Welcome to the launch of PNG Echo – a website that invites and encourages everyone to become a whistle-blower on corruption. If you’ve ever wanted to spill the beans but were afraid of the repercussions, here’s your chance. Thank you to the friends of PNG who have already contributed, your information is on the drawing board and will be published soon – but keep the information flowing. A journalist is only as good as her sources.
For an insight into the ideology surrounding the website, please see our ‘About’ page and use the ‘contact’ page to tell me what you know, knowing it will be in complete confidence.
Our inaugural article
The very first article on PNG Echo tackles the genesis of one of the most burning political issues currently in PNG: the ‘Paraka Affair’ and its links to systemic and chronic corruption.
Millions of kina have been allegedly fraudulently received for services not necessarily rendered by Paul ParakaLawyers to the state of PNG. The charges date back to 2008 and forward.
The date is significant because it was in 2008 that the Commission of Inquiry into the Finance Department completed its report. Heavily implicated in the Commission’s findings, Paraka Lawyers sought a restraining order against the tabling and disseminating of the information it contained – and got it. Consequently, this 800-page report did not receive any official scrutiny. However, important documents have a way of surfacing, and in spite of the official ‘gag’ the report found it’s way onto the Internet and into the hands of some astute bloggers -PNG Blogs, nancysullivan.typepad, pngexposed and actnowpng.
Paraka Lawyers subsequently wrote to ‘Global technologies’ requesting that the sites be blocked and any other sites that mentioned Paul Paraka, Paul Paraka Lawyers, Gabriel Yer, Isaac Lupari or Zachary Gelu, be censored. They were unsuccessful.
The cat was out of the bag. What the report found was a systemic and systematic rorting of the state’s coffers perpetrated by high-ranking public servants in collusion with lawyers and often high-ranking politicians. It recommended criminal charges for dozens of the perpetrators. The very people commissioned to safeguard the country’s finances had been doing the opposite.
But as with so many issues in PNG, it caused a small storm in a teacup then was forgotten. And as far as I can ascertain, the rorting carried on as usual. And now, five years on, Sam Koim’s Task Force Sweep is assessing the considerable subsequent damage.
So, we are, once again, going to examine the breathtaking audacity of those that would steal from their own people. They are the worst sorts of scoundrel – LEST WE FORGET.
But don’t go away, more articles to follow