By PNG Echo.
The first section of this article will be old news for many. If so, skip it and go to the second heading – but for those who need context, keep reading because lately things that haven’t made sense, suddenly are starting to, and knowing the context sets the scene for the intricate web of treachery.
Environmental disaster and compensation
It was always blood money –
PNGSDP was set up to obtain legislative immunity from prosecution [for BHP] for environmental damage to a great river system, a human and environmental tragedy that can be even observed from the moon,
Sir Mekere Morauta gave BHP clemency… PNG did BHP a favour that it did not deserve.
It was Mekere Morauta’s sell-out deal that would guarantee Morauta a lucrative position well past his political career and…
To protect it [the PNGSDP Fund] with the change of government, he [Morauta] has been appointed to head PNGSDP,
And the fund has rewarded its board members well, with reportedly comparatively meagre benefits for the people of the Western Province where the incidence of Tuberculosis, especially the drug-resistant kind, is beyond alarming and something that the Fund could and should have tackled before now. Tuberculosis can be eliminated. This notwithstanding the late, great, eco-warrior Dr Nancy Sullivan wrote:
In 2010 PNGSDP brought $40 million of the Singapore fund back to PNG to fulfil its program mandate. But they spent $10 million on their own administration, and a further $1.5 million on Board fees.
So, after the sell-out deal, did BHP go scurrying back to Australia with its tail between its legs – no it did not. Dr Sullivan, takes up the story again:
BHP and its lawyers went about setting up the structures [for the fund] and drafting the relevant agreements. BHP then told the PNG Government that to start up the fund in Singapore – so that interest is readily available and PNGSDP can sustain itself from the beginning – there would be no need for any start-up capital from PNG itself. BHP LOANED PNGSDP USD$120 Million for the fund in Singapore.
And when someone gives a loan – they give terms to secure that loan. The terms BHP gave were that UNTIL the loan was 100% paid back, BHP would nominate 4 of the 7 directors on the PNGSDP Board. BHP would retain a majority on the PNGSDP Board.
Since its inception 12 years ago, [article written in 2013] PNGSDP has been controlled by BHP through its Board… BHP has never left PNG.
The Board members.
A lucrative position with PNGSDP was not only enjoyed by Sir Mekere Morauta but also by Transparency International’s Lawrence Stephens and neither he nor Sir Mekere blinked when a dubious character was appointed to the board by then Treasurer Don Polye with the board’s blessing.
Rex Paki, was about as controversial as you can get – where was the due diligence or the caution in appointing a man that over the previous 20 years had appeared before two Commission of Inquiries (Finance Department and National Provident Fund), two Public Account Committee Inquiries, and a Supreme Court case where he was severely criticised with the judges finding him “evasive and dishonest?”
In fact, Paki seems to be suspected of running a Paraka-like scheme but with accounting fees rather than legal ones where the Public Curator’s Office had paid RAM [his consulting firm] K1,561,062 (approx US$640,000), without the existence of a contract, proper invoices, or evidence that any work had been done, according to PNG Exposed
Nevertheless, here he was, in charge of millions of dollars belonging to the people of Western Province.
The irony is we have men like Stephens and Morauta being held up in the international media as anti-corruption warriors, but what did they do about Rex Paki for all these years?”
asks PNG Exposed
Good question hey?
Mind Mapping – the burning question of who and what’s funding anti government forces?
Who is funding, Koim, Damaru, Gitua, and anti-government, NGO and activists?
Well the biggest clue was when Lucas Kiap of the NGO PNG Anti-Corruption Movement for Change, publicly acknowledged a debt to Mark Davis, the spin doctor from PNGSDP who was unceremoniously deported from PNG for “playing politics” against the conditions of his visa.
It started me wondering and here are the links I found that connect the main players to each other. It appears that all roads track back to Mekere Morauta and the PNGSDP.
The players – the links
- Rex Paki: He was appointed to the board of PNGSDP by the Treasurer, who was Don Polye at the time. He was also involved in the controversial Paga Hill Development.
- Sam Koim: Racking up bills aplenty with no visible means of support. Sam Koim also was involved in investigating the Paga Hill Development. Dr Kristian Laslett, who heads ISCI’s Papua New Guinea Research, claims that errors in the Task Force Sweep assessment are “seismic” and “can’t be put down to mere ignorance or inexperience. He suspected something more sinister. Supposing Koim’s support base was Mekere Morauta and the PNGSDP, then his reluctance to find any wrong doing in this matter starts to make sense.
- Lawrence Stephens of Transparency International who has been a bitter critic of this Prime Minister but a staunch defender of Rex Paki whom he says has not been convicted so should be given the benefit of the doubt. Now there’s a hypocritical position. Stephens lost his job with PNGSDP when the state reclaimed OkTedi.
- Mekere Morauta – the leading critic of the Prime Minister – must be worried that he will lose control of the fund and the lucrative fees he’s collecting.
- Mark Davis, the spin doctor for PNGSDP – who’s still “playing politics” apparently.
- Lucas Kiap – one of the protagonists of the unrest with a debt to pay to Mark Davis.
- Kerenga Kua – linked to Rex Paki when the courts were informed that the invoices Paki was failing to produce could be found at his office.
- Don Polye, appointed Rex Paki to the board of PNGSDP.
All of these people are interlinked. Could it be that what’s sustaining them all is the PNGSDP?