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Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

Paul Paraka seeks K24 million payments

February 23, 2016 3 comments

paul_paraka

by STEVEN ANDRE, PNG Blogs

The law firm at the centre of fraud allegations involving the Prime Minister and many other high-ranking people in PNG is ‘striking again’.

In a letter dated 26th January 2016, Paul Paraka writes to Secretary for Finance, Dr Ken Ngangen, for some outstanding payments of K24.1 million. The bills comprised of a K12.940 million principal amount as purportedly confirmed by two National Court Orders in 2007 and interest component of K11.170 million. Mr Paraka claims that the bills were cleared by the Solicitor General in 2005 and two National Court orders subsequently confirmed it. He claims that the bills were not paid in the past because there were some Supreme Court cases pending and now that the cases had been concluded in July 2014, the Department of Finance is legally obliged to make these payments, failure to which would result in contempt of court proceedings. Mr Paraka refers to a letter by the Attorney General Ano Pala dated 6th July 2014 to then Commissioner of Police Geoffrey Vaki, where Mr Pala purportedly legitimized the payment of these legal bills.

On 2nd February 2016, Dr Ken Nangen wrote to Mr Paraka, acknowledging receipt of his claim and stated that he would conduct his due diligence, consult the relevant legal authorities and revert to him.

It is understood, the good secretary for finance wrote to the Attorney General a few days after that, seeking his advise on the Paraka’s claims in light of various civil and criminal proceedings currently on foot. It is not known the action taken by the sleazy Attorney General.

If one looks at how Paul Paraka has built his now debunked criminal network, it is evidentially clear that he had not been acting alone nor has he benefited alone. Paraka had the entire system from Prime Ministers down to the tea boys working for him –orchestrating his fraudulent payments. His subsequent arrest by the Taskforce Sweep team has exposed that criminal network.

One thing about this kind of habitual fraudsters is that they do not just write a random letter to lodge a claim. They act on purpose and coordinated. So at this time when the same bills are quarantined in various criminal and civil court cases including those ones involving Paraka himself and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Paraka is striking again. Is he acting alone? You bet.

The following circumstances should shed some light:-

1.     The mastermind of the Parakagate was Mr Paraka himself but he kept a low profile when PM O’Neill was brought to the fore to answer to criminal charges. It is understood PM stopped supporting Paraka and left him in the cold since PM was slapped with the arrest warrant. Paraka is understood to be fending for himself, by liquidating his assets and at times, smuggles bettlenuts into the city. Paraka is a frustrated man, having spent money and resources to fund PNC in the 2012 elections and defended many of PNC candidates election petitions for free. For some reason, Paraka refused to expose the PM and other high profile individuals who have benefited from the fraud. That has been his last arrow in his quiver –bargaining chip.

2.     Paraka’s fresh claims were coincidently lodged at the time when his [Paraka’s] favourite judge, the honourable Sir Bernard Sakora was scheduled to sit on an appeal concerning the PM O’Neill’s arrest warrant. It is understood Sakora took possession of the Supreme Court appeal file at the time when Paraka lodged his fresh claims. It was reported in the news that Sakora heard this matter on 4/2/16 but the decision which was scheduled to be handed down the next day, seems to be unusually delayed for at least 3 weeks now.

Controversial Sakora was the judge who issued a stay order in favour of Paul Paraka on a Saturday morning in Alotau in March 2010 to thwart the publication and implementation of the Commission of Inquiry into Finance Department Report. The court order remained on foot until December 2013 when the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia set it aside. Sakora is from nambis and Paraka from Highlands –what’s the connection?

Sakora is not new to controversy. [Part 2 of this article will cover more of that…..to be continued]

3.     In less than a week, Isaac Lupari, one of the venal individuals who is heavily featured in the Finance Commission of Inquiry and who had been a mastermind in managing PM’s Paraka related cases in court, was appointed as the Chief Secretary to Government.

Remember that back then, in 2006, it was the Chief Secretary Joshua Kalinoe who issued a stop payment on Paul Paraka legal bills payments and advised Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the same bills. Now we have a Chief Secretary who is closer to Paraka.

4.     Ano Pala is copied in the letter by Paul Paraka and interestingly, Dr Ngangen would seek Pala’s clarification on these bills. Pala’s reaction to this is unknown, but what is clear is that Pala is responsible for all legal representations on behalf of the PM.

The Merits of Paraka’s Claims

It appears on the face of it that Secretary Ngangen properly referred the bills to the Attorney General. However, what is worrying is the fact that the same Attorney General (Pala) may be acting in cohorts with Paraka given that Pala previously came out in the public claiming that Paraka’s bills were legitimate. The letter Paraka claims to have been written by Pala dated 6th July 2014 is also a concern as now Paraka is relying on it to lodge fresh claims when the cases concerning the merits of the same bills are believed to be litigated in court. Also note that Paraka copied his letter to Pala.

Mr Paraka claims that the Supreme Court on 4 July 2014 concluded the Supreme Court cases and without stating the details of that decision, he manipulates it with the impression that the Supreme Court decision did not have any effect his reliance on the National Court orders which he claims are still on foot. From my recollection, the Supreme Court made adverse findings against Paraka and heavily criticized him and the orders were discharged.  A legal contact supplied me with the case citation -Kalinoe v Paul Paraka Lawyers [2014] PGSC 38; SC1366 (10 July 2014) where the Court, in upholding the appeal by the State, specifically ruled “Except only for the orders granting leave, the decision and orders of the National Court in National Court proceedings, OS 829 of 2006 and OS 876 of 2006, respectively arrived at on 17th November 2006 and 02nd March 2007 are quashed and set aside.”

I recall Ano Pala misinterpreted that Supreme Court decision, in almost verbatim of Paraka’s letter, that the bills are now cleared and no criminality in it. The Supreme Court compelled him to appear and explain. Pala almost went to jail for it. Isn’t it surprising that the position Pala took then, is the same position reflected in Paraka’s letter??

Conclusion

Paraka is not acting alone. In light of what I have highlighted above, it leads me to a convincing theory, that there is some conspiracy at play. That conspiracy has got to do with Sakora dealing with the case involving PM O’Neill’s arrest warrant. And the connection to Sakora is Paraka. Paraka wants these payments to be made in return for a favourable decision –probably to stay the trial hearing which is scheduled to take place on 3rd March 2016. PM has been trying all his best with the courts and hired the best lawyers but his attempts were in vain. According to records available in the public domain, this is the first time Sakora sits on a Paraka related case since his Alotau order. My contacts within the judiciary tell me that Sakora is crazy and he can make crazy decisions.

You have Ano Pala and Isaac Lupari strategically positioned to facilitate these kinds of deals. These guys are openly defying the social norms and structures. They don’t have a single moral impulse remaining in them to impose restraint on their actions.  They are taking the cue from their master –PO. Their persistent tendencies to commit crimes are becoming like infectious disease.

Attachments: Paul Paraka Lawyers letter to Finance Secretary and the response therefrom.

1

2

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4

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 973 days and counting…

February 22, 2016 1 comment

count

There is still no sign of any action to undo the huge SABL land grab, revoke the unlawful leases or stop the illegal logging.

It is 973 days, since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be cancelled.

On June 24, 2013 O’Neill was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

sabl cartoon

For more than two-and-a-half years O’Neill has REPEATEDLY told us the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

In September 2013 O’Neill said in Parliament:

“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”

In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision supposedly cancelling the leases, O’Neill said

“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”

“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people” 

The ex Chief Secretary has also admitted the leases are a scam:

“It is widely known that vast amounts of pristine forest have been logged to enrich a corrupt few people, while landowners have unknowingly lost their most valuable asset – their land”.

But, still no action has been taken to cancel the leases or stop the logging. Indeed, Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa, has declared the logging companies are effectively above the law, He says the SABL logging is legal and he will not be taking action to stop it.

So, despite all the promises, the fact is landowners are receiving no support from the government in their battles and against the land grabbing and WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 973 days O’Neill has failed to ensure the SABL leases are revoked and he has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

Something stinks! Foreign owned companies serving poison on PNG plates

February 19, 2016 1 comment

fried-rice

Under Section 3 of the Investment Promotion Regulations 1992 certain business areas are reserved for citizens, including ‘Fast Food Take-away/Kai bars of all descriptions including mobile delivery food service’.

‘Really’, you say? Yes really, that is what the regulations actually say.

Though this hasn’t prevented Chinese nationals Xing Wu Zhou and Zhongshen Zhang from setting up Kai bars through their company J & Z Trading Limited. And wait to you hear what they have been serving up to their hosts in Madang.

On 11 March 2007 husband and wife Anita and Andrew Baikisa purchased fried rice from J & Z, before enjoying their lunch under the shade of a tree. The enjoyment was short lived.

Hidden underneath the top layer of rice was a festering pit of mould. This was a free extra they could have done without!

But here is where it gets interesting. Anita and Andrew aren’t your everyday consumer. They didn’t throw away the food, go home, get sick. They got sick alight, but not before they alerted the authorities.

The couple reported the shop to Sergeant Toby Kamseboda. After Sergeant Kamseboda tasted the food, he immediately took the couple to the local health inspector to report the incident. Later that night the couple were violently ill. When they presented at the General Hospital Doctors found the couple suffering from severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration.

The Baikisa’s then took legal action.  Last week the National Court found J & Z Trading Limited guilty of negligence.

But why did it have to get this far?

With assets of over K10 million this Chinese business has done well out of the Kai bar trade, but this is business reserved for Papua New Guineas. Why isn’t the Investment Promotion Authority enforcing the regulations? Why aren’t the health authorities inspecting and fining these companies when their hygiene standards are so obviously low.

According to the former Chair of Political Sciences at UPNG, James Chin, J & Z are not alone. Many foreign nationals are entering the country illegally then flouting the law. Looking at Chinese mainland migrants, he writes once they have bribed their way in, they ‘immediately start small trading concerns, selling cheap Chinese consumer projects such as electronic goods and clothes. Others establish ‘kai bars’ (fast food outlets) and Chinese restaurants. All these businesses are illegal because such commercial activities are reserved for nationals … Other illegal operations run by mainland Chinese in PNG include brothels and money laundering’.

This is not about race or ethnicity, no one deserves to be judged on the colour of their skin. This is about foreign business people coming into PNG with a view to exploiting weaknesses in law enforcement and regulation. Whether it be forestry, mining or services, why are foreign entities allowed to monopolise our resources, avoid taxes, damage our environment, make our people sick and avoid justice.

Something stinks, and it isn’t just Anita and Andrew’s fried rice!

Bougainville’s Vice President and the half-million expense account

February 18, 2016 2 comments

On Monday PNG Exposed published 2014 payments made to Bougainville’s President and First Lady, outside of salaries. Over K800,000 had been paid out to the President and his wife, in cash advances, allowances, travel, and payments to the First Lady’s catering business.

Today we publish payments made to Bougainville’s Vice President Patrick Nisira.  Over K597,772 had been paid to the Vice President. Of particular concern are the large advances made.

Papua New Guinea’s Auditor General has repeatedly raised concerns over financial management and bookkeeping within the ABG, which means advances are often not properly accounted for or acquitted.

However, there is no publicly available evidence which would allow us to say whether these expenses incurred by Vice President Nisira, have or haven’t been properly accounted for. This is a matter their Department of Treasury and Finance would need to confirm.

Nevertheless, at a time when a cash-starved ABG struggles to meet its obligations, it is critical full and transparent account is made of public moneys. Every Kina wasted is a new school place, a teacher, a health post or a road.

Sadly this information has only been made public because of brave public servants concerned over public finance management. This information should be published freely so our representatives fully account for their expenditure.

Payee

Amount (Kina)

Description

Date

Ref. No.

Patrick Nisira

198074.95

Outstanding Allowances

23-12-14

42765

Patrick Nisira

80000

Advance.

25-04-14

5964

Patrick Nisira

60000

Advance.

25-04-14

5964

CASH Patrick Nisira

34700

Advance – Halia Sports Awards.

12/09/2014

7671

Patrick Nisira

32500

2014 1st Qtr Support Grant.

31-01-14

154588

CASH Patrick Nisira

31300

Advance for Various Youth Groups.

11/12/2014

7493

Patrick Nisira

25000

1st Qtr Development Grant.

25-02-14

154748

Patrick Nisira

25000

2nd Qtr Constituency Support Grant.

31-03-14

155014

Patrick Nisira

25000

2014 3rd Qtr Constituency Support Grant.

10/02/2014

156123

Nisira Patrick

17500

4th quarter support grant

18-12-14

41949

Patrick Nisira

12426.62

Backdated salaries

18-12-14

41930

Patrick Nisira

10064.64

Additional Travel Allowance.

28-05-14

34438

Patrick Nisira

10000

Advance.

13-06-14

155385

Patrick Nisira

8000

Advance.

06/10/2014

155340

Patrick Nisira

7372.8

Travel Allowance.

13-05-14

6187

Patrick Nisira

7362.5

Travel Allowance.

06/12/2014

155357

CASH Patrick Nisira

3000

Advance.

28-04-14

33403

Patrick Nisira

1500

Sitting Allowance.

04/11/2014

155036

Patrick Nisira

1178

Travel Allowance.

03/07/2014

154829

Patrick Nisira

1121

Travel Allowance.

07/01/2014

35944

Patrick Nisira

1000

Travel Allowance.

13-03-14

154914

Patrick Nisira

1000

Travel Allowance.

21-02-14

154718

Patrick Nisira

900

Sitting Allowance.

30-06-14

155625

Patrick Nisira

800

O/S Sitting Allowance.

21-02-14

154707

Patrick Nisira

800

Travel Allowance.

08/04/2014

155795

Patrick Nisira

600

Sitting Allowance.

06/03/2014

155290

Patrick Nisira

521

Travel Allowance.

06/10/2014

155340

Patrick Nisira

400

Travel Allowance.

27-06-14

155592

Patrick Nisira

350

Cash Reimbursement.

25-06-14

155520

Patrick Nisira

300

Sitting Allowance.

05/09/2014

155123

 

Total

K597,772

The Great Timber Heist: Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Lost as Foreign Logging Companies Evade Taxes

February 17, 2016 Leave a comment

timber heist

The Oakland Institute

A new report released today, The Great Timber Heist – The Logging in Papua New Guinea [pdf file – 650kb] exposes massive tax evasion and financial misreporting by foreign logging companies, allegedly resulting in nonpayment of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

Papua New Guinea is home to the world’s third largest rainforest. After the lease of 5.5 million hectares of land in recent years through the Special Agriculture and Business Lease scheme, today over 15 million hectares–more than one third of the country–are in the hands of foreign firms.

With land and vital natural resources taken away from traditional owners, PNG has become the world’s largest exporter of tropical wood.

Timber companies argue that logging is an important source of tax income needed for country’s development. The new exposé, The Great Timber Heist, based on field research and analysis of hundreds of financial documents and tax records of the logging companies, details how the use of dubious mechanisms allows them to evade taxes.

rh tax losses

“Despite decades of operations in PNG, logging companies barely declare any profit. The official tax filings of many firms report losses year after year. Any other business would have shut down by now. So why are they still in business if they don’t make profits?” said Frederic Mousseau, author of the report.

“Through transfer pricing -underpricing exports and overpricing expenses, the logging industry is able to evade paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes–vitally needed revenue for the country,” he continued.

log price comparison

The Great Timber Heist examines specifically 16 subsidiary members of the largest logging firm in PNG– Malaysian multinational Rimbunan Hijau Group. These companies, working mostly at a loss, have accumulated over $30 million of tax credit in just seven years. This will allow them not to pay income tax any time in the years to come.

In 2011, the PNG government launched a Commission of Inquiry into land leases, which found widespread fraud, corruption, and lack of proper consultations with the local communities. Despite these findings, no action has been taken to cancel leases and return land to the traditional owners

“The belief that logging will translate into development for the country is devastating for the people and the environment in PNG. We hope our research will help the policy makers see how the logging companies are pulling wool over their eyes and prompt them to take urgent action to end the harmful practices of the industry,” continued Mousseau.

The Lavish Life of the President and First Lady in Cash Starved Bougainville

February 16, 2016 7 comments

john momis

While the Autonomous Bougainville Government looks to mining and litigation to fill a significant gap in its accounts, it appears the region’s fiscal woes hasn’t put a break on the spending habits of President Momis and his wife.

Data leaked by demoralised civil servants within the ABG, reveal that the President and Bougainville’s First Lady spent, or received in total K815,298 (A$374,208) in cash advances, allowances, travel and service payments during 2014 alone. This is all in addition to the President’s actually salary.

K719,046 in allowances and advances flowed through the President’s own hands, while his wife benefited from extensive travel, in addition to payments for ‘catering services’ and ‘car hire’, amounting to approximately K136,328.

As the President warns his citizens they must sell their natural resources off to foreign investors in order to see his government through these difficult fiscal times, it remains to be seen whether the political classes will cut back on their extravagant expense accounts and wayward spending.

We won’t hold our breath.

JOHN MOMIS – 2014 PAYMENTS

  • K306,217.98    John Momis – Outstanding Allowance, 23-12-14, Ref No. 42768
  • K40,076.7 Airfares for President/Lady Momis/Masiu, 30-07-14 Ref No. 155782
  • K32,500 John Momis – 1st Qtr Support Grant, 31-01-14, Ref No. 154595
  • K31,088 Cash John Momis T/A, 17-12-14, Ref No. 31088
  • K25,000 John Momis Constituency Support Grant, 14-02-14, Ref No. 154665
  • K25,000 John Momis 2nd Qtr Constituency Support Grant, 31-03-14, Ref No. 155016
  • K25,000 John Momis 3rd Qtr Constituency Support Grant, 16-10-14, Ref No. 156194
  • K21,495.85, John Momis Travel Allowance, 21-02-14, Ref No. 154723
  • K20,001.39 John Momis backdated salaries, 18-12-14, Ref No.41885
  • K20,000 John Momis advance, 28-04-14, Ref No. 5969
  • K17,500 John Momis 4th quarter support grant, 18-12-14, Ref No. 41931
  • K15,280 John Momis, cash, travel allowance, 06-12-2014, Ref No.6529
  • K13,186 John Momis, cash, advance, 30-07-14, Ref No. 155783
  • K11,562 John Momis Travel Allowance, 30-07-14, Ref No. 155780
  • K11,321 Cash John Momis Additional T/Allo, 29-08-14, Ref No. 155960
  • K10,699 John Momis, Cash, Travelling Allowance, 30-09-14, Ref No.156110
  • K10,500 Cash John L Momis,  Advance, 06-12-2014, Ref No. 35152
  • K10,000 Cash John Momis, Advance, 17-04-14, Ref No. 5945
  • K10,000 Cash John Momis, Advance, 13-05-14, Ref No. 6185
  • K10,000 Cash John Momis, Assistance to Late Chris Bengo, 21-03-14, Ref No. 154960.
  • K8,300 Cash John Momis, Additional Travel Allowance, 10-09-2014, Ref No.156172
  • K7,280 Cash John Momis Advance, 24-07-14, Ref No. 155757
  • K6,808 John Momis Travel Allowance, 05-07-2014, Ref No. 6145
  • K6,808 John Momis Travel Allowance, 05-09-2014, Ref No. 6151
  • K5340  John Momis Travel Allowance. 24-09-14, Ref No. 156033
  • K5,100 Cash John Momis Advance. 16-04-14, Ref No. 33202
  • K5,000 Cash John Momis Advance 26-06-14 Ref no. 35728
  • K5,000 John Lawrence Momis Advance. 27-05-14, Ref No. 6295
  • K4,708 John Momis Cash Advance for Accommodation. 05-09-2014, Ref no. 6152
  • K4,078 John Lawrence Momis Advance,  05-07-2014, Ref No. 6145
  • K3507.6 John Momis O/S Travel Allowance, 14-03-14, Ref No. 154921
  • K2229.4 Air fare for President John Momis, 30-01-15, Ref No. 4188
  • K1,500 John Momis Sitting Allowance, 04-11-2014 Ref No. 155038
  • K1,500 John Momis Sitting Allowance, 30-06-14, Ref No. 155628
  • K1,477 John Momis, Cash, Travel Allowance.            15-10-14, Ref No. 156189
  • K1,000 John Lawrence Momis Travel Allowance. 27-05-14 Ref No. 6295
  • K800    John Momis O/S Sitting Allowance. 25-02-14, Ref No.154762
  • K721    John Momis Travel Allowance. 26-06-14, Ref No.35723
  • K721    John Momis T/Allow, 16-01-14, Ref No.154569
  • K300    John Momis Sitting Allowance, 05-09-2014, Ref No. 155127
  • K300    John Momis Sitting Allowance, 06-03-2014, Ref No. 155297
  • K140    John Momis Travel Allowance, 24-09-14, Ref No. 156043

ELIZABETH MOMIS – 2014 PAYMENTS

  • K40,076.7 Airfares for President/Lady Momis/Masiu, 30-07-14 Ref No. 155782
  • K13,000 Elizabeth Momis, cash, catering services, 25-09-14, Ref No. 39048
  • K7,000 Elizabeth Momis, cash, Catering Services, 09-11-14, Ref No. 38447
  • K6907.7 Elizabeth Momis, Reimbursement of Own Monies, 26-02-14, Ref No. 154773
  • K6906.7, Elizabeth Momis, Reimbursement of Own Monies, 25-02-14, Ref No.154738
  • K5,776, Elizabeth Momis Travel Allowance, 30-07-14, Ref No. 155781
  • K5,716 Elizabeth Momis Cash Reimbursement, 08-04-2014, Ref No. 155797
  • K4,083.7 Elizabeth Momis Cash Reimbursement. 29-08-14, Ref No. 155958
  • K4,000 Elizabeth Momis Catering Invoice. 18-02-14, Ref No. 32177
  • K3,500 Elizabeth Momis Vehicle Hire Invoice, 06-12-2014, Ref No. 6524
  • K2,739.5, Elizabeth Momis, 17-12-14, Ref No. 7789
  • K2,500, Elizabeth Momis Vehicle Hire – Invoice, 15-09-14 Ref No. 156000
  • K1,800, Elizabeth Momis Cash Reimbursement, 27-06-14, Ref No.155607
  • K749.5 Elizabeth Momis, Travelling Allowance, 30-09-14, Ref.156109
  • K660.5, Elizabeth Momis Additional T/Allow, 29-08-14, Ref No. 155959    

UNITY RESTAURANT – BUSINESS REGISTERED TO ELIZABETH MOMIS – 2014 PAYMENTS

  • K15,000, Unity Restaurant, Catering – Invoice, 22/05/14 Ref No. 34145;
  • K7,000 Unity Restaurant, Catering Services – Invoice 3162459, 25/04/14, Ref No. 5968;
  • K4,000 Unity Restaurant Catering – Invoice 367917, 06/03/2014, Ref No. 6375;
  • K3,000 Unity Restaurant, Additional Charges – Invoice 3162467. 27/06/14, Ref No. 6771;
  • K1,910 Unity Restaurant  Catering – Invoice 3162451. 26-02-14 Ref No. 154771

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 966 days and counting…

February 15, 2016 Leave a comment

966

sabl cartoon

px-logo land grabbing

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

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