National chauvinism is an aggressive patriotism that is often displayed when countries are at war. Lately it is raising its ugly head – even in peace time. Writes PNG Echo
Australia, yesterday, celebrated ANZAC Day and the battle on the peninsular of Gallipoli during the First World War where it is said Australia gained nationhood.
It was celebrated royally all over the nation with large enthusiastic turnouts for dawn services and marches even though the surviving Diggers of the Gallipoli campaign have all since passed on.
In contrast, by the late 1970s, when there were many surviving diggers of that campaign, the celebration of ANZAC Day had all but died in Australia. It was revived in the 1990s. Some say that it was not an organic revival but a manufactured one.
Ironically, Eric Bogle who wrote his ballad in 1971 “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” that has become the unofficial anthem of Anzac Day, did not glorify what happened in Gallipoli, nor the way it was being remembered – but condemns it. His hero asks:
And the young people ask me, “what are they marching for?” And I ask myself the same question.
It begs the question of whether the revival of the popularity of ANZAC Day has been a forerunner of a worrying global trend promoted by vested interests – national chauvinism?
For the ANZAC tradition commemorates a war where 56,639 Australia males between the ages of 18-44 died. Fully, 65% of Australian recruits were casualties – the highest rate in the British army.
One commentator has written:
“…perhaps the bravest thing the ANZACs could have done at Gallipoli in April 1915 would have been to mutiny.”
There’s no doubt that Australian troops were regarded by the British as cannon fodder and the Australian Military Commanders facilitated the senseless slaughter of their own – they must have known. Where’s the glory in that?
How well I remember that terrible day When the blood stained the sand and the water And how in that hell that they called Suvla bay We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well He showered us with bullets, he rained us with shells And in five minutes flat he’d blown us all to hell Nearly blew us right back to Australia
As poignantly sad as the whole of Bogle’s ode to the ANZACs is, for me, it is the chorus that is the most chilling as he juxtaposes the band playing Waltzing Matilda – a sign of patriotism – against first, the anticipation; then the horror of what was waiting for the conscripts (and those that had enthusiastically joined up of their free will) and finally their ignominious, desperately sad and inglorious return.
And still the band played Waltzing Matilda… is a perfect illustration of the insensitivity of rampant patriotism and its deadly bounty.
But do we never learn?
National chauvinism, globally, is running rampant – Trump, the resurrection of Pauline Hanson in Australia, Brexit and in a few days time maybe the success of Marine Le Pen, in France. Le Pen, like Trump has, in gentler times, been considered part of the political loony fringe – her party a marginal player. Not any more.
How many casualties do we need before the band stops playing Waltzing Matilda? When will we realise that when we kill or stand by and watch (nay, condone) suffering (as in Australia’s atrocious treatment of refugees) and we claim to do it “For God and Country” it is far from glorious. It is blasphemy.
The answers are contained in the revelations of ‘ Dr Susan Merrell’s newly-released book ‘Redeeming Moti’.
In it she successfully unravels the complexities of a political situation that was conflated with heinous sexual criminal charges to give a compelling explanation and analysis of a saga that involved four nations, brought down one Pacific government and threatened another.
Told through the experience of the author when, during the court proceedings, she sought to reveal what was being hidden behind a veil of contempt promoted by the nature of the charges. In the effort to redeem Moti, did she end up losing herself?
For women in Papua New Guinea, this week has been variable. There have been both lows and highs.
The good news is that the Strategic Plan to combat violence against women, which is a comprehensive document that understands the need for long-term planning, has been endorsed by the parliamentary National Executive Council (NEC) which is a huge first step in a long journey.
The bad news is that it took the mutilation of a 19-year-old woman who had both her legs chopped off by a jealous husband to wake the relevant department from its reverie (it had had the completed proposal for 15 months, languishing and gathering dust) aided by political pressure from the Governor of the NCDC, Powes Parkop backed by protesting women.
Worst news is that in the interim, between acceptance and implementation, the violence is not over – it continues unabated. The problem needs a band-aid solution immediately while the wheels of progress grind slowly that bring in the more comprehensive set of goals
Because just a few days after the NEC ratified the document the newspapers told of a 12-year-old girl (in fact three girls/women – I don’t know the age of the other two) who were gang raped by 50 men over two days before they were released.
But what is most shocking to me is that none of the established women’s groups in Papua New Guinea had been moved enough by the leg amputation incident to voice their horror and disgust until the ‘wait meri’ did – informed by yet another ‘wait meri.’.
And when it looked like some positive action may come of the agitation, only then did many come to the fore.
This does not augur well for the future.
You see, one of the leading women’s organisations claimed ‘enough is enough’ back four years ago when Kepari Leniata was burned alive after being tortured – but it just wasn’t, was it? In those four years, enough has not been even nearly enough and when the report hit the newspapers of this recent shocking incident (the leg amputations) where were they?
If the price of freedom is eternal vigilance then where too were the raised voices of PNG’s women’s movements when the next shocking rape incident was reported nationally, so close to the first – just yesterday.
History informs us that nothing is given to women easily and if the struggle to live without fear is to become a reality for PNG women then the women’s movements cannot let up on the pressure. They need to be constantly vigilant.
Each and every atrocity must be forcefully and loudly condemned.
It’s a tall order, I know – but it’s the eternal vigilance needed to effect the desired change. If the current leaders and members of the women’s movement are not prepared to do this, they need to pass the baton, graciously, on to someone who is.
What’s more, the women’s movements need to decide what they are really about – there are many worthy causes and so many women’s movements have been co-opted to those supplementary causes to their own detriment.
In many developing countries and former colonies, for instance, the race issue has overshadowed the women’s issues – and that certainly happened on December 16 in Port Moresby where racism was both palpable and rife – and perpetrated by some (not all) women against other women.
In fact, a woman who had done all the hard yards organising the protest was effectively sidelined – she was Indian and hence as unworthy as the wait meri. They should have been embraced as women but they were shunned because of their race.
This is unforgivable in a movement that’s all about opposition to abuse of women.
All women understand fear of male-perpetrated violence. Besides, in PNG there are many ‘wait meris’ and women of all ethnicities attacked by men – all women are vulnerable.
What’s more, while it is desirable to have the backing of men in this struggle – it must not become a ‘man’s issue.’
I was alarmed when a speaker at the press conference that preceded the 16 December rally by a couple of days spoke of the rape of males. Now while this is terrible, it is not within the purview of the women’s movement. By all means, start another movement to combat this because while it may seem interrelated, so is every issue in one way or another and the movement is there to curb the violence against women – the far greater of the two evils.
If we, in the women’s movement, have learned anything from history it is that the struggle will neither be won by a half-hearted effort nor by ostracising some committed women because they are the wrong colour.
Nor indeed will it be won by letting any extraneous issues co-opt and derail the goals.
Leaders of these movements have a grave responsibility because if they drop the ball it will be more likely that another woman will be beaten, maimed, mutilated or killed. I wouldn’t want that on my conscience.
Just hours ago, the National Court of Papua New Guinea handed down its decision on the Judicial Review of the disbanding of the Taskforce Sweep brought by Chairman Sam Koim.
The court found for the Prime Minister, NEC, Attorney General and Independent State of Papua New Guinea, represented by Mal Varitimos, Tiffany Twivey-Nonggorr and Nicolas Tame, and against Koim on all counts except the defense objection as to the competency of the plaintiff’s proceedings.
As the judgment found that the court did not have power to review the NEC’s decision to disband the agency and that the plaintiff had no standing to commence the proceedings even if it had, the objection as to the competency of the proceedings became redundant, anyway.
Koim’s arguments to the contrary were dismissed as not being established.
The proceedings will be dismissed on the grounds that first, the decisions in question are not reviewable. Secondly, even if they were, the requirements of natural justice did not apply. Thirdly, bias and bad faith have not been established, so as, unreasonableness. A further ground for dismissal is that the plaintiff lacked requisite standing to commence these proceedings. The objection to the competency of these proceedings was dismissed.
Justice Makail is a judge that has created the perception that he is firmly on the side of Koim and his cronies by the number of cases where he has found for them that have been overturned on appeal. Yet, he could not find any sound legal reasons to accept Koim’s arguments for his continued employment and the continuation of Taskforce Sweep.
The executive government is the body mandated to make these sort of decisions, not the judiciary, as Justice Makail so rightly pointed out in his judgment.
In my opinion, Sam Koim was promoted to a position way above his competency level – and I have written about the reasons for my opinion on many occasions. He should have accepted the decision to disband the agency and do away with his services with grace and dignity – not taken up the court’s time in a matter that should never have been before it. He has been pandering to his own bruised ego like a jilted cuckold.
The substantive case on the future of Task Force Sweep has, after six months of delays, received a trial date of 20th October at 1.30 pm.
The date was fixed on Wednesday (Oct 5) in the Waigani Court – Justice Colin Makail presiding.
With this case having been trial-ready since 13 April, and with Justice Makail, up to this point, entertaining adjournment after adjournment requested by Sam Koim, on Wednesday the Judge set aside all motions that would further delay the trial and it will go ahead as per the stated schedule.
After this matter is settled, Koim will then face the contempt charges associated with the publicising of the results of Task Force Sweeps investigations – in direct contravention of a court order.
Maybe on the 20th October PNG will, at last, get the answers it craves (or details officially confirmed) of matters of national importance such as who’s been funding Koim and whether the payments are legitimate or just more corruption?
When earlier today, a three-man bench of the Supreme Court unanimously overturned a National Court decision by Justice Colin Makail to join Police officers Gitua and Damaru to the judicial review of Chief Magistrate, Nerrie Eliakim’s decision to grant an arrest warrant against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, in their judgment they raised a very good question.
…that a police officer wishes to execute an arrest warrant against the wishes or orders of the Police Commissioner raises issues as to why that Police Officer is of that view and believes he has such a particular interest in executing the warrant that he seeks court enforcement, against the position taken by the Police Commissioner.
Why do these maverick police officers think they can go over the head of their boss and appeal directly to the courts? Could it have something to do with their success when Justice Makail is the sitting judge – buoying them: encouraging their rogue tendencies?
Well…in journalism, we consider once to be an isolated incident, two times a coincidence but have it happen three times, and that’s a trend.
There are four instances that I’d like to highlight – I’ve called them ‘The curious decisions of Justice Makail’. There may be more than four, I may have missed some – if I have feel free to point them out.
Supreme Court says – noooo.
We’ve already looked briefly at yesterday’s Supreme Court decision that found that Justice Makail was wrong and had fallen into error when finding for Damaru and Gitua. His judgment was quashed.
And it’s not the first time lately, is it?
Back in July, the Supreme Court also set aside Makail’s decision in the National Court that dismissed Attorney General Ano Pala’s petition. Makail said Pala had no standing to bring proceedings challenging the validity of an arrest warrant until after he was arrested.
Justice Makail, that’s ridiculous!
There would be no point in trying to stop the arrest if it had already happened, now would there? That’s shouldn’t be too hard for a Justice of the PNG courts to understand, should it?
Luckily, the Supreme Court judges did not have the same conceptual deficit and quashed the arrest also commenting that:
None of the grounds for considering the arrest referred to…could reasonably have been believed to justify the arrest of the applicant.
The police officer who had had the arrest warrant sworn out was ….drum roll…wait for it…Matthew Damaru.
Is Justice Makail so mesmerised by Damaru that he cannot see what other Judges clearly can?
Seems the Supreme Court doesn’t think much of his judgments and I must say I find them …well…curious too.
A trip down memory lane – two more (but who’s counting?)
Cast your minds back to March to the time after Sam Koim took out a full-page advertisement in the newspaper allegedly in contempt of a court order stopping him talking to the press.
In the National Court, when this and Koim’s substantive case concerning the status of Task Force Sweep was up for mention, Justice Makail, on adjourning both, decided that the substantive case should be heard first.
Justice Makail seems to have a lot of trouble with sequencing. He’s put the cart before the horse again.
If the contempt is found to be proven and egregious enough then it could (and some would argue ‘should’) have the case thrown out. You don’t need to know the law – you just need to be blessed with a modicum of common sense.
Justice Makail, has done Koim a huge favour, removing one of the obstacles to his case. In the meantime He’s made himself look ridiculous (there’s that word again)– but that doesn’t seem to worry the good Judge as he errs in ways that a layperson who watches “Law and Order’ regularly wouldn’t.
And it’s for the same faction he subsequently favoured in his error-ridden judgments – in this case Damaru and Gitua’s little mate, Sam Koim.
And ironically, while Makail has no sympathy for the physical harm done to Lawyer Tiffany Twivey, back in April, after being manhandled and held in appalling conditions by policemen acting on behalf of Damaru and Gitua – before she was charged, for Sam Koim’s lack of preparedness he has all the patience in the world.
Even armed with a doctor’s certificate detailing the injuries Twivey had received, Justice Makail, would not entertain her request for a week’s adjournment and gave her just a day saying that the case was of national importance and needed to go ahead. (It was the substantive case of Task Force Sweep).
That it clashed with her appearance in court with her own case was not just serendipity – although it was that too – it was just too convenient for Koim to think could be anything but contrived. With the action of his mates, Damaru and Gitua, Koim avoided the witness stand – and continues to do so.
Ironically, at the same time, Justice Makail agreed to adjourn the case on the request of Sam Koim because Koim was not prepared.
This is possibly the most important case of his life – and he wasn’t prepared? How much time does he need?
Half a year, apparently.
Since that day, Justice Makail has entertained Koim’s requests for adjournments another three times that I’ve counted. – with Koim still making all sorts of specious excuses about why he’s not prepared – most involving his representation and Justice Makail buying them all and indulging him.
The case is currently listed for a ‘status hearing’ on 5 October. Why? Why isn’t the case just going to trial?
Justice Makail agreed to give Twivey one day’s adjournment but has given Koim 6 months. Does that sound balanced to you?
Makes you wonder what Koim is playing at and why Makail is facilitating it, doesn’t it?
Playing for time
The truth of the matter is that the substantive case was ready to be heard back in April. All the affidavits have been filed – the evidence has been collected and distributed – all neatly in ring binders.
Koim’s been dragging out this case. Why?
October 20th is the date when all public servants contesting the election have to resign, isn’t it? Hands up who thinks Koim will throw his hat in the ring? All of you? Oh, OK.
It’s not long until then, is it?
Supposing Koim can hold off this case until then, he can resign from his position (a bit of a joke, under the circumstances -but stay with me here) – he then tells the court that, not being the Chairman of Task Force Sweep, he doesn’t have any standing in the case anymore. He withdraws and the case collapses.
What a great outcome for Koim that would be!
Because, there is nothing surer than Koim will not step down from the witness stand smelling of roses if Twivey can get him in there to be cross-examined. Makail is thwarting that by granting all the adjournments.
I think Koim has an urgent need to avoid that witness stand, at any cost. I mean, if he’s going to stand for election, that’s not what he wants his constituents to remember – the day, with his hand on the Bible, that he was forced to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – so help him, God. The day his halo may have slipped and be choking him.
Mind you, with Makail hearing the case, I doubt that Koim would lose, precedents suggest that – but that’s OK, his judgment is likely to be overturned on appeal (those precedents again)
Now, I may be completely barking up the wrong tree, but just in case, and, as you’ve said, Justice Makail, this is a case of National importance, so be as punitive with Koim as you were with Twivey. Give him a day. Start hearing the substantive matter on October 6.
A three-man bench of the Supreme Court, earlier today, unanimously overturned a National Court decision by Justice Colin Makail to join police officers Gitua and Damaru to the judicial review of Chief Magistrate, Nerrie Eliakim’s decision to grant an arrest warrant against Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.
Justices Kandakasi, Hartshorn and Kassman found that Justice Makail was wrong and had fallen into error in granting Damaru and Gitua, as members of the police force, leave to act outside of their chain of command in joining them, independently, to the judicial review.
In their judgment they affirmed that:
The proper person to be a party to a judicial review proceeding on behalf of the Police Force …is the Police Commissioner.
And the Police Commissioner was already a party to these proceeding.
The bench were troubled by Mr Damaru’s admission that his and the interests of the Police Commissioner were different ”
because he wanted the arrest warrant executed but the Police Commissioner did not.
The learned judges gave their binding legal opinion that a police officer is not entitled to execute a warrant against the wishes of the Police Commissioner by way of a court proceeding.
Clearly, this bench of the Supreme Court would not entertain the courts being used in this manner by maverick police officers.
They went on:
Further, that a police officer wishes to execute an arrest warrant against the wishes or orders of the Police Commissioner raises issues as to why that Police Officer is of that view and believes he has such a particular interest in executing the warrant that he seeks court enforcement, against the position taken by the Police Commissioner.
I have a theory on that: could it be that their successes in the courts of Justice Colin Makail have led them into that error – that his errors have been instrumental in fostering the belief that the zealotry and insubordination of these officers is a reasoned response? The Supreme Court begs to differ.
Stay tuned: tomorrow, I will explore that theory further
I was appalled and concerned to wake up this morning to Post Courier front-page headlines: ‘Aussie stole my wife’.
Firstly, the story is not news – Mr Goimba’s story has had a considerable airing over the years on various blogs that will mindlessly publish anything.
None, to my knowledge have ever questioned the paradigm that Mr Goimba is entitled to have his wife back – even if it would be, clearly, against her will. Although, I would have expected better standards of analysis and social responsibility of Post Courier.
This is a long-running domestic saga where Mr. Goimba has been trying to manipulate a positive outcome, for himself, for, at least, six years – which is getting his wife sent back to him – as if she’s his possession that he has a right to.
It’s become an obsession – and it shouldn’t be encouraged by front-page, uncritical headlines.
Over two or three years, I have been given this story many times, quite possibly by Mr. Goimba himself – but who can remember, it happened so long ago.
I declined to publish every time because the issues that Mr Goimba wishes to pursue are so mindboggingly twisted – his sense of entitlement to another human being so very warped and, sadly, so symptomatic of PNGs problem with domestic violence.
Fact: Mr Goimba, no one “stole” your wife. Your wife has left you. That she has never attempted to get in touch with either yourself or her children since she initially fled suggests she had some compelling reasons to do so.
As it’s only a select few that are privy to her reasons, including the Australian Refugee Panel, one can only guess at them.
But let’s be logical here. “A loving wife” (Mr Goimba did not call himself a loving husband) does not leave a marriage and children for nothing and seek a protection visa overseas. It’s hardly likely that she was kidnapped by Australians, is it?
At the very worse, she is an unhappy but calculating woman who has manipulated the Australian authorities to grant her a protection visa for her own selfish reasons – maybe in order to find herself a better life.
But the chances of this scenario are negligible.
Any PNGean who has ever tried to obtain any sort of visa from Australian authorities will attest to the rigor of the process. Many complain that the process is unreasonably onerous. What’s more, with the refugee situation in Australia being a political hot potato, there is no way that this woman’s claim would not have been minutely scrutinized before the visa was granted.
So, chances are she has a genuine claim.
Australia is a signatory to the International Convention on Refugees that explicitly outlaws “refoulement” or repatriation to a country where the refugee’s life is in danger. This is likely the scenario that the Panel found.
Consequences of an unresaonable sense of entitlement
Either way, this woman patently does not want is to be married any more to you, Mr Goimba. And she is entitled to both her freedom and her pursuit of happiness – as a human being not as a chattel of you, her rejected husband.
To have pursued this matter so vigorously, without giving up in six years, I find frightening.
This puts Mr Goimba in the ‘stalker’ category, by any reasonable measure and his behaviour would, by now, be ringing many alarm bells with people who deal with domestic violence on a day-to-day basis. He’s clearly obsessed.
The attitude: she’s mine, I want her, she has to stay put, or else is a very dangerous one for the women involved.
I mean, what does Mr Goimba intend to do with his reluctant spouse if she is made to return to him? Will he hold her captive? Will he assault and murder her if she tries to leave him, again?
Because this is what this sense of entitlement often leads to – the statistics of the occurrence of the murder of a female by her intimate partner or former partner are frightening in Australia, who knows what would be found in PNG if statistics were kept?
Mr Gomba, you need to accept that your wife was, at the very least, unhappy being your wife and was wishing for her freedom. That’s not a crime. What is criminal is that you are trying to demonize the Australian authorities that have given your wife protection – most likely from you.
All women and indeed human beings have the right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness – Mr Goimba, you need to respect that is what your former wife is pursuing – without you.
Post Courier – wake up to your ethical and journalistic responsibilities
Post Courier should be ashamed of themselves for their lack of analysis concerning this matter.
Presenting the story, on the front page, as if the complainant has a genuine gripe against the Australian authorities when, in this instance, they are merely fulfilling their international obligations under the refugee convention is unconscionable.
Post Courier by their tacit sympathy with Mr Goimba’s plight to have his wife returned just perpetuates the attitudes that keep many women subjugated, beaten and broken in a society where many believe there is not a lot wrong with that. She is not a human being, but a possession.
You are feeding Mr. Goimba’s obsession and that’s, at the very least, cruel.
Could it be that some PNG men see that their unhappy wives and partners have now identified a viable road to freedom and they want the pathway blocked lest it upset the very favourable-to-men status quo?
Why is Post Courier uncritically aiding and abetting this agenda?
The Fraud Squad is either grossly incompetent or corrupt – there is no third way.
…companies related to Mr Tangit [CEO of PNG Power Ltd (PPL)]and his close relatives have received payment of K16 million from from PPL. Combined with the K15 million received from both the [East Sepik] Provincial (K10 million) and [Angoram] District Government (K5 million), it appears that Mr. Tangit and his close relatives have received K31 million through various entities for the period, 19 February 2009 to 30 September 2015.
As CEO of PPL, this represents a serious conflict of interests, even if that were all there was to it – but it’s not – the money has all been paid out, but as of October 2015 there was no evidence of even the commencement of the project referred to anywhere.
Highly confidential (and why’s that?)
The above quote was taken from a 35-page report marked ‘HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL’ of which I am in receipt.
It was commissioned as a result of questions being asked in parliament as to why, when funds had been allocated and deposited by Members of Parliament into the coffers of PPL for the Rural Electrification Project (RE Project), these projects were not completed, were behind schedule or significantly over budget. It was the July 2015 session of parliament.
In response, on 15 September, 2015, the Minister then responsible, Hon Ben Micah along with Mr Garry Hersey Managing Director (MD) and Chief executive officer (CEO) of the IPBC and Mr John Mangos, then Executive Director of PPL engaged an Australian forensic investigation company to look into allegations of corporate impropriety at PPL.
I have read this report in detail, with a pervasive feeling of déjà vu: I’ve heard it all before: it was in different times and different places but a very familiar modus operandi.
It evokes the non-existent Wasa Bridge in Kandep, associated with Don Polye and the non-existent community colleges – a fraud for which the Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare and certain members of his family have been implicated in the Singapore courts.
Coincidentally (or not?), the RE [non] Project also involves the Somares as the project was to be undertaken in the district of Angoram (Arthur Somare’s seat at the time) and involved the East Sepik Provincial Government.
The Angoram RE Project
It is the K15 million paid out to two contractors to which the report dedicates much investigation.
K10 million was from the coffers of East Sepik Administration that had been deposited by Sir Michael Somare into that account (it is not stipulated under what authority and from whence it came but the K10 million was earmarked for the project) and over K5 million that was received by the contractor from the Angoram District Administration for alleged variations to this non-existent project of which the investigators admitted finding no evidence (and they looked)
The K10 million remained with the Provincial Government until the contracts to carry out the project were awarded and then it was transferred to PPL.
The report highlights the gross abuses of process that allowed vested interests to win the tendering process and commandeer the project without fulfilling the contract.
The tendering process
Implicated in just about everything – is John Tangit CEO of PNG Power whose ‘wantoks’ were the proprietors of the companies that won the four-part Angoram RE Project – three parts to PNG Engineering – the registered owner being Mr Richard Pii, brother-in-law of John Tangit and one part to Sepik Metal the registered owner being Mr Patrick Wolly Tangit, the brother of John Tangit.
The investigation team found evidence of John Tangit’s direct involvement with the tendering process on his desktop computer.
What’s more, these two companies seemed to have been made aware of the exact amount of money allocated for the project and their estimates coincided exactly (similar to insider trading). The three-parts of the project for which PNG Engineering won the tender were split into K3 million each, notwithstanding the very different parameters of each individual part. In other words the tender was neither accurate nor competent.
Further to the questionable estimates of PNG Engineering, the investigation teams noticed an assessment of 15/15 that had been awarded by the tenders’ assessment team to PNG Engineering for experience, a ridiculous score when the company was only five months old.
As for Sepik Metal, the other successful tenderer, they did not even gain the highest score in the assessment but got the contract because they came in exactly on budget – a little insider knowledge goes a long way.
As such, it could not be confidently asserted that either of these two companies were the best companies for the job regardless of conflicts of interest.
What’s more, on digging deeper into these two companies and their affiliates, many more links of John Tangit’s pecuniary involvement were uncovered.
John Tangit has been much more brazen even than Don Polye was when he awarded the Wasa Bridge contract to a crony – at least he didn’t ostensibly hand the contract to himself.
There’s nothing new here
Of the three issues, Wasa Bridge, Community Colleges and now the Angoram RE Project, there is nothing new.
In Kandep, an estimate K71 million has been allocated to the project and the contractors – and no bridge.
In 17 districts of PNG a whopping K156 million has been allocated and spent – and not one Community College to show for it. (“Leave the Grand Chief alone – he’s the Father of the nation,” you say– where’s that ironic font?)
In comparison, the K31 million gone missing from the Angoram RE Project is a mere bagatelle but a huge amount none the less in any context, but especially in one where many people exist on a couple of kina a day and women still die in childbirth at alarming rates through lack of governmental services (maybe in Angoram it’s from lack of electricity.)
This was brutally brought home to me recently when I heard that there was a drive to vaccinate potential mothers in PNG against tetanus. What on earth for?
In my world, tetanus is not considered a risk factor for birthing mothers. But it is where mothers habitually give birth on the ground in the dust and the dirt or the mud and the filth.
Yet here we are – talking of K31 million as if it were nothing – because everything is relative and the relationship of various acts of thievery is regularly and usually counted in millions in PNG.
To date, no one has found a way or a will to successfully prosecute these crimes. Why not?
Inadequacy of the agencies of the state.
For a journalist, once is an incident, twice is suspect and by the third time, it’s a trend. And this mode of corruption is quite the trend in PNG. Yet it’s brazen, and not even particularly sophisticated.
What’s more, in two of these cases, there has either been a very competent Singapore court (Community Colleges) that has done the hard investigative work or a thorough investigation by a reputable independent investigator (Angoram RE Project). As for the Wasa Bridge, if the authorities wanted some evidence of where to look – they could do worse than start with PNG Echo’s own investigation.
Yet it doesn’t happen, does it? Why not?
If the agencies of the state, and the state itself, cannot recognise this brazen and obvious trend and put in place ways to successfully prevent and prosecute the crimes, then the agencies are either incompetent or corrupt themselves.
I find it hard to believe that in the PNG Power saga ,all Fraud Squad’s energies were put into prosecuting John Mangos for alleged visa infringements and an alleged K62,000 for which there was no viable evidence – Mangos would argue that it doesn’t exist – yet with all the credible evidence available to them – nothing has been done on the missing millions.
I re-iterate – the Fraud Squad is either grossly incompetent or corrupt – there is no third way.
It has been difficult to unravel the many and varied thrusts and counter thrusts of the cases of John Mangos and John Tangit when they were both working at PNG Power Ltd (PPL). So, perhaps it’s best to start with the current state of play and work backwards.
John Mangos was charged twice with various offences, firstly relating to his employment contract with PPL and secondly with the allegedly illegal payment to a third party amounting to K62,000. Neither raft of charges got past a committal hearing where the both were found to be lacking in evidence. They were thrown out. Mangos is no longer with PPL.
John Tangit, having been stood down then reinstated, only to be terminated and who is implicated in corruption amounting to millions of dollars (by an independent investigation commissioned by Kumul Holdings and undertaken by a reputable Australian firm of investigators) is now back as at PPL (unconfirmed) having faced no criminal charges whatsoever – scot free – for now. How can this be?
From this information alone, it is reasonable to assume that the charges against Mangos were specious – and that’s certainly what the courts found when they threw them out.
It was Tangit that was the informant who commenced the second raft of charges against Mangos in a letter at the beginning of March this year, that he copied to various people, including the then appropriate Minister Hon William Duma, Paul Nerau, Chairman Kumul Holdings and Fraud Squad officer, Matthew Damaru – that stalwart supporter and enforcer to Sam Koim and the Task Force Sweep team.
So what would have precipitated this malicious and abortive prosecution?
Why would these Fraud Squad officers, who are lauded as exemplary and expert investigators by many, instigate proceedings against someone with so little and such flimsy evidence?
It just could be because the perception of integrity and competency is, in reality…well…just perception. The competency and the motivations of these officers has been seriously impugned by the fact that they, along with Sam Koim’s Task Force Sweep, have lost up to 50% of their cases at committal. Is this incompetence or something far more sinister – because it is either one or the other, there is no third way.
It seems the malicious litigation against Mangos was all to do with the findings of the abovementioned commissioned investigation that Mangos, as Director of PPL, was about to act on.
You see, the Mangos’ arrest and charges strikes a familiar chord – there is a precedent . It has all the hallmarks of a pre-emptive strike to suppress information becoming public – as surely as the ‘arrest’ of Tiffany Twivey was.
NEXT PART: What Tangit did and how did he get away with it? The case against John Tangit