PNG Power: Where’s the money (part two)

By PNG Echo.

The Fraud Squad is either grossly incompetent or corrupt – there is no third way.

The ineffective and ineffectual heads of the Fraud Squad
The ineffective and ineffectual heads of the Fraud Squad

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.

Déjà Vu

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.

john-tangit-ceo-png-power
John Tangit, erstwhile CEO of PNG Power Ltd.

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.

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The Somare accounts.

By PNG Echo.

You asked for it – here is is.  Another nail in the coffin of the Grand Chief’s aspirations to cover up the Singapore dealings.  When he asks that advise he says he’s going to of his lawyers, I wonder what they’ll tell him?

What we know so far is that 3 cheques made out to Sir Michael Thomas Somare were deposited in Singapore bank account No 0374026963

  1. Dated 16.08.10 and was for $US280,000 – it was deposited on 16.08.10
  2. Dated 01.09.10 for $US280,000 – it was deposited on 02.09.10
  3. Dated 12.11.10 for $US224,000 and was deposited on 15.11.10

The Standard Chartered Bank “One Account” of Sir Michael Thomas Somare,  for which PNG Echo has two bank statements, one can assume is a different account to the one that the cheques written out to Sir Michael Somare were deposited into as one of the transfers in the Oneaccount came from 0374026963

Hereunder, Sir Michael Thomas Somare’s “Oneaccount’ bank statements for the end of 2010

Transactions of interest

9 September 2010  Statement

17 August – Bulk cheque deposit – $280,000
1 September – Cash withdrawal – $260,000
3 September – Bulk cheque deposit – $200,000
3 September – Cash Withdrawal – $125,000
3 September – Transfer 0309980593 – $125,000
3 September – Transfer of $165,500 from account 0374026963 (see above)
3 September – Cash withdrawal $165,500

9 December 2010 Statement

16 November – Bulk cheque deposit – $224,000
7 December – Clearing cheque – $220,000

Summary

In August/September there were three large deposits (and other small ones that I have not taken into account). The total of those cheques was $645,000.

In November there was another for $224,000 – making the grand total $869,000.

In the space of 3 days (1-3 September) an astounding $550,500 was withdrawn in cash, $125,000 was transferred into another account (recipient unknown), then in December a cheque was written on the account for $220,000

In – $869,500
Out – $895,500

NOTE;  Incomings are in blue, outgoings in red for ease of reading.

The thought that is exercising my mind is how do you move that amount of cash?  What does $550,500 cash even look like?  How many suitcases would it fill?  How were those funds moved internationally? Was it legal?

Disclaimer:  Owing to the indistinct printing of some of the documents, although all care has been taken, we bear no responsibility for any inadvertent mistakes.  People should rely on their own reading of the documents that are hereunder provided.

The Cheques and the Bank Statements

Somare Cheque 2Somare Cheque 3Somare Cheque 1scan-2scan-3scan-4scan-5

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Somare’s Singapore sling leaves Koim with a hang-over

By PNG Echo

The Grand Chief - irrevocably implicated
The Grand Chief – irrevocably implicated

The recent revelation that PNG’s former Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, was named in a Singapore criminal prosecution as a recipient of $US784, 000.00 (K2, 540,000.00) has exposed Sam Koim’s position as a so-called anti-corruption fighter in PNG, as fundamentally compromised.

Since Task Force sweep was decommissioned by the NEC, Koim has been kept afloat by unknown private sources.

Is it Somare himself, or Somare’s political allies who are providing this funding?

It’s really time Koim came clean with the people of PNG about who is funding his operations.  If Koim is, in fact funded by Somare or Somare’s political allies, this may explain Koim’s failure to prosecute or pursue Somare for this Singapore sling, wouldn’t it?

It might also suggest that the purpose of Koim’s relentless and well-funded attempts to remove O’Neill from his office as Prime Minister, is to install Koim’s pro-Somare benefactors in office, to protect him from prosecution for this crime?

Somare’s involvement in this scam, and the evidence required to conclusively prove it was provided to Sam Koim at the beginning of 2013, and Koim himself has publicly stated that he undertook some sort of official investigation . He declined to comment to the ABC reporter on whether or not Sir Michael had been interviewed by the Task Force.

The prosecution in Singapore was commenced in 2012, and Koim was provided with the evidence in 2013. Why has it taken so long for Koim to act in this matter? Has he even undertaken that basic, fundamental step of interviewing Somare in the investigation process?

The famous crying 'selfie' - are crocodile tears a fitting tribute
The famous crying ‘selfie’ – are crocodile tears a fitting tribute

According to Koim, he was unable to institute any prosecution in this matter because he was “defunded” by the O’Neill government. Again, given his pursuit of the current Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill through the courts of PNG since 2014, this is also hard to accept.

He seems to have garnered sufficient funds to maintain his home, his office and his own sustenance. He had sufficient funds available to illegally engage an expensive team of international and local lawyers, including Greg Egan, and Terry Lambert from Brisbane.

He had sufficient funds to orchestrate the unsuccessful prosecution of the Attorney General, a Supreme Court Judge, and several Police Commissioners, and anyone else who stood in the way of his contrived attack on the Prime Minister.

So Koim had no trouble financing these prosecutions, all of which failed. At best, they wasted precious resources (wherever they may have come from) which could have been more successfully spent prosecuting Somare.

Koim’s antics since 2013 have all been financed by persons unknown, bent on seeing O’Neill stood aside from the office of Prime Minister, at all costs, including the corruption of the prosecutorial and judicial systems.

Who would benefit from such a thing? Why, Somare and his political supporters would, of course.  It’s time Koim revealed who is paying him.

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Sir Michael Somare: The money trail

By PNG Echo.
Sir Michael Somare claims he has never received illegal payments. Oh, really?

The Community Colleges rort – and the proof of the pudding

On 16th August 2010, the then Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, received the sum of $US280,000 into his personal account (#0374026963) at the Scott’s Mall branch of the Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore, drawn on the account of M/S Questzone Offshore Limited (“Questzone”). See below.

Somare Cheque 2Then, on the 1st September 2010, Somare received a further $US 280,000 into the same personal account from the same drawer. See below.

Somare Cheque 3Finally, on the 12th November 2010, he also received a further sum of $US 224,000 from the same drawer into his personal account. See Below

Somare Cheque 1Each of these annexures have the full tracing details endorsed by the bank on the copies produced here, so there can be no denying the funds were received by him.

I am told Sir Michael spent some of the money paying the builder of his Wewak residence and the rest has been frozen in this account (I believe the residual is around $300,000)

The enormity of this crime cannot be underestimated. I am reliably informed that it is the most serious “white collar” crime on the statute books and carries a term of imprisonment of 25 years in prison.

Furthermore, under oath before a Leadership Tribunal in 2010, Somare was required to disclose all of his bank accounts and other assets. He failed to disclose his Singapore account, and consequently perjured himself.

This account was not disclosed in his Leadership returns for 2010 or any other year subsequently, which constitutes a serial breaching of the Leadership Code.

Somare also failed to disclose this income to the Internal Revenue Commission, which is a fraud.

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Hold on Papua New Guinea: Get the election you deserve.

by PNG Echo

Papua New Guinea’s political opposition has just two weeks to oust the Prime Minister if they want to get their hands on the government cheque book before the next election – and they do – desperately.

They’re pulling out all the stops.

As I write, there should be a decision being handed down by the Supreme Court as to the recalling of parliament to allow a motion of ‘No Confidence’ to go ahead. With the three judges sitting on the case being Mikail J, Salika DCJ and Injia CJ, I don’t like the chances of the government winning this.

The opposition are likely to get their chance at a Vote of No Confidence – whether they win it, is another matter entirely.

But they’re in there trying!

Bring out the big guns

Strange bedfellows
Strange bedfellows

They’ve got former Prime Ministers Sir Mekere Morauta and Sir Michael Somare joining forces in the attempt to depose the Prime Minister and asking other MPs to join them in a press statement that is the most hypocritical and self- serving document imaginable.

These men live in a very fragile metaphoric ‘glass houses’, yet they insist on throwing stones.

The two masters of the ironic (Morauta and Somare) are saying:

As former Prime Ministers we have made our choice, and we ask our fellow Papua New Guineans to join us in rescuing our country. We cannot, through inaction, see our democracy and the institutions that support democracy ruined. The nation’s future is at stake. Today we are declaring that the Prime Minister must stand down, for the good of all Papua New Guineans.”

For the good of all Papua New Guineans? When did these two have the good of Papua New Guinea foremost on their agenda?

Sir Michael was the architect and founding father of what Wikileaks called “a dysfunctional blob” and when Wikileaks made a comment on the possibility of Sir Michael coming back into power after the 2011 political coup, they referred to the Somare regime as

…a cesspit of corruption, incompetence and mediocrity.

Then again, Sir Mekere Morauta presided over what the Prime Minister has described as “the lost decade” with opportunities and good times squandered.

They are proposing a rescue plan that, on scrutiny, is actually a plan to make a plan. – they provide no solutions but plenty of criticism – all wreaking of gross hypocrisy.

They say:

The past five years of Mr O’Neill’s leadership have been characterized by mismanagement, waste and corruption on an unprecedented scale.

That’s not right.

If we’re talking mismanagement there are plenty of precedents in the Prime Ministership of both Somare and Morauta. In fact, let’s hear from Sir Mekere on what he thought about the management of PNGs finances during the Somare era,

As Minister, Arthur Somare regarded the SOEs [state–owned enterprises] as toys to be owned to glorify his image.

He said that the Somare family regarded these SOEs as their “honey pot”

It’s an interesting criticism when you consider the similar one the Prime Minister made of Sir Mekere when he recently said that that the

“…ongoing stream of hate and malice is all about the former Prime Minister trying to undermine the Government to keep control of the Sustainable Development Program (SDP) money…[Morauta] thinks that if there is a change of Government he might get to stay on and keep spending the money belonging to SDP [Sustained Development Program associated with compensation for the OkTedi mining environmental damage].”

The Founding father of the dysfunctional blob
The Founding father of the dysfunctional blob

As for corruption, well the ‘Father of the Nation’ is still allegedly at it (see here) and it would be more important to him than ever, now that he’s announced his retirement, that he install a government that would be sympathetic to his, and his family’s, ongoing needs.

No, neither of these two has earned the right to access the public coffers -especially not prior to an election that would recognise either of them as the mandated incumbent – and that’s unlikely to happen ever again making them no different to thieves, taking what doesn’t belong to them.

To election…

The question has to be asked why the opposition so desperately need access to the state’s coffers, doesn’t it?  What plans do they have for money belonging to the people?

These two weeks are so crucial to the Opposition because if they depose O’Neill after this small window of opportunity, then it will trigger an election – and they will have to go to that election without the benefit of the public purse.

Make no mistake, these next two weeks are nothing to do with the good of the nation and everything to do with the financial ambitions of the Opposition who’d like the trough for their snouts.

They’ll be quiet come the end of July – mark my words. The good of the nation will be forgotten.

Hold on PNG – get the election you deserve.

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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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Corruption: Somare’s blueprint – Koim’s selective myopia

By PNG Echo.

Sir Michael Somare the founf=ding father of corruption in PNG - still at it, after all this time.
Sir Michael Somare, the founding father of corruption in PNG – still at it, after all these years.

If you need schooling in corruption, you need look no further than the lessons the founding father of Papua New Guinea, Governor of East Sepik Province and former Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, can teach you.

Sir Michael is the chief architect in the shaping of a corrupt political culture that the international diplomatic community describes, in private, as a “dysfunctional blob.”  See article.

The jargon

The jargon of corruption like –  inflated contracts, bribery, kickbacks, travel junkets, unfulfilled contractual obligations, nepotism, lack of transparent accounting, circumvention of process, cronyism, disreputable companies, lying under oath, non-disclosure, payments in the proverbial “dribs and drabs”, conflicts of interest and high-ranking patronage are all here in the story I’m about to tell you.

It’s also a tale that acts as sad indictment of Task Force Sweep’s failure to act on evidence in their possession (and they have all I have and more, and have had it in their possession for three years). It serves to add weight to the accusation that their pursuit of the allegedly corrupt is excessively influenced by politics.

It’s all about a contract involving Papua New Guinea

This particular shady contract has drawn the keen interest of the inscrutable Singapore Public Prosecutor who has charged two of the main protagonists, Lim Ai Wah and her husband Thomas Doehrman, with engaging in a conspiracy to falsify a paper with intent to defraud.

The “paper” was an invoice from a company in the British Virgin Islands (Questzone) to ZTE Corporation (the main contractor in the PNG contract) that was purportedly for supply of goods and services but instead was to collect a commission payment of $US 3.6 million (kickback) for the awarding of said contract in Papua New Guinea (to build community colleges).

The allegedly false invoice was needed to justify highly irregular distribution of the said payment to persons with a clear conflict of interest (which will become apparent as we progress) – that included Doehrman and his wife, the then Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and his son Michael M Somare (also known as ‘Moox’)

But the Singaporeans have just scratched the surface – this is the stuff Commissions of Inquiry are made of – and God help us, we need another Inquiry (when will they invent an ironic font?)

The case in Singapore is ongoing.

Background to a rort

It was an accepted proposal that community colleges would be built across PNG to educate people who had ‘dropped out’ or had been otherwise unable to complete their education.

In 2010, PNG Department of National Planning kicked in K56 million, K90 million was provided by a loan from the Chinese Exim bank ($US36 million), a further amount of K10 million was drawn from RESI funds for which the payee, originally the East Sepik Provincial Treasury Office was later changed to the Merienburg Community College Trust Account.

That’s a grand total of K156 million

A trust was set up to administer the funds (LTE) ZTE Corporation was appointed the lead contractor.

Paid contracts, unfulfilled

There were 17 proposed colleges, two of which were to be privately funded, 15 to be funded by monies administered by the LTE trust.

According to a report by the Department of Education dated 19 June, 2013 the status is:

  • 2 – completed and operational
  • 3 – completed
  • 1 – ready for construction
  • 9 – not established due to land disputes

But others have informed me there is absolutely nothing to show.

Take the case of the college to be built in Wabag that had an establishment cost of K5.08 million for which K5.2 million was disbursed there. Reports state that it is one of the colleges that is caught up in land disputes and yet, it is also reported that all funds were fully exhausted or fully committed with no infrastructure or construction in evidence anywhere.  So what exhausted over K5 million – what was it spent on if not the college?

Worse, is the case of the Merienburg College where K17 million was deposited into their trust account, yet there is no college there: it falling under the ‘not established due to land disputes’ category. So how was that money spent?

This is blatant corruption: Task Force Sweep, has had this information since 2013 

The Somare connection

There is one person who is prominent in all the dealings, he’s the ‘friend’ in high places’, and let’s face it there’s none as high has the office of the Prime Minister and no Prime Minister more prominent in PNGs past nor present, as PNGs founding father, Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Michael’s fingerprints are all over this deal. It was Sir Michael Somare

  • …who was the Prime Minister at the time that the scheme was approved.
  • …that put his own cronies into the ITE trust (that distributes the monies) including his own son Michael Junior (Moox).
  • … who provided the only invitation for the appointment of Moox and Thomas Doehrman as trustees to ITE, circumventing protocol.
  • … that was one of the 4 recipients who shared a commission of $US3.6 million in a distribution decided by Moox, Thomas Doehrman and Stephen Li of ZTE Corporation.
  • … that having put his cronies in place in LTE they then enlisted ZTE corporation as the main contractor, paying them the money from the Chinese Exim loan ($US36 million – 90% of the contract price) from which the commission of 10% could be disguised as payment for services and goods and paid to the British Virgin Islands company set up for that purpose, Questzone.
  • … and his cronies in LTE that overlooked or approved and paid the inflated ZTE initial quote, that went from $US10 million to $US24 million and finally to over $US38 million.
  • … and 10 other people (said to include members of his family) who spent almost K15 million in travel expenses flying to China to sign contracts that could have been handled by one person in Port Moresby with the aid of the Chinese embassy.
  • … who failed to disclose all of the ‘advantages’ of which he’s been the recipient in this deal. He lied under oath.

What’s more:

  • It was under Sir Michael Somare’s watch that the Department of National Planning was complicit in paying monies into trust accounts in “dribs and drabs” to keep the accounts under the payment approvals threshold and thus to circumvent scrutiny
  • It was Sir Michael Somare’s cronies who, having bypassed all standard procedures, hired a company (ZTE) that had been suspected of corruption in relation to contracts in the Phillipines, Mongolia, Norway and Algeria.
  • It was Sir Michael Somare’s crony, Thomas Doehrman who received monies (K3 million) in a trust account he set up which had been earmarked by the NEC to be operated by the community college scheme’s architect, Dr Alphonse Xavier.

The Koim disconnect.

So what more do they want? The fish has literally jumped on the line for them.

Our brave corruption fighters who have no qualms in accosting and arresting female lawyers at airports and manhandling them roughly to the point of bruising –seem to be having a problem with this one. Why’s that?

All the evidence I have and the Singapore authorities have, Task Force Sweep and the Fraud Squad – Koim, Damaru and Gitua have also had for three years.

It seems, for them, it’s a legitimate use of their time to harass the current Prime Minister when he has already stated that he has received no benefits from the Paraka case and that if they can produce some evidence to the contrary he will give himself up (clearly they can’t produce any, because they haven’t) – yet they cannot act when there is a clear trail of evidence with recorded payments and a sworn statement taken by the Public Prosecutor in Singapore from Lim Ai Wah implicating all.

In fact Lim Ai Wah has been a wealth of information:

When asked if she knew that the money deposited in the Questzone account ($US3.6 million) was from the proceeds of crime, she responded:

I wish to say yes but I wish to say that if you don’t pay to the PM PNG you will not be able to get business from PNG.

She also went on to say:

I wish to state that the 3 payments labelled ‘Housing’…were made for the purpose of helping PM PNG to pay for his house and his son to pay for a separate house…Hence the US$280,000 and US$224.000…were meant for the PM PNG’s use of housing loans.

She goes on further:

Sometime in 2010, I received a call from the son of PM PNG asking me to send money to him. I told him the amount set aside for him was US$280,000 but since he did not have an account in Singapore, I wrote a cheque to PM PNGs bank account and told him to pass the money to his son…”

Let me reiterate: This is a sworn statement by one of the parties (married to Thomas Doehrman – a trustee of LTE) who has admitted this, under oath with evidentiary support (bank accounts etc).

Lim, her husband Thomas Doehrman, a trustee of LTE, Michael Somare Junior – Deputy Chairman of LTE and Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of PNG all benefited from the proceeds of crime to the tune of $US3.6 million.

The conflict of interests is clear.

Sir Michael Somare, at best, has failed to disclose these payments, even during a Leadership Tribunal (it could be why he’s so chary of fulfilling his statutory duties and filing his returns) and at worst…?

All hail the Chief!

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Moti: A victim of murky politics

By PNG Echo

There is no doubt that Moti has been the victim of a shameful political power struggle – the High Court of Australia recognized that when they ruled in his favour.

And it didn’t begin and end in Australia – this was a political power struggle in which, Sir Michael Somare, then the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, chose to aid the Australian authorities to break Papua New Guinean laws to achieve their ends in spite of the breach of Papua New Guinean sovereignty.

It is mooted (in two commissions of Inquiry) that Sir Michael then broke more laws to get rid of Moti before the Papua New Guinea courts had the opportunity to scrutinize his illegal co-operation with the Australians in what has become to be known as ‘The Moti Saga’.

The human consequences

By now, he should be a Judge, an International Jurist or even the Secretary-General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Moti: The victim not the protagonist
Moti: The victim not the protagonist

These would have been the reasonable aspirations of Julian Moti (QC), the former Attorney-General of the Solomon Islands; after all, he was always a strong advocate of the sovereign rights of Melanesian Nations.

It was a passion for which he paid dearly.

Because, instead of this stellar career trajectory, Moti is living hand to mouth, in his native Fiji, trying to patch up a career that will never recover from the stigma of the charges dredged up by Australia (under a different statute) that the Vanuatu courts had dealt with and dismissed a decade previously.

The Genesis

It was abuse of power by the Australian authorities in their bid to dominate the politics of the Pacific that halted the career and fortunes of Julian Moti  It was ‘abuse of process’ that the High Court of Australia found when it granted a permanent stay of prosecution to Moti at the end of 2011 on the regurgitated Australian charges of sex with a minor that the Vanuatu courts had thrown out over a decade previously.

You don’t bounce back easily from charges of this nature. Just the accusation is enough to unfairly stain your character irrevocably.

said Moti.

For the Australian authorities, the nature of the charges was fortunate – it was an effective smokescreen for the political motivations that drove this prosecution

Manasseh Sogavare was Prime Minister then as now
Manasseh Sogavare was Prime Minister then as now

In 2006, Moti was Attorney-General of the Solomon Islands; the current Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare was Prime Minister then too. Both nationalistic in their politics and vehemently opposed to the Regional Assistance to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) – they wanted them out.  Moti is recorded to have said,

RAMSI came to do good, but stayed to do well.

On 29 September 2006, Moti was at Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby in transit to Honiara (from India via Singapore) where Sogavare was facing a vote of no confidence for which he needed his Attorney-General’s advice.

It was a motion that the Australians were hoping would be successful – having an antagonistic Prime Minister in the Solomon Islands did not suit their purposes. Under the circumstances, the last thing they wanted was Moti’s considerable influence and political expertise to come into play. So they made sure it wasn’t and didn’t – with the aid of Papua New Guinea.

Moti in Papua New Guinea.

The belief in the sovereign rights of Melanesian countries is what Moti says disappoints him so profoundly about what happened in PNG. Moti explained:

I know in what great esteem the people of Papua New Guinea hold the Mama Lo – and yet here were the PNG authorities arresting someone without a warrant, taking them into the country, against their will and without the necessary documentation [such as visas] on the request of a foreign authority pursuant to an out-dated Extradition Act [and therefore illegally], while charging him with a crime over which they held no jurisdiction.

What am I doing here?

was the question Moti asked repeatedly of the PNG authorities.

Polye was acting Prime Minister when Moti was taken into PNG against his will and without the relevant visas.

Moti was in PNG unwillingly and illegally by the express authority of Don Polye (Deputy Prime Minister) acting for Sir Michael Somare (Prime Minister) and most likely in consultation. (Sir Michael was away in the Provinces at the beginning.)

I was completely shocked that the founding father of Papua New Guinea was prepared to compromise the country’s sovereignty in this manner and I’ve often wondered to what end,

Moti said.

In the final salvo, Moti was an unwilling participant in the clandestine PNG Defence Force flight (under the radar) that delivered him to Munda in the Western Provinces of the Solomon Islands on the eve of when he was expecting a court decision on his bail – which Moti was confident would be granted. Moti is a firm believer in the rule of law.

The court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the charges – Papua New Guinea cannot prosecute a case originating in Vanuatu – even if they could, there would be the problem of double jeopardy,

he explained. Nevertheless…

Just before dawn on October 10 2006, Moti found himself landed on the tarmac at Munda airport in the West of the Solomon Islands.

He had been dumped in the middle of Papua New Guinea police armed with machine guns who were confronted by a RAMSI Land cruiser obstructing the runway. The Australians were waving revolvers and shouting threats.

It was a terrifying event to witness,” wrote Moti. “I was afraid I’d be shot in the crossfire.

That previous evening, the now late Joseph Assaigo, Intelligence Branch Chief at the Office of the Prime Minister, had called to the Solomon Islands Chancellery (where Moti had sought diplomatic asylum) to tell Moti that the government could no longer guarantee his safety. A secret operation had been planned and Moti should be ready. The terms were not negotiable.

In spite of being implicated by two inquiries, Sir Michael Somare has never answered
Implicated in two inquiries – yet not called to account

Sir Michael has never explained nor answered for his role in the Moti Affair, in spite of two inquiries implicating him.

Was the illegal, clandestine flight an attempt to deny the PNG courts the opportunity to scrutinize the executive decisions of the Somare government is a question that Moti has often asked and contemplated with this writer.

Making it right

Many PNG laws were flouted to placate Australian political ambitions in the Pacific (as the Ombudsman’s Commission Report attests and admits) – and Moti believes he is owed an explanation as well as compensation.

Sir Michael was compensated for being ousted from his position as Prime Minister to the tune of K5 million

said Moti,

I am left wondering why I am the only one to have suffered the consequences of this blight on Pacific politics – while others, who have been far more culpable, have escaped scott free?

In other jurisdictions: Moti’s Australian claim was referred to mediation under the terms of a confidential agreement with the Commonwealth Government while the former Gordon Darcy-led Solomon Islands Government publicly admitted its liability (in Parliament) to pay compensation and outstanding remuneration but Moti is still awaiting payment.

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SDP is not Mekere Morauta’s retirement fund, nor the SOEs the Somare’s honey pot

By PNG Echo.

The Prime Minister hits back at his critics
The Prime Minister hits back at his critics

Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill has hit back at the continued and sustained attack on the government by former Prime Minister Mekere Morauta, saying his…

…ongoing stream of hate and malice  is all about the former Prime Minister trying to undermine the Government to keep control of the Sustainable Development Program (SDP) money…

He went on to say:

[Morauta] thinks that if there is a change of Government he might get to stay on and keep spending the money belonging to SDP [Sustained Development Program associated with compensation for the OkTedi mining environmental damage].

The Prime Minister, admonished the former Prime Minister, now retired politician, for playing politics from outside the parliament  He said Sir Mekere was

… a failed Prime Minister who initiated Papua New Guinea’s lost decade

(Sir Mekere’s Prime Ministership from 1999 – 2002 was followed by that of Sir Michael Somare lasting until the political coup of 2011 and is no doubt the “lost decade” of which O’Neill is referring.)

An unholy alliance

04PNG
Is this alliance forged under the premise that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend?

In spite of the recent alliance between Morauta and Somare, where they teamed up to criticize the government’s UBS deal, the fact is, Sir Mekere Morauta, has never been an admirer of the politics of Sir Michael and stood in opposition to him for most of that decade.

More recently (2011) he made a scathing attack on Sir Michael’s government and especially the performance of Sir Michael’s son, Arthur Somare on inheriting the IPBC from him. He said:

As Minister, Arthur Somare regarded the SOEs [state–owned enterprises] as toys to be owned to glorify his image,… It seems that the IPBC and its SOEs were seen as the Somare family “honey pot”

Morauta was scathing about the abortive deal done by Arthur Somare that, arguably, was the precedent that made the UBS deal necessary and he questioned “the motives of the borrowers.”

It is therefore a considerable irony that these two have become allies against the government – with the Grand Chief even willing to play second fiddle to Don Polye (the Leader of the Opposition ) – a man he never trusted to deputize for him while he was Prime Minister.

Leader of the Opposition, Don Polye
Leader of the Opposition, Don Polye

Given that Polye has had an alleged hand in so many corrupt deals, that these two strange bedfellows (Somare and Morauta)  would happily fall in behind him while claiming to still have altruism as their only motivation, would need a complete suspension of all disbelief.

It all smacks of self preservation and the protection of vested interests.

These government’s accusers do not have clean hands and neither do they have a right to lifetime stewardship and control of governmental assets (however controversial or fiercely fought for) and/or the right to expect that the Prime Minister position should be a sinecure or something that can be gifted to their children.

All of this belongs to the people of Papua New Guinea.

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People in glass houses…: A timely reminder by Hon Mao Zeming

By PNG Echo.

Hon Mao Zeming deputy leader of PNC
Hon Mao Zeming deputy leader of PNC

The Hon. Mao Zeming, MP, the Deputy Leader of the People’s National Congress Party (PNC) and Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, has questioned the motives of one of the Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare’s, children – the former MP for Angoram and Minister for State Owned Enterprises under his father’s government, Arthur Somare.

 

While the cameras roll,

said the Hon Zeming, commenting on Somare Junior’s reported intention to stand outside ASC in Australia,

I wonder how eager he will be to discuss his own ministerial record and the charges that were leveled against him in his own political career.

The sins of the son

All 105 of them apparently.

Father and son - the PMs role not a birthright says Zeming
Father and son – the PMs role not a birthright says Zeming

They are charges that were lodged by the Public Prosecutor with the Leadership Tribunal for misconduct in office against Somare Junior in 2011.

However, in a stroke of good luck for him (although not for the unfortunate member of the three-man bench) Somare came out of it unscathed when the Leadership Tribunal was adjourned indefinitely following the passing of a member presiding over the hearing.  And with the loss of his seat in 2012 election, it was thought he’d largely disappeared into oblivion.

But lately, Arthur Somare has risen to prominence as the negotiator for the landowners in the LNG deal and has been eager to defend himself against the charge Prime Minister O’Neill leveled when he said that the UBS loan was necessary to sort out the mess that was left by the previous Continue reading People in glass houses…: A timely reminder by Hon Mao Zeming

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