By PNG Echo
This week, Task Force Sweep (TFS) was scheduled to ‘interview’ Finance Minister, James Marape and Treasurer, Don Polye.
At this time, they would have been arrested for their part in the Paraka matter.
Task Force Sweep’s investigations have uncovered enough evidence of the pair’s alleged involvement to make this a certainty.
Following the Tiensten conviction, these arrests would have marked another watershed moment in the fight against corruption in PNG – a real indication that the tide of fortune was turning against corruption in PNG.
But I didn’t happen, and there’s only one man to blame – Belden Namah.
WHEN POLYE AND MARAPE JOINED TO THE PROCEEDINGS FILED BY NAMAH IT GAVE THEM THE SAME STAY AGAINST ARREST AS IT DID NAMAH AND O’NEILL
Polye and Marape are surely today drinking to Namah, the architect of their good fortunes. You have to wonder whether Namah is in on this.
If Task Force Sweep thought they had Marape and Polye ‘banged to rights’, they hadn’t factored in the ‘Namah variable’.
Putting the Cart before the horse.
Do you know, how difficult and protracted it is to a prove a case against the likes of Paul Paraka and his accomplices? He’s a lawyer, with many experts at his disposal and, it seems, a lot of politicians and public servants in his pocket.
Firstly, it needs to be established that the purported K71.8 million was indeed illegal because if Paraka can establish the bills were legitimate, there’s no case.
To verify this, an audit would have to be carried out to establish what has been paid out and what has not. It would involve accounts of Paraka’s law firm (and others that he used as a payment conduit) going back to 2000 until 2006 when Paraka’s contract ended – and then beyond.
It’s a mammoth task and it doesn’t end there, that’s just the half of it -I know, I have an interest in a forensic accounting practice.
Knowing this consider:
Namah laid a complaint at the end of October and the subsequent arrest warrants were taken out just three weeks later.
The police that swore out the warrants were not part of TFS so were not privy to the in-depth investigation already carried out and ongoing.
In the three weeks from complaint to arrest…
- …have the Namah investigators obtained all the bank records in of Paraka and other law firms used as conduits from 2000 to 2013?
- …have they analyzed the bank transactions?
- …have they obtained all the payments history from Department of Finance and Treasury?
- …have they established that the signature on the letter dated 24th January 2012 as PM O’Neill’s?
- …have they audited what has been paid and what’s not paid?
These are crucial questions because if the trio (O’Neill, Marape and Polye) are to be arrested, they must be arrested on the basis that the bills were illegal and these three fraudulently conspired to orchestrate the payments.
As Sam Koim reminds us ‘Arrest is the last event that closes an investigation and opens prosecution against a particular suspect”
Namah’s case, had it been pursued, would never have stood up in court. It is impossible for the police to have gathered the required evidence in 3 weeks.
Not only would Namah’s case fail, it’s also, at present, preventing the prosecution of one that could succeed. Is this man’s real goal really the fight against corruption?
I am reliably informed that when a complainant actively assists the police in pursuing his own complaint it becomes a malicious prosecution.
Once a complaint is laid, it is up to the competent authority to make an independent investigation with objectivity. If the complainant participates considerably to pursue his own complaint by fuelling resources, it removes objectivity and independence.
There is no doubt that Namah’s letter to Police Commissioner Kulunga falls neatly within this category.
And I’m sure, in this instance, the ‘shotgun approach’ of Namah, shocked even him with the person that he accidentally sprayed, because the Chief Commissioner is not one to trifle with, as Namah found to his peril.
The suspicion of malicious prosecution is why Namah’s phone records were subpoenaed.
In this matter, Namah is setting himself up as the only arbitrator – he is of the conviction that he should be allowed to orchestrate proceedings according to his whim and with scant regard for the law of the land or established, effective procedures. If, indeed he even wants them to be effective.
The Police Commissioner has other ideas – and he is correct.
Namah a shield for the corrupt
Polye and Marape were scheduled for interview by TFS, they had no way to escape until Namah provided them with a shield with his mindless, tacticless court cases.
Polye and Marape sought cover under the court order sponsored by Namah and now justice will be delayed for another three weeks and who knows in the land of the unexpected, it could just end up being denied.
If O’Neill, Polye and Marape walk away from the Parakagate scot-free, PNG has one person to blame and that’s Namah. His impatience and lack of tact will cost the people of PNG dearly.
Namah pursued justice? I don’t think so. He contributed to miscarriage of justice. If you haven’t seen it this way, look again.