So you want Kerenga Kua as the next PM- Oh Please!

By PNG Echo

Kerenga Kua
Kerenga Kua

Social media has started throwing around Kerenga Kua’s name as a possible next Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. It’s another ill-considered notion from the Keyboards of Papua New Guinea’s self-professed ‘elites’ (sic).

I mean, why would you want him? He’s a cheat, a hypocrite and a thug.

Having said that, I can see that it at least may be possible – unlike the other candidates that social media wastes our time with like Gary Juffa and Sam Basil who have not got a snowball’s hope in hell.

Even if they win the hearts of their people, they then have the problem of winning over their fellow Members – and neither have the numbers – nor do they have the wherewithal and allegiances to garner them.  Juffa is an intelligent man (not so much Basil) and he knows this only too well.

But back to Kerenga Kua, the bully boy from Sinasina/Yongomugl

Sir Michael Somare
Sir Michael Somare

Firstly, having spent many years as Sir Michael Somare’s personal lawyer, Kua, no doubt, knows where all the bodies are buried, what’s more, as his legal representative he likely would have helped Sir Michael dig the graves.

If Sir Michael knows a certain something about corruption you have to wonder who was the master and who was the apprentice in this relationship.

And he’s a lawyer too.

The most abiding criticism the current Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill faces is that he should stop using legal avenues to avoid arrest and submit to the court processes. Hell, our legal friend Kua has even made a big splash and a big man of himself suggesting the same.

Kua clearly has not heard the adage about people in glass houses not throwing stones.

I don’t know how he could have made such a statement with a straight face – not in view of what happened when an arrest warrant was extant for him in 2010.
Take it away, Sunday Chronicle.

[With]Mr Yama [complainant]…alleging conspiracy to pervert the court of justice [against Kua and others ] …police were working to interview PNG Law Society President, Kerenga Kua…but it was alleged that the duo [Kua and a Mr Mua] fled to Chimbu [to avoid arrest]…Mr Kua returned to Port Moresby after their representative, Blake Dawson Waldron Lawyers, successfully took out a National Court orders which granted leave to apply for a judicial review of the decision of Waigani District Court magistrate …to issue warrants of arrests.

The arrest warrants were stayed.   How familiar does that sound? And how hypocritical does Kua sound, knowing this? Besides, never has Peter O’Neill fled to Chimbu or anywhere else – so clearly Kua could elevate this avoidance to a level otherwise unimagined.

Commissions, Commissions, Commissions

Goiye Gileng - keeping it all in the family
Goiye Gileng – keeping it all in the family

And a healthy imagination is what you’d need to believe the things that came out of the Commission of Inquiry into the briefing out and payment of private law firms.

Firstly in Paraka-esque fashion Kua tried to stop the commission – he failed.

The Commission questioned Kua and his two partners in PKA Lawyers one of whom, Goiye Gileng is Kua’s brother. And didn’t the lawyer for the Commission have a field day?

When Kisakiu Posman, Kua’s other erstwhile partner in the law firm PKA Lawyers, was asked what constituted an ‘item’ in a bill for X numbers of items, he answered that they were six minute blocks but then stumbled saying – no probably a unit was an hour.

Firstly, everyone knows that lawyers bill in minutes not hours. However, Posman must have been busy doing the sums in his head and was way ahead of counsel who pointed out that were they 6-minute units then the charge out rate would be K15,000 per hour. Whoa! However, counsel had done his homework and pointed out that in the other scenario (1 unit= an hour) then Mr Kua must have worked for 20 hours that day.

While Posman said that this would be right, at least Kua, when cross examined, said he rarely worked more than 11 hours in a day. Yet, there it was  – the bill.

And then there are the ‘jobs for the boys’ or nepotism.

During the short time that Kua was Attorney General, he briefed out two of the most lucrative matters to his old firm, PKA Lawyers.

Counsel for the Commission pointed out that according to company records, Kerenga Kua was still involved in the firm when this happened. Posman explained it as being an ‘oversight’ and when Kua was questioned he said that, as Attorney General, he gave the contract to the most competent firm – yes, a firm so competent that they forget to alter the company records in a situation as sensitive as this – you’d want them in your corner if your life was on the line, wouldn’t you?

Yet, they billed the government millions of dollars (either at K15,000 an hour, or while working 20 hour days) for working on the Kumul Holdings case and, you guessed it, PNGSDP case in Singapore.

And that’s not all, there was much more – but read it yourselves.  The 18 and 25th November is of particular interest. Here is the link.

And last, but not least, is the Member’s thuggery.

In a violent society, where the most vulnerable, most often women and children get gratuitously beaten, maimed and killed, to have a leader that embodies the traits of the perpetrator is simply unconscionable.

Here is a report of the Incident from The National Jan 6, 2014

…In his witness statement, which was supported by security guard Samson Kokong, Hunter [electrical manager with Aisi-Bishman Contractors]said the incident occurred at 7pm at a property owned by Kua in Section 60, Lot 20 on Gabaka Street, Gordon…

Hunter said when he arrived  [at the premises]with two of his workers, he saw Kua with 12 security guards waiting inside.

“I was trying to greet him when he started shouting that I had wrecked his property and he punched me in the face,” Hunter said in his statement to police.

“I attempted to reason with him and explain my side of the issue while he continued to punch me in between yelling accusations that I was a con man and had cheated him.”…

Hunter said Kua and one of his security guards then proceeded to attack him but he managed to run out of the gate and drive off to the Boroko police station to report the matter.

Ah yes, what a Prince! Just what Papua New Guinea needs – He’s everything that’s been criticised about the current Prime Minister and so much more – he’s potentially another Paraka and he’s also a bovver boy.

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No rogue police: Kalinoe wants hierarchy respected

By PNG Echo.

Police officers Damaru and Gitua, halted in their tracks.
Police officers Damaru and Gitua

They say that PNG is the land of the unexpected – but there is nothing unexpected about the latest decisions pertaining to Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru and Chief Inspector Timothy Gitua of the RPNGC in what pertains to their witch hunt against the O’Neill government.

In the latest developments, Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, acting for the Attorney-General Ano Pala (who has, quite rightly, delegated authority to Kalinoe owing to a conflict of interest in this case) has refused to brief out barrister Greg Egan and Jema lawyers to represent the two policemen in the cases involving the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Finance Minister James Marape, Attorney-General Ano Pala, Police Commissioner Gari Baki, and Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele (or any cases, for that matter).

In the expected outcry by the supporters of the two rogue policemen, I have not been disappointed. This too was anticipated.

However, while my expectations and the expectations of the rogue policemen’s supporters tally, (we both expected the request to be denied) they come from a completely different understanding of justice and the rule of law.

Jungle Justice

Attorney General a=says "no" to a re-engagement of this legal representation
Attorney General says “no” to a re-engagement of this legal representation

The supporters of Damaru and Gitua want jungle justice, PNG style. They believe that the ‘bikmen’ that Damaru and Gitua have targeted are guilty and they want their heads on a plate regardless of how many principles suffer or how much anarchy and its ensuing consequences their need for retribution may trigger.

It is their argument that the government, by denying this request, is merely protecting itself and its implicated members. They claim it’s unfair.

On the surface, it may seem that way but only because these police personnel have been allowed to get away with insubordination for so long – so much so, that it has become normalised and expected that they should get away with more.

Anything is ok,with their followers as long as they deliver the bllood for which these people have been baying.

Who gave Damaru and Gitua the idea that they could act independently: that they had authority to brief these lawyers in the first place? Under whose authority were they acting?  Sam Koim’s?  He has no authority and is unlikely ever to get any again.

As one commentator on PNG Echo wrote:

These proceedings [various proceedings surrounding Koim] are a waste of time and money because Koim’s Task Force Sweep has no legitimate source of funding and since we should have a politically independent ICAC soon which should make Koim irrelevant although I am sure even that will not deflate his ego.

And when Damaru said, in the press, of the Acting Attorney-General’s refusal to grant his choice of lawyers

This is a major setback to all cases (in court) and investigations (into PM and others) currently underway… Taking on new representation will further delay us,

he really has only himself to blame. He should have thought about that before he decided to be a maverick. All actions have consequences, and that this gung-ho police officer failed to foresee them could be a direct result of his unbridled zealotry.

It is directly akin to all of the contempt of court charges that are now extant and threatening to hold up cases while they’re decided.  The people who have allegedly committed the contempt are busy crying foul but again, they have only themselves to blame : if you don’t want contempt charges to muddy the water, stop committing contempt – it’s not rocket science, especially if you are trained in the law.

Brought back into line

Kalinoe-on-Sanctioning-Prostitution-media
Dr Lawrence Kaliinoe, Acting Attorney-General

The RPNGC is a disciplinary force that is hierarchical in structure. There is a definite chain of command, without which the members become vigilantes – answerable to no one. As reported in his letter to Damaru, Dr Kalinoe has reminded the police officer of this when he tells him

…the request should have come from the Police Commissioner as the head of the organisation

Damaru was advised by the Attorney-General’s Department that he and his officers were able to be represented by lawyers from the Public Solicitor’s Office – which is what the office is there for.

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The incredible rise and fall of Sam Koim

By PNG Echo

Then…

Sam Koim - Dedicated corruption fighter or dangerous vigilante?
Sam Koim – Some say dedicated corruption fighter others think he’s a dangerous vigilante.

Sam Koim started his legal career, at the end of 2008, as an employed lawyer at the Office of the Solicitor General. He rose quickly (within three years) to national – even international – prominence.

Koim owes his meteoric rise, at least the start of it, to his friendship with Sam Basil.

Indeed it was Basil, then Minister for National Planning in the O’Neill/Namah government, who, in 2011, put in a submission to the NEC for the establishment of Task Force Sweep (TFS) with Koim at the helm.

At the time, Koim had only two years experience as a lawyer and no experience at all in criminal law: he had never prosecuted or defended a criminal charge – his experience was limited.

Sam Basil, backed Koim
Sam Basil, backed Koim

Under these circumstances it was a curious appointment by Basil who is now the deputy leader of the Parliamentary Opposition.

Koim when asked of Basil’s involvement with TFS stated:

He was involved with us when he was the Minister for National Planning overseeing the investigations. After that, I got nothing to do with him.

The track record of TFS

Paul Tienstien convicted by TFS of official corruption
Paul Tienstien convicted by TFS of official corruption

TFS, under Sam Koim has prosecuted a number of high-profile cases successfully including the conviction and incarceration of powerful politician Paul Tiensten. This notwithstanding, a legal expert has been scathingly critical of the performance of TFS: Continue reading The incredible rise and fall of Sam Koim

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Nature hates a vacuum: The potential demise of Peter O’Neill

By PNG Echo

Papua New Guinea has entered very dangerous political waters.

6161009The courts were aware of this when they cautioned restraint after the hearing to stay the arrest warrant of Peter O’Neill. –

Yet both sides are going about, willy nilly, doing the very things that they were cautioned against and which may just land them with a contempt of court charge?

Disgraced  former Police Commissioner Sir Tom Kulunga
Disgraced former Police Commissioner Sir Tom Kulunga

The retired Police Commissioner, Sir Tom Kulunga, was recently convicted of contempt and received a sentence of seven months hard labour.   Not even this has deterred them.

The Prime Minister’s actions are easily explainable – he’s fighting for his very existence.

He’s using political manoeuvring to stack the deck for when he next appears in court. Continue reading Nature hates a vacuum: The potential demise of Peter O’Neill

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