with a finishing date of 28 March. Ahem, that’s actually 3 weeks!

For this 3 week work period,  the commission will have a budget of K666,666 – perhaps an appropriate enough sum! Even if the entire commission team furiously shovelled kina into an open fire, they couldn’t physically burn this sum of cash in three weeks.

If we assume Griffin QC is paid K85,000 per week – the sort of sum a QC fetches – that gets us through K255,000 over the three week period. You would need a team of 8 QCs working around the clock to expend this K2 million budget.

We assume in the interests of ‘accountability and transparency’, to quote the PM, he will publish the inquiry’s budget in full?

As we watch O’Neill’s stance over Manumanu dilute on a daily basis, it must be asked – did the PM overplay his original hand against Duma and Pok, and are we now seeing all parties backtrack so they can resume cordial relations at the top of the trough following this year’s national elections? 

Will Prime Minister O’Neill crumble before NEC opponents over Manumanu COI?

March 1, 2017 5 comments

pok-and-duma

When evidence was made public on 1 February this year, linking the State Enterprises Minister, Defence Minister and Chair of the Central Supply and Tender Board, to a major land swindle, Prime Minister O’Neill swiftly announced a Commission of Inquiry.  

He appeared to have his ducks lined up. The ABC reported just five days later that a retired judge was to be appointed head of the COI. 

Two names were thrown around in the social media, Warwick Andrews and Graham Ellis.

Odds are it was the latter who had been approached by O’Neill. 

After all, Ellis had previously been asked by the NEC to Chair the Interim Anti-Corruption Office. However, this appointment has been blocked by a court injunction, which wont be heard until April. 

This has left Ellis in limbo. Cue the role as head of the Commission of Inquiry.

However, evidence coming from within the NEC indicates that Minister for Public Services, Puka Temu, among others, have deep reservations over O’Neill’s choice.

If the appointment is Ellis, this makes sense.

When he was a National Court Judge from 1990-1992, and 2009-2011, he had a reputation for effectively clearing out case backlogs and swiftly getting the wheels of justice into gear. The Poreporena Freeway Commission of Inquiry he chaired in 1992 was completed within 8 weeks and under budget. He also Chaired a 1991 Leadership Tribunal that led to the famous resignation of Ted Diro.

For a Minister such as Puka Temu, whose own connections with William Duma’s sticky fingers, has been documented by the National Court – the news that a no-nonsense judge, with a reputation of being fiercely independent, may not have come as welcomed news. 

It is not clear how the struggle within NEC will turn out. But it stands to reason if the retired Judge already appointed to head the country’s premiere anti-corruption office is selected, it is a sign that substance has trumped expediency. On the other hand, if we see hands ruffle down to the bottom of the barrel, we can safely assume a certain Prime Minister is being held over it – and is prepared to set up a COI, that will be little more than a whitewash.