The week that was – 25 November 2013:

The Budget, the conviction, the OC referral, the Opposition and the Barmy Army, and a Lam to the slaughter

By PNG Echo

 Hooray for Sam!

Sam Koim. The hero of the hour
The hero of the hour

PNG Echo’s first duty to ‘the week that was’ is to congratulate Sam Koim and the members of Task-Force Sweep (TFS) for the conviction against the now-proven corrupt MP, Paul Tiensten.  Here’s hoping the sentence adequately reflects the crime.  May it be the first conviction of many.

Sam Koim has a few people justifiably rattled judging by his posting on Facebook of the attempted hi-jack and robbery of his offices last week.  It was unsuccessful and the team lives to fight another day.  Corruption, you may have just met your match.  You have a reason to be afraid. Bravo Sam and team.

 The resurrection and Dr Manoka

Dr Billy Manoka - referred to Public prosecutor by OC
Dr Billy Manoka – referred to Public prosecutor by OC

Good news: the Ombudsman’s Commission is alive and well (?)- Just when I thought that, one day, someone would access their offices just to find a ghost department drifting in a sea of apathy – (much the same as when they found the ship the Marie Celeste floating at sea with no one on board) – up pops a referral to the Public Prosecutor of Dr Billy Manoka the Associate Commissioner of the Independent Consumer Competition Commission for alleged misconduct in office.  The allegations were heard by the OC and responded to by Dr Manoka over two and a half years ago.  It seems the OC is not dead, just slow.

Naughty Billy has neglected to fulfil the statutory requirements of one in public office and has failed to submit annual financial statements to the OC.  Social media commentators have criticized the OC for concentrating on what they regard as a misdemeanour by Dr Manoka while seeming to ignore more flagrantly egregious matters.

I agree to a point, but really, anything is better than nothing.  What’s more, failure to fulfil statutory requirements has implications.  At best, it could mean abject laziness or disdain for the system (never a good look in one holding high public office) or, at worse, that the financial statements could implicate him in corruption.

Unfortunately, the up coming court case is only likely to establish Dr Manoka’s guilt or innocence, not the reasons he didn’t want his financials scrutinized.  It’s much like Sir Michael’s conviction on the same charge in 2011 – the burning question of ‘why’ or, more correctly, ‘why not’ was never answered.

More about Dr Billy Manoka in an upcoming article.

 The Budget:  more of it to steal

The budget was handed down in parliament last week.  It is the biggest ever – that may or may not be a good thing but what keeps going around in my head is that, traditionally, up to half the budget is lost to corruption.

FYI -the mooted blocking of the budget by disaffected MPs never happened. It seems that any ‘disaffection’ has been reserved for the opposition.

 More misfortunes: The opposition

O'Namah before the savage rejection.
O’Namah before the savage rejection.

This week, Namah delivered his bon mots outside of parliamentary privilege, especially for the rapture of his social media devotees (and only them).  Having been very publicly jilted by O’Neill, he has now been rejected by the PNG mainstream media who he says “…haven’t been running my stories.”   This he blames on O’Neill’s control of the media.

He may be right, but equally it may be that what he says is dwindling in importance as another two opposition members bite the dust – Paul Tiensten ( to a criminal conviction for corruption) and the unexpected defection of Tobias Kulang to the government ranks (Sir Julius’ PPP).

Namah says he’s eschewing mainstream media and only talking to social media.  Ironically, nowadays it’s only social media prepared to listen – and then only some of them, most notably the ‘barmy army’ whose breathless declarations of ‘historic moment’ are not underwritten by the success of the recent ‘stop work’ protest – which was, in effect, business as usual in PNG.

A Lam to the slaughter

Coach Lam: Nothing much to smile about
Coach Lam: Nothing much to smile about

In sport, it seems Adrian Lam has still not been forgiven for commanding a large salary and then failing to deliver in the Rugby League World Cup.  Former Kumul’s coach John Wagambie, last week launched his own scathing attack.

What a shame PNG is not just as hard on their underperforming and corrupt MPs.

 

Lest we forget: SABLsOI_Report_On_Our_Land-cover

It has, once again, taken a foreign entity, Oakland Institute of California to remind PNG of the SABL scandal.  A Commission of Inquiry has looked into this in PNG. Why have the findings of the Inquiry not been tabled or acted upon?

Temporary PNGeans of Bulolo

Then there are the ethnic clashes in Bulolo between the Watuts and the Warias that have closed schools and seen government services and commerce suspended, nine people dead and countless injured.  I guess they don’t get that they’re all PNGeans?

Disgrace MP, Paul Tiensten
Disgrace MP, Paul Tiensten

 

 

A busy week – with the crowning glory the conviction of corrupt MP Paul Tiensten.

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3 thoughts on “The week that was – 25 November 2013:

  1. Thank you. An eventful week. When one fight corruption. It’s a lifetime journey. It’s being the fighter that counts.

  2. Thanks for another good read. A question that occurs to me when I read about all the corruption in PNG is one that has been awaiting an answer for a long time, that is Singapore bank account owned by Mr Namah( the then minister for foresties or should I say environmental vandaism). I believe the Post published an article several years ago around 2008 or 2009 about the account containing something along the lines of $21 million USD. I am yet to hear how he accrued such a vast some on the salary of a soldier and then as a politition.

    It’s appears to be a case of glass houses on both sides of politics in PNG.

    Thanks again for your article
    Kind regards
    Peter.

    • Dear Peter, The Singapore bank account is a new one on me. Now that you have pointed it out, (with the risk of sounding like the esteemed PNG Prime Minister, haha) – I’ll look into it. (I don’t suppose anyone has the BSB numbers? LOL). Thank you for your input – a journalist is only as good as her sources.
      Cheers
      Susan Merrell