By PNG Echo
(Keep reading to the end where the document that answers the question is supplied.)
It was the National Executive Council (NEC) that established Task Force Sweep and it was the NEC that terminated the agency.
But Sam Koim couldn’t accept the inevitable. He was enjoying his elevated and internationally lauded position, notwithstanding his inexperienced and inept management of the agency that saw only half of his prosecutions make it through a committal hearing and of many of those that have, have been an unnecessary failure, according to a concerned legal expert.
Koim recently stated of the decommissioning of the agency:
It’s like the accusers threw us out of the ship in the middle of the deep ocean and expected us to drown and die, but when we made it to the shore alive, they then turned around and accused us saying “why are you still surviving?”
Actually, the situation was anything but.
They were let out of a very leaky, inadequate boat on the Jetty and told to go home – but Koim kept wading back into the sea then expecting someone to pay for expensive lifeguards to get into the surf with him and keep his head above water. It has been a wilful and continuing act.
The analogy is plain: We are talking about his many and various attempts to keep the agency afloat using expensive and illegally hired lawyers and barristers. Recently, for the third time, the Supreme Court made the ruling of their illegality bringing into question every and any court victory he may have obtained using the expensive counsel
Anyway, the question of who has been funding the agency as well as funding the litigation has been the burning question.
Ask no more.
Hereunder is an account from the Grand Papua Hotel for Mr Greg Egan, Koim’s senior counsel of choice, accomodation and food. The entity that was picking up the tab was Posman Kua, Aisi – Kerenga Kua’s old law firm.
I am also reliably informed that the ‘Dream Inn’ a Kua enterprise has also been used extensively – but that will remain speculation until someone can find an account I can publish. For now, let’s go with the one we have.
This is page 6 of Mr Egan’s accommodation bill with the final amount disclosed. I have receipt of the other five pages. Please note who’s picking up the tab.
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
Best Speech the winner is:
KELLY NARU – 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’.
The 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?
The 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?
In 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.
Best 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…
Best 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…
Best 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.
But 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.
In most western democracies – certainly ones with a two-party system – the Opposition opposes the Government primarily on political ideology. That ideology provides the guiding principles for their policies.
In Papua New Guinea that has a 40-something-party (and goodness knows how many independents) system, the leading political ideology is self-serving pragmatism with a nod to expediency – so what exactly does the Opposition oppose?
The raison d’être
In the main, they are in Opposition because the Government doesn’t want them. In fact, the Opposition ranks (and they are meagre) consist of the rejected, swelled by the disaffected. And this is where the ‘alternative Prime Minister’ of Papua New Guinea will be sourced?
They’d all be still with the O’Neill Government if they had not either been unceremoniously dumped and/or O’Neill had not thwarted their ambitions, within the Government.
Many (and more, it seems, to come) have slunk into the Opposition ranks, tail between their legs, venting their spiteful spleen, like rejected lovers.
In fact, I’ve heard tell that the ultimate politically rejected lover is shuffling behind O’Neill, with his begging bowl, exhorting O’Neill to take him back. I’ve also heard tell that O’Neill is resolute in denying him.
The major players
Don Polye: Stripped of the Ministry of Finance, then the Treasury portfolio and then expelled from Government by O’Neill. Ordered by the Prime Minister to sit in the Opposition benches, after initially resisting, he finally complied – ousting Namah as Opposition Leader. As leader of THE Party, Polye does not control his members. A large section of his Party stayed with government, including the Deputy Prime Minister – many defected to the Prime Minister’s party, PNC.
Belden Namah: The ultimate cuckold. O’Neill’s coalition partner going into the 2012 elections, O’Neill found he did not need Namah – neither as far as numbers were concerned nor did he need the controversy and shame that Namah had brought to the high office when he was Deputy Prime Minister. Eventually, all deserted Namah with the last being the perpetual deputy, Sam Basil – and now he’s gone too.
Kerenga Kua: Former Attorney General – did he jump – or was he pushed? Certainly things were not going swimmingly for him in the government ranks. He never made it. Now he is the leader of the disgruntled (oh, and some resurrected and obscure political, one-man party.)
Sam Basil: Even the perpetual deputy whose fortunes rose and fell with Belden Namah has decided that Namah is too much of a liability and has resurrected the Pangu Party as its leader and even managed to get himself one follower in the guise of Little Willie Samb of Goilala. To my knowledge though, he is still deputy of the opposition – but I wonder for how long now that the Opposition has swelled its number of wannabes.
In the comments, please feel free to add an Opposition member and elaborate how they have been rejected by government and why they are disgruntled.
Which brings us to Ben Micah: Rumour has it that O’Neill would not give him the Deputy Prime Minister’s job and removed his portfolio. So welcome to the disgruntled, Ben. You’ll need to fight with Kua to have the title of ‘leader’ of that bloc but you certainly have the advantage in the weight stakes if not necessarily the political weight stakes. (BTW Ben, you forgot to take the Chans with you!)
Micah’s sins and indiscretions are legion. They are the stuff of dissertations and I have no time to go into them now. But you know what they are anyway – feel free to share in the comments. We’re all interested.
The Opposition’s rejoicing at Micah’s defection reminds me of the time when Namah, as then Leader of the Opposition, proudly announced his newest defection to the ranks – Paul Tiensten, that is, after he’d been convicted but before his sentence had been handed down. For all of you who missed it – Tiensten is in Bomana (I wonder if he’s still in the Opposition and whether he can vote?)
I do understand that this outlook for an alternative Prime Minister is depressingly bleak – but I have been fomenting an idea that could work. I’m going to sleep on it – I’ll get back to you soon. After all, we’ve only got seven days.
Take Don Polye: he’s tried for years, but he inspires no one; his aspirations to lead have only led him into the diminished position he finds himself today – leading an opposition who are only behind him because that is the best position from where to stab him in the back.
They all want to lead – it’s just that no one follows. They just don’t inspire – none of them.
Yet, there are no followers in the current Opposition either (save for little Willie Samb of Goilala who, on joining the Opposition, found himself in a far more prominent position than he would have been had he joined government.)
Little Willie is the one-man-band of the eternal ‘deputy’ Sam Basil, and even he is now the proud head of the largest party (?) in Opposition (or is that still Polye’s THE Party, I seem unable to find any members who quit government to follow their ‘leader’ into Opposition – but I guess there must be at least one.)
Amusingly, a party of two is double the usual size of the parties in this coalition.
Painted into a corner
Polye is the figurative head of a raggle-taggle band of wannabe leaders that are, in reality, has-beens (Namah), never-were (Marat), never-will-be (Basil), and chancers (Kua and the rest).
I doubt if any of them are loyal to Polye. He doesn’t inspire loyalty.
Some are only in the Opposition because that’s the only side that will have them – and Polye is amongst this number.
Ousted by O’Neill – he should have seen it coming. His performance in the role of Minister for Treasury and Finance saw O’Neill remove the Finance portfolio from him and place it in more competent hands. That was before he dumped him, unceremoniously, notwithstanding the numbers that he could have taken with him into Opposition – but they didn’t go. His leadership qualities are lacking.
Then there are those that would be back in the government if only O’Neill would have them and I hear tell that at least one has been imploring O’Neill to take him back. The metaphoric jilted lover whose plaintiff cry “…after all I’ve done for you,” echoed through the hallowed halls of Waigani in 2012.
The things they share: The risks they run
One of the binding common factors of the Opposition is that they don’t want to follow Polye: this coalition is of the unwilling.
The other, of course, is that these wannabe leaders have no followers. They are the overly-ambitious heads of one-man parties whose members (followers) have deserted them in droves.
If Polye manages to wrest power from O’Neill – and the likelihood of that is negligible – will we see the Ides of March re-enacted in Papua New Guinea?
I don’t believe there will be one member of the Opposition that will refrain from gleefully plunging the dagger into Polye after he has served his purpose – he just doesn’t inspire loyalty.
O’Neill has proved a formidable and maybe even an impossible target for this band of treacherous brothers – Polye would be a far easier foe. They’re hoping he can pull a rabbit out of a hat for them – before they turn on him.
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
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.
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
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.
Veteran former ABC Journalist and Pacific correspondent, Sean Dorney, has called the recent spate of political and judicial wranglings in Papua New Guinea “stranger than fiction,” but are they really?
It’s about power: wars have been fought for it, sons have killed fathers for it and innocent people have become a victim to it. And while the quest for power is rarely altruistic, hypocritical usurpers often invoke altruism to justify their lust for it.
And so it happens in Papua New Guinea where the desperate, wanting the head of the Prime Minister, say they’re fighting corruption. But how can that be when they ignore the main perpetrator, Paul Paraka, in favour of a dubious political target whose downfall would be beneficial to their goal of taking over government?
So who are they?
We don’t know for sure and it seems that they want to keep it that way – in fact lawyer Tiffany Twivey is of the opinion that her arrest was to prevent her from cross examining Sam Koim, on the witness stand as to the source of his funding.
It’s not lost on me [that] I was arrested the day before this final attempt to try and get the truth out there,”
Certainly the public faces of the unholy crusade are Sam Koim, and Fraud Squad officers Matthew Damaru and Timothy Gitua, but they can’t be acting on their own – they couldn’t afford to be, neither in monetary nor career terms.
Anywhere else or in any normal situation that would be sedition,
said Tiffany Twivey of their maverick arrest spree carried out in secret without the knowledge of their boss.
But not so in Papua New Guinea where actions that would be seditious in less unruly contexts are backed by judicial decisions that are often “stranger than fiction.”
For while the political support for the action of the rogue police is self-serving, hypocritical, mal-intended, it is expected – politics is like that.
(I believe that MP Kerenga Kua, sacked attorney-general and Sir Michael Somare’s former lawyer has coughed to the funding in an interview recorded by the ABC correspondent in Port Moresby and about to be aired on Australia’s 7.30 report – if it hasn’t been already.)
But nevertheless, and in spite of the separation of powers, none of this could have happened without the support of certain members of the judiciary whose rulings have oftentimes bordered on the bizarre tacitly condoning the anarchical actions of the rogue police while ensuring they remained answerable to no one.
Lately, one can almost predict the outcome of a legal case in matters involving the Prime Minister just by which judge the case will be before.
Justice Colin Makail has made some rulings that defy logic – deciding to hear a case, for instance, out of logical sequence rendering the second case potentially inconsequential, when it shouldn’t be.
It’s in the matter relating to Task Force Sweep where he decided to hear the substantive case without first hearing the charges of contempt and subjudice contempt against Koim. If Koim is found guilty of such contempt his case could (and arguably should) be thrown out – but it can’t be if it’s already been heard.
And as far as things subjudice are concerned, Justice Makail has recently queried something that COP Gary Baki published and has asked for submissions on whether it is subjudice. However, when Sam Koim published a paid full-page article on the case in the newspapers, not a single judicial eyebrow was raised – and this is in spite of the fact that it was not only subjudice contempt that could be alleged but also Koim was defying a court directive preventing such a breach.
Then there’s Justice Kirriwom who referred lawyers acting for the Prime Minister and Police Commissioner to their statutory body on a wrong premise.
Then again, Justice David Allen arguably (and I’m sure the lawyers are preparing to argue this in court) overstepped his jurisdiction by interfering in police administrative matters. His ruling directly contributed to the potentially dangerous situation where, in an attempt to bring his men into line, the Commissioner of Police had to use some of his men against others of them – something he should be never forced to do.
So why do certain elements of the judiciary appear to be politically compromised? Is the Chief Justice implicated?
The Chief Justice
This is a question for which I do not have the definitive answer – but there are things I do know, things told to me, usually in confidence, but always told with believable conviction and with a proviso that their name not be mentioned – one doesn’t cross the Chief Justice (CJ), apparently.
You see, the CJ, ideally considered to be ‘first amongst equals’, is so much more in PNG. Indeed the name of the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, is whispered in awe and trepidation in PNG legal circles, I’m told.
“My Lord and Master,” is how one Judge facetiously described the Chief Justice – and while there was certainly an element of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm with that remark, I’ve no doubt that were the CJ to say “jump” the response would be “how high.”
What’s more, the CJ has considerable influence within the Judicial Legal Services Commission (JLSC), which is the body that appoints judges. Although a five-member team makes the appointments, it is said that the CJ dominates.
It was a surprise to most when the late Justice Mark Sevua was not reappointed to the bench. Indeed, I have heard lawyers who’ve appeared before the learned judge wax lyrical about the privilege. However, he had not kept on the good side of the CJ whose dislike for Sevua was manifest when he failed to attend his funeral but left it to the Deputy Chief Justice instead.
The cognoscenti are also aware that there is no love lost between recently-arrested judge Sir Bernard Sakora and Sir Salamo either, (although there is no evidence that connects the CJ with his arrest – just a sneaking suspicion, based on recent bizarre judicial decisions).
So, it is in the best interests of a judge coming up for re-appointment – or indeed any other time – to keep on the good side of this powerful man. I’ve been told by those same cognoscenti that the CJ neither forgives nor forgets.
If that be true, then he would have a considerable grudge against this government over the impasse.
And understandably so – I still cringe when I see the footage of Namah storming into the court yelling: “Arrest him.” How ignominious to the office of the Chief Justice and the Chief Justice himself to have to cower behind the locked door of his chamber against this crass onslaught.
One has to wonder whether this crosses Sir Salamo’s mind when involved political identities come within his jurisdiction – before his courts? Revenge is a powerful emotion.
Because under the current system, it is the CJ who decides which judges sit on appeals in the Supreme Court – a considerable power – I wonder on what criteria he makes his selection?
For Sir Salamo Injia is a Chief Justice whose conscience and scruples allowed him to stop a legal case against himself and also to disregard the Supreme Court Act to deliver judgment in the second case between Prime Minister O’Neill and Sir Michael Somare after two of the judges of the five-judge bench left – it’s an ominous precedent on how Sir Salamo is prepared to wield his power.
Has he been doing that here – or am I adding 2+2 and coming up with five?
Chief Magistrate, Ms. Nerrie Eliakim, yesterday (July 4, 2014), dismissed an application from police to set aside an arrest warrant for the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, in the Committal Court, Waigani.
The decision of Ms Eliakim who is believed to be close to former Justice Minister and Attorney General, Kerenga Kua, will seriously undermine the authority of the newly-appointed Police Commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki and police powers.
Stated under S197 (2) of the Constitution is that the functions of the police are not only to lay and prosecute charges but also withdraw them
As it now stands, the Police Commissioner has lost his authority.
How can a police force operate effectively while subordinates are being encouraged by the courts to ignore directives from their Commissioner, who wants the arrest warrant withdrawn?
Under the circumstances, it is to be expected that the Police Commissioner will appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, in the Supreme Court, lawyers for the Prime Minister have lodged an urgent appeal against the decision of the National Court whereby the Prime Minister’s application for a stay of the arrest warrant was also dismissed.
The decision being appealed was contraindicated when all parties agreed to the stay – the court didn’t.
However, in handing down the decision Judge Kariko also affirmed the Police Commissioner’s authority over the police force – which Magistrate Eliakim’s subsequent ruling in a lower court has undermined.
The Supreme Court has adjourned the PMs appeal until the end of next week while Ms Eliakim’s written decision will be made available on Monday 7 July…and look out for the anticipated appeal of the Police Commissioner who seems in no hurry to arrest the Prime Minister.
In the meantime the police force must be in complete disarray with no one knowing from whom they take orders.
In fact, so good were his cards that he had that very rare commodity in a card game – a ‘lay-down misère’.
A lay-down misère is a hand so good that it is played in full view of the other players with no risk. It’s brazen and it’s shamelessly triumphant.
However, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Prime Minister may have ‘stacked the deck’ by removing all the opponent’s trumps (Sam Koim, ITFS, Thomas Eluh, Kerenga Kua…) with one of the last being dissenting Solicitor-General, Ms Jubilee Tindiwi.