The PNG Power saga (Part 1)

By PNG Echo

It has been difficult to unravel the many and varied thrusts and counter thrusts of the cases of John Mangos and John Tangit when they were both working at PNG Power Ltd (PPL). So, perhaps it’s best to start with the current state of play and work backwards.

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John Mangos

John Mangos was charged twice with various offences, firstly relating to his employment contract with PPL and secondly with the allegedly illegal payment to a third party amounting to K62,000. Neither raft of charges got past a committal hearing where the both were found to be lacking in evidence. They were thrown out. Mangos is no longer with PPL.

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John Tangit

John Tangit, having been stood down then reinstated, only to be terminated and who is implicated in corruption amounting to millions of dollars (by an independent investigation commissioned by Kumul Holdings and undertaken by a reputable Australian firm of investigators) is now back as at PPL (unconfirmed) having faced no criminal charges whatsoever – scot free – for now.  How can this be?

From this information alone, it is reasonable to assume that the charges against Mangos were specious – and that’s certainly what the courts found when they threw them out.

Matthew Damaru
Matthew Damaru

It was Tangit that was the informant who commenced the second raft of charges against Mangos in a letter at the beginning of March this year, that he copied to various people, including the then appropriate Minister Hon William Duma, Paul Nerau, Chairman Kumul Holdings and Fraud Squad officer, Matthew Damaru – that stalwart supporter and enforcer to Sam Koim and the Task Force Sweep team.

So what would have precipitated this malicious and abortive prosecution?

Why would these Fraud Squad officers, who are lauded as exemplary and expert investigators by many, instigate proceedings against someone with so little and such flimsy evidence?

Sam Koim
Sam Koim

It just could be because the perception of integrity and competency is, in reality…well…just perception. The competency and the motivations of these officers has been seriously impugned by the fact that they, along with Sam Koim’s Task Force Sweep, have lost up to 50% of their cases at committal.  Is this incompetence or something far more sinister – because it is either one or the other, there is no third way.

It seems the malicious litigation against Mangos was all to do with the findings of the abovementioned commissioned investigation that Mangos, as Director of PPL, was about to act on.

You see, the Mangos’ arrest and charges strikes a familiar chord – there is a precedent . It has all the hallmarks of a pre-emptive strike to suppress information becoming public – as surely as the ‘arrest’ of Tiffany Twivey was.

NEXT PART: What Tangit did and how did he get away with it?  The case against John Tangit

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Debunking the romanticism of investigative journalism

By PNG Echo.

The Watergate Affair, uncovered by investigative journalists
The Watergate Affair, uncovered by investigative journalists

Investigative journalism is often romantically portrayed as journalism in its most altruistic form: media fulfilling its ‘fourth estate’ function of public ‘watchdog.’

It does this by drawing attention to failures within society’s system of regulation and to the ways in which those systems can be circumvented by the rich, the powerful and the corrupt. (2008, de Burgh P.3)

Beattie and Beal talk of the ‘fourth estate’ as the public interest guardians of truth. (2007, Beattie and Beal p.37) and in investigative mode the media has had a number of notable successes in forcing recognition of wrongs and providing the motivation to right the wrongs. Some examples:

  • In the USA in 1972, the story that exposed corruption in the US presidency and caused the impeachment of President Richard Nixon (Watergate).
  • In Britain the exposé of Thalidomide scandal – a pre-natal anti-nausea drug that was the cause of severe birth deformities. (2008, Economou & Tanner pp.15-16)
  • In Australia, the Chris Masters’ documentary for Four Corners ‘The Moonlight State’ (ABC television 11 May, 1987) revealed high levels of corruption in the Queensland police services – the subsequent inquiry brought down the Queensland government.
  • In Sydney Morning Herald, (October 10, 2008), Richard Ackland wrote in praise of Western Australian journalist Colleen Egan who crusaded to have the case of a convicted murderer reheard. A wrongly convicted man is today free by virtue of the tireless investigative work done by Egan. He called the piece: “When the law provides no justice, call a reporter.

Continue reading Debunking the romanticism of investigative journalism

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