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United Resources Party at the centre of Manumanu land scandal: former and current leader implicated

February 7, 2017 5 comments

pok-and-duma

Yesterday Peter O’Neill announced a Commission of Inquiry would be launched into the Manumanu land deal. We can welcome this move, without celebrating its author.

O’Neill has had numerous opportunities in the past to investigate major land frauds, yet has done nothing. NHC residents, warned O’Neill the public housing estate was being sold off on mass, and the proceeds were being pocketed by politicians and private developers. O’Neill promised action but nothing was done, and the NHC continues to be mired in corruption and fraud. 

When Dame Carol Kidu warned the Prime Minister about major corrupt dealings behind the Paga Hill Estate – before she shifted sides following a A$178,000 consultancy payment – much was promised about investigating the project being pushed by Gudmundur Fridriksson (and it appears William Duma), but nothing was done.

Furthermore, while the results have been to hand for many years from two Commission of Inquiries into the Department of Finance and the SABL land grab – much has been promised, nothing has been done.

So it would seem fair to ask, why the change in posture?

Lets look at the key suspects in the case. William Duma, and Fabian Pok have been at the centre of this scandal. Yesterday O’Neill revealed a new suspect. The owner of Portion 698, Kitoro No.64 Limited, who was paid K15.4 million for their state lease, after the Defence Department reclaimed the land.

It can be revealed that the owner of this company is Tim Neville, former United Resources Party Leader.

So at the moment we have three suspects, who are all linked to the United Resources Party.

Important questions emerge.

We know that O’Neill presides over a government of robber-barons. They do not operate, however, as a cohesive unit. Instead they divide up the government into territory, which different groups assume responsibility for and abuse for personal financial gain.

It appears from the evidence being presented the lucrative black market in land has been heavily exploited by United Resources Party heavyweights.

Which raises the question. Is this turf wars between different factions within government over lucrative corrupt industries?

Or are we seeing tensions within Cabinet now exploding, as O’Neill attempts to soil rivals in the lead up to the election? 

We can only speculate.

Either way, this should not diminish support for a thorough investigation of this land fraud. There is a thriving black market in land and its impact on the nation is devastating.

But why stop at Manumanu – isn’t it time to prosecute all those involved in the abuse of state leases, whether they be sweetheart 99 year business leases given to political cronies for nothing rents, or SABLs acquired by defrauding landowners?

Controversial Chinese miner and Aus mining magnate funding Env Minister’s re-election bid

May 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Chinese State owned mining company, MCC, owner of the controversial Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea, and Australian mining magnate, Clive Palmer, who has numerous close links with China, were prominent supporters of a recent fundraising dinner for the United Resources party of PNG’s Environment Minister, Benny Allen.

According to newspaper reports, the dinner raised K1.6 million and was described by URP strongman, Fred Wak as “a big night… a really good start for the URP’ as it builds towards the 2012 national election.

Palmer, a billionaire and one of Australia’s richest men, was easily the most prominent individual at the fundraising dinner. He has built his fortune on the rights to 160 billion tonnes of iron ore deposits in Western Australia.

As well as depending heavily on the Chinese government as his major customer and keeping a home in Beijing. Palmer has been described as “playing a pivatol role in the modernisation of China” and has recently announced several new investments with Chinese companies, including MCC, and funding from the Chinese Exim bank.

Palmer and his entourage arrived in Port Moresby in one of his private jets with Palmer declaring “there is a lot of opportunity here and the Government must create the right environment”.

Presumably the ‘right environment’ has little to do with protecting Papua New Guinea’s rich biodiversity and everything to do with approving mining operations, even where they involve destructive mining practices such as the marine dumping of mine tailings, which Benny Allen has approved for the Ramu nickel mine, leaving local landholders to fight the practice through the courts.

Allen has also approved the environmental permit for the Chinese Exim bank financed Pacific Marine Industrial Zone and will shortly be asked to give the go-ahead for the Yandera mine which will be constructed by another Chinese company, Chinese Nonferrous Metals, which also wants to dump its tailings in the sea.

Last year the PNG government was accused of passing controversial amendments to the Environment Act that protect foreign corporations from environmental damage claims and allow mining activities to be approved without consultation with customary landholders, to protect Chinese mining operations such as Ramu nickel.

Palmer knows a thing or two about political contoversy and corruption, having being close to disgraced Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson, a fund-raiser for his National Party and ‘one of its key powerbrokers”.

The United Resources Party is the second biggest political party in the current National Alliance led coallition government and has six MPs, three of whom are Ministers: William Duma (Minister for Petroleum and Energy), Benny Allen (Environment and Conservation) and Guma Wau (Culture and Tourism).

The fundraising dinner was also supported by Deputy National Alliance leader (Highlands) Don Polye, NA president Simon Kaiwi, former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu, Mining Minister John Pundari, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ano Pala.