Posts Tagged ‘Prime Minister’

The Midas Touch and Papua New Guinea’s kleptocracy

August 30, 2017 3 comments

Papua New Guinea’s new investigative website, PNGi Central, has published an in-depth examination of the career of Peter O’Neill that has largely escaped notice in the chaos of the elections.

Published in three parts – Secret Millionaire; The Big Skim; and Lift OffThe Midas Touch lifts the lid on how corruption thrives in Papua New Guinea and how politicians abuse their positions and milk the system to build considerable private fortunes.

The Midas Touch shows Papua New Guinea as a classic kleptocratic state ruled by a small elite or oligarchy, who exploit the nations natural resources and steal. They enrich themselves at the expense of the majority. This kleptocracy is currently led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Over the last twenty-years, O’Neill has abused his various political positions to enrich himself by building a network of companies that have benefited from government and foreign aid contracts, soft loans and broader policy decisions.

While in public office it is estimated that O’Neill has amassed a personal fortune of well over K150 million, all the while juggling complex conflicts of interest as his companies have benefited from government policy and spending decisions.

In addition:

  • O’Neill liquidated assets valued at more than K100 million in the lead up to this year’s national  elections;
  • His hidden corporate interests include shareholdings in more than 30 companies including hospitality, real estate, finance, retailing, air transport, communications, information technology, mining support, funeral services and construction;
  • His companies have been given contracts by the Australian government and Asian Development Bank, among others, and are frequently used by the mining and other foreign-owned industries;
  • He has directly benefited from fraudulent land and property dealings documented in two Commission’s of Inquiry; and
  • O’Neil has completely failed to comply with companies legislation on the timely, proper and complete filing of financial returns.

According to The Midas Touch, the story of O’Neill’s business empire starts in 1997, when O’Neill was plucked from obscurity and appointed to positions in various State Owned Enterprises by the notoriously corrupt Prime Minister, William Skate. O’Neill immediately started to use these positions to enrich himself and his his business partners.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though, O’Neill flirted with disaster when many of his early scams became the subject of two major Commission’s of Inquiry into the National Provident Fund and Investment Corporation. O’Neill survived however, and used his election as an MP and subsequent appointment to various Ministerial positions to substantially grow his business empire, an empire that has flourished since O’Neill seized the Prime Ministership in 2011.

Along this journey, O’Neill has surrounded himself with a small group of close associates, many of them Australian’s, who run his companies and with a coterie of businessmen and lawyers who have profited from his abuses and protected him from scrutiny.

Here is a quick summary of what you will find in the three parts of The Midas Touch.

Part 1. Secret Millionaire: How Peter O’Neill and associates have made a killing 

In the space of 20 years, Peter O’Neill has built a business and political empire. Secret Millionaire introduces us to the businesses and the players behind O’Neill’s rise and his early years as a student, accountant and struggling businessman before his big break when he is appointed head of various SOEs.

Part Two. The Big Skim: Peter O’Neill Inc meets Don Sawong and Tos Barnett

In 2003 and 2007 the O’Neill empire was rocked by two COIs. Part II of The Midas Touch looks into the unwieldy scams, and shams, it is alleged Peter O’Neill became an expert in.

Part Three. Lift Off: Prime Minister, Millionaire

As O’Neill’s political career went from strength to strength after 2011, so did his business empire. Part III of The Midas Touch looks into some of the more controversial deals and contacts that led O’Neill to become one of the richest men in PNG.


Peter O’Neill’s arguments do not stand scrutiny

June 3, 2016 1 comment

Dilu Goma

Peter O’Neill’s argument against stepping down or resigning as Prime Minister in order to allow law enforcement authorities to do their job of investigating allegations of crimes or misconduct in office is that there is no ‘evidence’ of any wrongdoing on his part. Based on this, he has fought tooth and nail, both in court and out of court, to stay on in the office of Prime Minister of PNG. The out of court tactics he has used (killing the Task Force Sweep, changing justice minister, removing police commissioner, trying to remove the chief magistrate, etc) are clear signs of a power-hungry individual. The in-court battles he has fought will not come out in his favor in the end, because lawful processes of the Police, Prosecution, Leadership Tribunal, etc are all guaranteed under the Constitution, and the Supreme Court is likely to uphold this clear principle of good governance.

Two fallacies of O’Neill’s argument concerning ‘lack of evidence’ are as follows.

One, it is not for him to determine whether there is evidence of any wrongdoing, because only a court can make that determination. And the ridiculous thing is that when the court (and Tribunal) want to make this determination, he finds a way to put a stop to that. So, it seems that only HIM will continue to make this determination, albeit only temporary. I do not believe the Constitution has given him (or any body else who has been alleged to gave committed a crime) to make such a determination. Everyone else submits to the due process of the law, so who is Peter O’Neill to not to do the same? If it is because he is the Prime Minister, then this is a clear abuse of his office. Indeed, it really should be the other way around; i.e., because he is the Prime Minister he should be the first person in the country to show respect for the public office he holds and do two three things: one, he should resign from office; two, he should voluntarily attend at the police station and answer questions that the police have; and three, he should cooperate with the police and leadership code authorities to have any case started against him heard and determined. I would say that that would be the marks of a true leader who cares about protecting the integrity of the office of Prime Minister. This is not to say that he will forgo his individual Constitutional rights, because the recognition of his rights are integral in the legal processes involved, and so his rights will be observed as a matter of course.

Two, the only criteria under the Leadership Code (s.27 Constitution) that Peter O’Neill (or any other such leader) is required by this Code to be concerned about is to ask himself if his conduct (or what is alleged against him) may give rise to ‘doubt in the public mind’ as to whether he ‘could’ have a conflict of interest or he ‘might’ be compromised or his conduct ‘demeans’ the office of Prime Minister or his conduct has allowed the integrity of the office of Prime Minister to be called into question or his conduct has endangered or diminished the respect for and confidence in the integrity of government of PNG. The general public of this country may not know these exact wordings of the Leadership Code, but it is their general understanding of things that can be sufficient to warrant a leader to resign, submit himself to the law, and cooperate with law enforcement authorities. The bottom line in the Leadership Code is the protection of the name and integrity of the public office that the leader holds. In my mind, Peter O’Neill has clearly forgotten about this very important principle.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 1057 days and counting…

May 16, 2016 2 comments


Will the government ever do anything to undo the huge SABL land grab?

Certainly not seems to be the answer looking at proposed amendments to the Land Act that will allow the leases to run for their full 99 year terms.

So much for all the promises from Prime Minister O’Neill to revoke the unlawful leases, return the land to the people and stop the illegal logging!

It is now a massive 1057 days since 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 that allowed foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

For three years O’Neill has REPEATEDLY promised 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 Chief Secretary has also declared the leases a corrupt 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, despite all the promises, no action has been taken to cancel the leases, landowners are receiving no support from the government in their battles against the land grabbing and WE ARE STILL WAITING for the logging to be stopped.

For 1057 days O’Neill has failed to ensure the SABL leases are revoked and 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

2016 Guide to National Crisis Issues Available for Download Here!

May 11, 2016 1 comment



Our country needs the active help of those who often don’t do anything more than read social media postings if we are to keep Peter O’Neill from defeating truth and justice.   In the coming weeks we the people of our land will either be jumping in the streets with pride and joy that we have defeated evil or we will feel intensely shamed for years to come by the knowledge that we were defeated not because we were wrong, but because we didn’t give the same effort as the evil people in power did.

To help you take action PNGBlogs has  created a selection of papers and postings from around the internet as a guide to students and everyone else to learn more about the national crisis issues that are now reaching the point of explosion.

Until all of us as PNGeans become much better educated on the issues, we will not be motivated enough to correct the problems. Each and every one of us must learn more about the facts of the matter. That’s why we put together this collection of information for you.

Please download the pdf that is attached to this article and educate yourself. The resource book covers all of the following critical disaster areas and provides facts and figures.


Please help PNG by doing one or more of the following now:

  1. Email the link to this page to your family and friends now, or e-mail the resource book as an attachment.
  2. Photocopy and post articles that you find of special interest in your workplace or in public places.
  3. If you still have ties to the village, organize your wantoks to read these materials and develop awareness programs back home.
  4. Make hard copies available to our university and college students quickly. We cannot do this because we are not on the ground at UPNG, Unitech, UNRE, or other campuses that are becoming active. The students can use this information when they go out and do awareness on the issues that relate to their demands.

Click here to download this book of information

O’Neill tries, but fails, to look tough on illegal logging

December 11, 2015 1 comment

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is trying to sound tough on illegal logging [see story below] while international climate talks continue in Paris – but his posturing for international audiences isn’t going to fool anyone

O’Neill has claimed “no ifs, and or buts, if there are valid claims that a company is involved in illegal logging we will shut down their operations”. The trouble is the PM has been saying almost exactly the same thing for more than two years while hundreds of millions of tonnes of illegal timber continue to be exported.

In September 2013 O’Neill told 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”

But in the 900 days since then the government has taken absolutely no action against any of the illegal logging or unlawful SABL leases.

While the PM’s statement below of action against Yema Gaiapa Developers and Viva Success is welcome, the fact is they are responsible for less than 2% of PNG log exports. These two companies exported 65,370 cubic metres of logs in the 12 months to June 2015. In contrast Rimbunan Hijau exported 5 times more illegal timber, 339,382 cubic meters, from just one unlawful SABL operation in the same period. But rather than take action against RH, the PNG Forest Authority actually issued the company a new logging licence in 2014!

Peter O’Neill’s agenda is he wants the international community to give billions of dollars to PNG for saving its forests – but the international community isn’t going to be fooled by a government wedded to the logging industry and up to its neck in corruption!

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

PNG Government Issues Stop Work Orders On Two Logging Companies
PNG Today
Investigations into allegations of illegal logging are now underway into the companies Yema Gaiapa Developers Limited and Viva Success Limited.The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea,Peter O’Neill  has announced that the Environment and Conservation Authority has issued stop work orders for two logging companies for breaching the Environment Act.
“No ifs, and or buts, if there are valid claims that a company is involved in illegal logging we will shut down their operation and investigate,” PM O’Neill said.
“While the Government is doing all we can to improve governance within the Forestry sector, there are others who have no respect for the laws of this country, or respect for the rights of the resource owners of this country.
“A range of concerns have been reported by landowners including allegations that Yema Gaiapa Developers Limited and Viva Success Limited, at the border of Oro and Morobe provinces, have acted in a way that warrants further investigation.”
The Prime Minister said the National Government is determined, and will continue to provide leadership to nurture better and improved governance in all resource sectors, including the Forestry sector, which has been mismanaged over many years.
“Our Government has placed a moratorium on new licences for round log exports.
“We are also working with key stakeholders and Development Partners to improve the capacity, operations and effectiveness of the National Forest Authority.
“The NFA is mandated with the responsibility of ensuring effective governance of our forestry sector.”
The Prime Minister said as a country with some of the most significant forest coverage in the world, Papua New Guinea is working closely with developmental partners and International Organisations to enhance forestry management.
“We recently hosted the APEC Forestry Ministers’ Meeting in Port Moresby that advanced mechanisms for regional leaders to work together to enhance governance within the forestry sector.
“We have furthered these initiatives at the recent Philippines APEC Leaders Meeting, and these issues were also discussed at the Paris Climate Change conference.
“Papua New Guinea is determined to implement good governance and sustainability in our forestry sector and move beyond the mismanagement of the past.”
The Prime Minister said he urges all stakeholders, including Provincial Governments, the Local Level Governments, landowner companies and their foreign partners to work closely with the national government.
“We need to all strive to improve governance within this very important sector, and protect the interests of the our people and the countries.

More from the Transcript of the PNG Money Laundering Scam and Other Corruption

June 28, 2015 2 comments

Implicated by lawyers Maladina and Sheppard are Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch, lawyer Jimmy Maladina, Australian lawyer and CQ Mal Varitimos, and PNG Chairman of the PNG Gaming Board, Controlled By Peter O’Neill


Charles Kua | PNG Blogs

The door blows off “business as usual” corruption amongst PNG’s big shots

Who would have thought that Greg Sheppard and Harvey Maladina would be the ones who would expose corruption not only to PNG but the world, instead of hiding it. Yet, the egos of both finally caused them to slip their guard (if Harvey ever had one) a little. Only a little because it is clear from the conversations with both that they see nothing wrong with the extent of corruption in PNG, think nothing is wrong about the loopholes being used to get away with bribery or anything else.

Don’t for a moment say that they are behaving like any lawyer.  Some lawyers (not that many, unfortunately, especialy in PNG) do have principles.  They reject some clients and they won’t give advice on some things.

The lawyers

The lawyers in the interview were Greg Sheppard, an expat who has worked in PNG in law for about 25 years, and Harvey Maladina, brother of infamous Jimmy Maladina of the 1999 NPF corruption scandal, that also prominently involved Peter O’Neill and Herman Leahy. All 3 were prosecuted but none were ever convicted. Harvey and Jimmy were previously with and started up Maladina Lawyers.

Maladina Lawyers in 2004 merged with a PNG legal firm called Young and Williams Lawyers. Young & Williams Lawyers has a long history in Papua New Guinea. The firm’s roots can be traced back to the 1960s at the old United Church Building, Ela Beach. Partners have come and gone but according to the web site of the firm (, the reputation of Young & Williams Lawyers will live on. In late 2004, another chapter was added to the life of Young & Williams Lawyers when the practices of Maladinas Lawyers and White Young & Williams Lawyers merged and consolidated their various practices under the Young & Williams Lawyers banner.  Harvey Maladina and Greg Sheppard are the partners. Also working at the firm are lawyers:  Kylie Najike, Priscilla Rumints, Molly Sumbuk, Venessa Vee, Wilson Mininga, and Alida Gubag.

Lame defences from Maladina and Sheppard once they were told they had been the subject of investigation

When Lawyers Sheppard and Maladina were informed by SBS Dateline that a story was being run on them, they apparently did not realise that every word they said had been videotaped. Their replies are the usual lawyer defensive language that uses up a lot of words that says nothing. Harvey Maladina especially makes statements in his reply to SBS Dateline that catch him in the trap and makes things even more convincing that these 2 lawyers were completely fooled into speaking truthfully. Now it is very difficult for them find a way to cover up their own words and deny saying what was captured on the video.

Harvey Maladina (brother of the infamous corrupt Jimmy of NPF thievery fame) and Greg Sheppard, the 2 partners in giving out “how to be corrupt” advice, obviously have no conscience.  As Greg Sheppard alludes to himself, he’s  in PNG for the money and nothing more. One wonders if there is something clinically wrong with the Maladina family, as stories have gone around for years that suggests that it is not Jimmy and Harvey alone who have less than acceptable ethics.

Some parts of the secretly taped conversation that did not air on the SBS programme

The videotape sounds just like a conversation between buddies.  Like corruption is a normal acceptable part of life.  Both make sure they give the hidden corruption fighter all the tips on how to be corrupt without getting caught.

Attached to this article is the full transcript, far more than you saw and heard on the video that appeared on Australian television. Here are some of the more memorable quotes in this transcript that you didn’t see on television:

Harvey Maladina about Jimmy Maladina and Peter O’Neill:     You know there was an inquiry at the … there was two guys that were implicated, that’s the prime minister and my brother.  And now they’re in power.  Well he’s the chief government advisor on anything.  Yes both survived the inquiry.  One is the prime minister and one is the government advisor.   They borrowed some money from a local bank, it’s called Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation. And now it’s BSP Bank South Pacific.  And at that time the chairman of the bank was the current prime minister.  So the inquiry chased the funds that was the loan that was given to this Japanese company and it went right around the circle.  And went back again to the guy lending the money.  Back to the prime minister yeah.  The problem was there was a missing link in this chain and that was my brother.  He had a law firm here.  So he took off to Australia and they didn’t extradite him so that saved the prime minister.  And um, he managed to stay in Australia until the inquiry was over.  He’s back in the country now.   [so the prime minister is] very loyal to him.

Harvey Maladina about Peter O’Neill:   He goes in a lot of politics and stuff like that, and he is good friends with former prime ministers and that’s how he built himself proper.  So he got himself appointed to the bank as the chairman and that’s when they reached proof of the money and that is why this Japanese company paid it back to them.  [Paid it back into their own bank accounts’  Yeah well exactly so they chased the money right back to the prime minister.

Harvey Maladina about Jimmy Maladina and Australian lawyer Mal Varitimos: Anyway the missing link was my brother, he took off to Brisbane in Australia.  And they didn’t extradite him and the inquiry wound down and there was a report presented but… And um he um he came back again.  Um there’s a case against him in the National Court but that’s been going for donkey’s years now.  Because he’s able to buy some smart lawyers from Australia to come up.  We’ve got some smarter ones than Mr Molloy.  Mr Molloy is good but we normally engage a guy called Varitimos, Mal Varitimos.  He’s based in Brisbane.  He’s a good lawyer, yes.  He does a lot of local cases up here.   We work with Varitimos and he is a QC and he is very good.  When we engage him, if you wanted him to represent you, you engage us, we engage him, and we do our bills, we do one bill to you, you pay us and we send him money to Australia, to his Australian account.  Umm like the financial institutions here, they give us a ceiling; I think it’s around 250,000.  We’re allowed to deal with in a month.  And after that they tell us for the following month.  [total per year is K6 million].   Yeah um he’s billed us more previously we are able to pay him.  See most of the guys, a lot of the guys here that come under scrutiny, they ship a large amount of money on a one-off basis to an account in Australia, that comes under scrutiny.  They are under investigation by the police here and red flag already with the Australian Federal Police to keep an eye out on these particular transactions.  [so this way of getting a larger bill from Australia and paying it and then there’s a balance which we can be released, do you think that gets through that kind of scrutiny?]  Yes normally if it’s through the law firms it’s um, they don’t usually question it, because it’s… especially if it’s the firm that I’m working with, it’s a prestigious firm.

Harvey Maladina about using overseas accountants to transfer money corruptly by Chairman of Gaming Board: I’ve got a partner here and my partner is a Western Australian guy, we’ve been in business together for twenty years or something.  Form Perth yes.  I know that he has a Singaporean accountant and funds are transfer there and from there to Australia.   There’s a lot of my….guys I know in politics…. and they go to offshore to collect.  Like one of my good mates he’s now in charge of the gaming board.  And he went offshore and I… he flew over to Singapore recently and I asked him “what do you do over there?” and he said “Oh I want to collect some payments”.   There were some funds remitted to hig account over there, to an account. And so he went to collect it so he came back quite a happy man so ummm.”

Greg Sheppard about shifting money:  You know. I had some clients recently who made a deposit to a Hong Kong company.  The Hong Kong company then sent a large percentage of that money to Singapore.  And um, the Hong Kong side said it was for maintaining computer equipment.  The Singapore side siad it was a commission.  The Singapore authorities saw the inconsistency and arrested everybody.  [you need] a consistent chain and something that is commercial.   The proper way of looking at it is that you can’t do these things, it’s illegal.  But there are other commercial arrangements which aren’t illegal that you may be permitted to enter into providing you get a clearance from your lawyer.   Becaues you know if the CIB come knocking on your door, you want to be able to say “oh this transactions was for this reason, bang bang bang, here is the clearance from my lawyer”.

Greg Sheppard on demanding bribes: Anybody who says they want seven figures, they are inviting prosecution.   Look if you were to pay seven figures to anybody, the world would fall in on top of you.  Just don’t even contemplate that sort of nonsense.  Um, small dribs and drabs are the only way to go.  Why would any company produce seven figures for anybody?  I mean what is the commercial reason behind it?  Well you need ot have one.  You know the days of banging a million bucks into this secret-numbered account in Singapore is over.

Anti-corruption fighter in disguise says “May I sort of take a risk and trust you with a name?  Obviously I’d ask that….

Sheppard:   What you mean the name of the minister?  Is it Pruaitch?

Anti-corruption fighter in disguise:  Funnily enough it is.  how did you.

Sheppard:  He’s, he’s an old client. Yeah the other problem with Patrick is he’s already being scrutinised by the Ombudsman. Because he did some crazy thing like he let some Malaysian timber guy buy him a house. So there was a house in his name and it was paid for by the Malaysian timber guy who wound up with a nice… They purchased the house here in Port Moresby in Patrick’s name paid for by a bank check from the Malaysian, you know. This was six to eight years ago. He will have a plan. But if it’s just popping it into my bank account, don’t even bloody think about it.

PNG’s Corruption Is Getting Progressively Worse Under Peter O’Neill

If the information about Peter O’Neill were the first serious allegations we’ve ever heard about the man, we could be doubtful.  However, the pattern over the past 15 years has been consistent.  Peter O’Neill is highly corrupt, he is surrounded by and supports highly corrupt people like him, and the country as a whole is drifting into a situation where corruption is as normal and expected and accepted as Harvey Maladina and Greg Sheppard portray in their conversations with the hidden camera.   This explosive programme was done by Australians, not Papua New Guineans.  We as a people cannot continue to sit back and wait for God or the Australians to save us from the problems we create for ourselves by not being attentive and controlling of our politicians.

It is time for you to start standing up more against corruption and the injustice that is drowning our country.  Don’t read this as another article, shake your head, and continue as before, doing nothing about it.  As long as you do nothing, and everyone else does nothing, that will leave only the corrupt people in PNG working hard and doing something.   They will remain in control like a mafia and the fault will rest with you and me.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 700 days and counting…

May 25, 2015 1 comment


There has still been NO ACTION to cancel the huge SABL land grab, revoke the unlawful leases or stop the illegal logging in Papua New Guinea.

It is now 700 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.

O’Neill has REPEATEDLY STATED the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

In September 2013 O’Neill told 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 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” 

Most recently O’Neill promised a new Task Force to look at the Commission of Inquiry recommendations, but, WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 700 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.

Crucially he has failed to take any action to remove the corrupt public servants responsible for the land grab or distance himself from the politicians, including key Minister’s, complicit in the illegal deals and who are now blocking any positive action to revoke the leases and stop the logging.

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