The Inaugural VONC Awards

By PNG Echo

To recognise outstanding achievement in matters concerning the Vote of No Confidence the committee (me) would like to make the following awards. In the category of

KNaru_ResizedBest Speech the winner is:
– the Governor of Morobe who displayed a profound understanding of the issues surrounding this vote and articulated them with a razor sharp analysis – especially in that which concerned the ‘Separation of Powers’.

1609803_10152547043623574_471502395_nThe Yeah Yeah Yeah award also goes to Morobe and is won by:
SAM BASIL– who displayed none of the above but whose words inspired the next award.

The Mispronunciation award, that goes to the word:
OPPOSHISHUN closely rivalled by DESHISHUN

In the ‘Best Dressed’ category the award was unanimously voted as going to:
BEN MICAH – Was his suit a political statement or does he just look good in yellow?


0317np2The Let’s Keep Them Guessing award goes to:
PAIAS WINGTI – who kindly kept the whole nation entertained for seven days playing ‘Where’s Wingti’?  He was in Port Moresby and voted with government.  Who got it right?


James-MarapeIn the category of Best Comeback the award goes to:
JAMES MARAPE – whose quick and incisive replies floored a couple of prominent members of the Opposition including Kerenga Kua, the practiced litigator.


5160696-3x2-940x627Best timing goes to:
THEO ZURENUOC: – the Speaker of the House whose call for a vote was a relief to most (see the ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ category that proved to be a strongly contested award) and that prompted the following category of…


Namah styleBest Tantrum and was won by:
BELDEN NAMAH – who is poised to make this category his own with his foot-stamping, fist thumping rhetoric – “Give us a chance to debate – I will not sit down until I debate.” He must be still standing because in the next category…

6a00d83454f2ec69e2017c32c40800970b-800wiBest Sense of Humour, …where the winner is, once again, Speaker of the House:
THEO ZURENUOC – He presided over the proceedings with good humour, a ready smile and who wisely responded not with sanctions, but with amused laughter at the above recalcitrant.

Peter+O'NeillBut the Gold VONC goes to the Honourable PETER O’NEILL, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (then and now) for his decisive win of 85 to 21.

Hail the Chief.

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Why not Juffa?

By PNG Echo

The warlord's son - with his weapon of choice
The warlord’s son – with his weapon of choice

Don Polye, the Engan warlord, whose election result has been set aside on more than one occasion for suspected and proven tampering (including the most recent one), who is implicated in many corruption scandals including (but not only) the unresolved Paraka case, who has been rejected and sidelined by every government he’s served under, not least of all for incompetence, has been named as the alternative Prime Minister.

Is this the best the Opposition can do?

I’ve maintained (and am unlikely to resile from the position) that the Opposition is not a fit outfit to run a country.   They are a motley crew of the disaffected, disgruntled and rejected – all with knives sharpened to do each other in at the earliest opportunity.

I think they’ve already done Ben Micah in.

According to a government press release, Micah, when denied what Minister Marape has labelled “unreasonable demands” to whit: to be given the Deputy Prime Minister’s Portfolio (the good Minister considering Micah ” …does not have the stature, experience and respect required to be Deputy Prime Minister.”) he gathered up all his toys, like a spoilt child, and left – disgruntled, disaffected and rejected.

Hallo Byron. Off to Alotau? Does ben know?
Hallo Byron. Off to Alotau?

Only he left a few behind, like the Chans – the most useful toys in his stash.

How would he perform as DPM when he can’t even maintain the following of a small political party? I do, though, wonder how Micah found himself in oppositional no man’s land – no nomination as alternative Prime Minister – not even Deputy (they’ve got Basil, who’s made that role his own.)

The only reasonable explanation is that he did more than just sulked away – likely left with a whip behind him.  Ah, you never know how humble you can be – until being humble is all the choice you have.
(Apologies to the unknown sage whose words of wisdom I’ve bastardized)

Mind you, the Opposition are so few that, at this stage, promising Ministerial portfolios would not be a problem.

However, once they’re all gone – what do they have left that’s in the least attractive for the other MPs and for the country? Not a lot.

Yet we are being regaled, in the social media, with all the likely defections – to the Opposition – when in fact the faction that is the most wobbly is the Opposition.

ben-micah (1)Micah, for instance, he’s got nothing for his defection (and he’s not known for doing things out of the goodness of his heart) and what’s more they quite likely tricked him out of the leadership or deputy role and he wouldn’t be pleased about that. I’d say Micah is for sale to the highest bidder – except no one seems to be bidding.

20130910_Tue_HeadlinesAnd then, there’s Namah… who has been ‘making eyes’ at O’Neill for some time now. But the famous cuckold has been, so far, unsuccessful. However, O’Neill would only have to wink at him and he’d come running. He’s no stable member of this wraggle-taggle mob – a bit of a floozy really.

…and Kua – he’s been a bully in the past – See: – and it seems he’s still at it.

5160696-3x2-940x627Wasn’t it humiliating to see Speaker, Theo Zurenuoc go to water when Kua reminded him, ominously, that he could be charged with contempt of court – a veiled threat, I thought. You could have carried the Speaker around in a bucket. I’m wondering what motivates this feisty little gnome-like creature other than enriching the Somares.

Then, lurking in the background, not really with them, not really against them, is the Governor of Oro, Gary Juffa.

Here’s your solution.

 I’m now going to suspend all disbelief in order to give you all what you say you want: that is the Opposition, the social media and the silent majority.

It is the Opposition’s position that this VONC was necessary because Peter O’Neill is ruining the country and needs to be removed to save PNG.   Their motivation is to save PNG from corruption and bad fiscal management.

Pay attention to this, because it’s vital.

How can that be the case when they’ve nominated someone like Don Polye to be alternative Prime Minister – just more of the same things they accuse O’Neill of and worse?

I have also demonstrated, here and at other times, that the main contenders for alternative Prime Minister in the Opposition are all tainted by the broad brush of corruption.

The Opposition would tell you that they were acting on behalf of the ‘silent majority’; that they’ve heard their plaintive cries (although I don’t know how when they’re silent) and are responding – a voice for the voiceless.

Equally, there is a certain demographic that uses the social media who claim to also be speaking for the ‘silent majority’. (The students’ did too – but let’s leave them out – this social grouping seems to be becoming over-represented).

We can therefore conclude that the Opposition and the social media, anti-government forces are speaking for this same voiceless demographic.

With me? Excellent.

The deputy (of most things)
The deputy (of most things)

If we scrutinize the rhetoric of this social media grouping and take heed of the many surveys they have carried out, the consensus is that this silent majority, want Gary Juffa as alternative Prime Minister. Unequivocally! (Oh and Basil as the Deputy – who else?)

Juffa, though, hasn’t got the numbers and the Governor understands this only too well – yes, but only because these supposed representatives of the ‘silent majority’ have given their vote to Polye when their supporters want Juffa.

Oh come on Don, why don’t you listen to the plaintive cries of your constituents? It’s easy stuff, step down, instruct the Opposition (which you claim to lead) to back Juffa.

This will reveal, if your aim is really as stated or whether this VONC is a cynical exercise to raid the state’s coffers. As for the social media and the anti-government forces, I’ve given you a tangible way to get what you want – go lobby – but be prepared to run when the sheepskins are shrugged off to reveal the hungry wolves.

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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

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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Overruled and overturned – The courts previous findings for Damaru and Gitua.

By PNG Echo

Appellant: Minister for Finance - James Marape
Appellant: Minister for Finance – James Marape

Rulings handed down today today by a full bench of the Supreme Court (Justices Hartshorn, Sawong and Makail) have dismissed an objection by Police Officers Gitua and Damaru to an appeal by Minister James Marape arising from a National Court decision and have, furthermore, reversed a ruling of single-sitting Supreme Court Judge, Justice Kirriwom, thus upholding the appeal of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Minister James Marape and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

In the first-mentioned matter, an appeal had been lodged against the National Court’s ruling that refused an application by government and police lawyers for interlocutory orders by consent, restraining police from arresting Minister Marape and the Prime Minister.

Messrs Gitua and Damaru were objecting to the competency of the appeal.

A full bench of the Supreme Court ruled:

In our view all of the objections of the objectors’ [Damaru and Gitua] do not question this court’s jurisdiction to hear the appeal and do not go to the competency of the appeal but rather questions as to the merits of the appeal. Consequently the objection to competency should be dismissed.

In the second matter, the appeal was against Justice Kirriwom’s ruling that police officer’s Gitua and Damaru should be allowed to choose and engage their preferred counsel – in this case, Jema Lawyers and barrister Greg Egan.

Instructions from Attorney General Ano Pala needed to engage lawyers on behalf of the state and state employees.
Instructions from Attorney General Ano Pala needed to engage lawyers on behalf of the state and state employees.

The court determined that as police officers, Damaru and Gitua were required to obtain approval from the Attorney General to engage lawyers to act on their behalf in this proceeding and that Justice Kirriwom had erred in drawing the opposing conclusion.

An interim order restraining the police officers from engaging or instructing lawyers was granted and it was ordered that each party (both the Attorney General and the police officers) make the applications and appointments necessary for legal representation of Damaru and Gitua in this matter.

In both cases costs were awarded against Damaru and Gitua.

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Marape arrest stayed: Supreme Court backs Vaki.

By PNG Echo.

Supreme Court, Waigani, 30 July 2014:

Hon James Marape - his Supreme Court appeal granted
Hon James Marape – his Supreme Court appeal granted

Justice, David, Hartshorn and Sawong were today unanimous in their decision to grant Finance Minister, James Marape an interim injunction restraining his arrest by any member of the RPNGC.

The outcome was not unexpected as all four responding parties, Prime Minister, Paul Paraka, RPNGC and Independent State of PNG consented to the appeal of Finance Minister Marape for the interim injunction.

However, what was not widely foreshadowed was how strongly the divisions apparent within the ranks of the police force affected the outcome of the appeal (that in different circumstances may have been decided otherwise, according to the decision) and how the Judges, in their summation, tacitly endorsed and supported the leadership of the new Police Commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki.

We have […] heard submissions from counsel for the applicant, the Royal Constabulary, the Prime Minister and the State, which to say the least, are disturbing, distressing and saddening,

they wrote.

They went on to mention their specific concerns which included: the assault of lawyer acting for the Acting Police Commissioner (Sam Bonner) “in the precincts of this court,” the two charges brought against the Acting Police Commissioner by other police and the situation whereby the orders issued by the Acting Police Commissioner to members of the RPNGC had been ignored.

Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki, granted time needed to restore the integrity of RPNGC
Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki, granted time needed to restore the integrity of RPNGC

All this “…had created animosity and division amongst members of the police force,” the court stated, and it was agreed that the Acting Police Commissioner needed time to restore the integrity and reputation of his office and also the RPNGC generally.

It was in this context, that the court decided it had no confidence that any arrest of the Finance Minister, carried out while the RPNGC was in such a state, would be in accordance with the law and not motivated by “improper reasons” of one or more RPNGC members.

“No citizen of this country, regardless of any position that he may hold, should have to live in fear of such treatment from a supposedly disciplined force,” was the court’s final point before granting Marape’s application.

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Vexatious litigation and Namah:

Vexatious litigation is legal action that is brought, regardless of its merits, solely to harass or subdue an adversary.  Filing vexatious litigation is considered an abuse of the judicial process.

By PNG Echo

v_for_vexatious_640Opposition leader, Belden Namah, through his lawyer, Alois Jerewai, yesterday made an application to the court (Sakora J) to vary the conditions of a consent order made on 20 January in the court of Justice Cathy Davani that protected all parties to the proceedings from arrest until the court case was decided.

It’s the latest salvo in a case that has little to do with justice and everything to do with using the courts to create political instability in order to effect Namah’s political ambitions that he has been unable to realise through the correct channels: the parliament.

How long will the PNG courts entertain his behaviour?

Continue reading Vexatious litigation and Namah:

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So who’s telling the truth? DSIP funds again

By PNG Echo

Hon Samuel Basil wants Bulolo's DSIP funds
Hon Samuel Basil wants Bulolo’s DSIP funds and he wants them NOW
James Marape says he has them - subject to budgetary constraints
James Marape says he already has them – subject to budgetary constraints









Finance MinisterJames Marape, has denied the claims of Sam Basil that Wau/Bulolo is being discriminated against in the distribution of DSIP funds (along with the electorates of all Opposition MPs) because of political affiliations. ( (Post Courier 28 February 2014)

Just last night on social media, Sam Basil claimed that he had received only K3million of DSIP funding with a second payment of K3 million being inaccessible because it was deposited in the wrong account.

There has also been an ‘urgent’ appeal to the Supreme Court, lodged by the Opposition, to halt payment of 2014 DSIP monies.  It will be heard on March 14.

Marape made this offer to Basil:

Continue reading So who’s telling the truth? DSIP funds again

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The devastating import of Namah’s court case.

By PNG Echo

...Not arrested
…not arrested

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.

...not arrested
…not arrested

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 – Continue reading The devastating import of Namah’s court case.

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Breaking News: Case withdrawn, costs against Namah

By PNG Echo

Proceedings to be heard today in the court at Waigani were withdrawn by Counsel for Hon Belden Namah, Alois Jerewai, in lieu of new proceedings that had been filed by him on behalf of Namah last Friday, that included the four members of the RPNGC.

Although Jerewai wanted to carry the costs across to the new proceedings, lawyer Tiffany Twivey – Nonggorr, acting for the Prime Minister, argued against, saying that the the proceedings that Namah had initially filed were not “proper” and that Namah should pay costs of all defendants including the four policemen involved.

Continue reading Breaking News: Case withdrawn, costs against Namah

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The week that was ending 20 January 2014. The day the circus came to town

By PNG Echo

CQ-020-Circus-Big-TopMore sideshows have been added this week to ‘Belden’s Big Top’, the (quasi) anti corruption circus that opened early in January with Belden performing the ‘Arrest the Prime Minister Dance’.

2013-09-05 09.16.06This clumsy dance was clearly self-choreographed, with Belden soon stumbling on his own amateur dance steps as the professionals (lawyers) proved to the arbitrators (courts) that the dance was unworthy.

And although, Blind Freddy could see his footprints all over the choreography, Belden chose to hide his light under a bushel and attributed it to four of PNGs finest.

It was a poison chalice that he’d handed the police officers (although it’s alleged that the pot was sweetened) because the four were suspended from their duties for disobeying orders.  (They had been told not to dance with the devil.)

circusAs I write, a major new attraction is opening in the courts of Waigani where Belden will give a benefit performance for the four disgraced police officers while trying to avoid being hit by the flying daggers of the knife thrower with deadly aim, Continue reading The week that was ending 20 January 2014. The day the circus came to town

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