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A review of 20 unresolved national issues

Report Title: Lest We Forget A review of 20 unresolved issues of national concern 2007 – 2017

This report is a systemic review of 20 selected corruption and poor governance cases in Papua New Guinea over a 10-year period (2007-2017). It is mainly based on publicly-available information including newspaper articles, online reports, and telephone interviews and email correspondence with individuals familiar with the issues.

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Chairman of Transparency International visits Papua New Guinea

Chairman of Transparency International, Mr José Ugaz is visiting Papua New Guinea for the first time. Mr Jose Ugaz will be in Port Moresby on Monday (7/8/17) as part of his chapter visits.

José was elected Chairman to the Transparency International Board in 2014. José Ugaz is a lawyer who was special state attorney in one of Latin American’s biggest corruption cases in history.

Ugaz was an ad-hoc state attorney of Peru for several corruption cases against the criminal network of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori fled the country in 2000 after allegations of systematic and widespread abuse of power. From 2000-2002, Ugaz’s office opened more than 200 cases against 1500 government officials and other associates of Fujimori. Under his mandate, US$205 million in assets were frozen abroad and US$75 million were recovered.

Ugaz was a member of the UN Peace Keeping Mission and the UN Election Observers Mission for El Salvador, and from 2004-2006 served at the World Bank’s anti-corruption unit. He has been teaching criminal law at the Universidad Católica del Perú since 1986.

While in country, José will be speaking to civil society organizations on citizen’s role in preventing impunity. A special business breakfast will be held for him to have an audience with the business community in Port Moresby. Ugaz will also be sharing his experiences with the students of the University and institutions.

Transparency International PNG is honored to host its global chairman and hopes that the dialogue Ugaz has with the various sectors will inspire them to continue to empower people and fight the good fight.

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Appointment of Duma is a Mockery of Justice

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG)is calling on the Prime Minster to keep his promise to the people of Papua New Guinea and revoke the appointment of Hagen Open MP, William Duma, as Minister for Public Enterprise and State Investment. Mr. Duma was one of the two ministers, along with several departmental heads, who were sidelined in March for acontroversial land deal, worth K46 million, to transfer a PNGDF base to Manumanu, just outside of Port Moresby.

TIPNG sees the appointment of William Duma MP to multiple portfolios in the caretaker government as being unjust to the citizens of Papua New Guinea who are expecting accountability and integrity from the Prime Minister and his new cabinet.

Prime Minister O’Neill, is on the public record as making a clear commitment to Papua New Guineans that the estimated K2 million Administrative Inquiry, called for by the National Executive Council (NEC), would examine the details of the Manumanu Land Deal as the matter was in the “public interest” and thus should be “treated in [a] fair and transparent manner.” Thus far, he has fallen short of his own standards with no publication of the findings of the inquiry, and now the reappointment of the Mr. Duma with no consideration of his promise to those to whom he is accountable – his fellow citizens.

“We as Papua New Guineans expect our leaders, and more so our State Ministers, to be cleared of all alleged serious wrong-doings before they are entrusted to make decisions which will affect us all”, said Chairman of TIPNG, Lawrence Stephens. “The Prime Minster must respect the process which he himself started earlier this year. He should revoke Mr. Duma’s appointment until the findings of the Administrative Inquiry are released and justice has run its course”, Mr. Stephens further stated, “For instance, Prime Minister O’Neill promised that the K46million funds, in the public’s interest would be traced to the various bank accounts– why has he chosen to ignore his own promises so readily now?”

Mr. Duma, whose declaration as Member-elect in Hagen, under concerning circumstances, allegedly caused days of violence and strife in Western Highlands Province was recently announced as Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Housing and Urbanisation, Public Enterprise and State Investments, Transport, Agriculture and Livestock in Prime Minister O’Neill’s seven-men caretaker cabinet.

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2017 National Election displayed lack of transparency and adherence to proper process

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) strongly condemns the lack of transparency and adherence to proper process in the 2017 National Election. There is a strong public perception that our democracy is being challenged by vested interests, acting with apparent impunity, and this appears to have heightened during the process of election.

This election Papua New Guinea witnessed double declarations plus questionable declarations in a number of seats indicating a level of undue influence on Returning Officers. This is disheartening and completely unacceptable to the vast majority of our people who believe in good and fair actions, transparency and democratic processes.

There have been many reports of election related violence and TIPNG is particularly concerned about the four deaths in Wabag including two policemen, reported deaths in Kundiawa and the shutdown of Kagamuga Airport and closure of business in Mt Hagen. Winning and losing fairly is a basic principle of democracy, but clearly many people cannot
countenance the perception that election processes have been manipulated.

TIPNG recognises that the avenue to seek redress is through the Court of Disputed Returns and appeals to authorities including the Electoral Commission to make sure that records and relevant reports including ballot papers are preserved to ensure that the court process is expedited fairly . Media reports that members-elect declared under questionable
circumstances have proceeded to join the various political party groupings to participate in the process of Government forming.

Forty-years post Independence, PNG deserves a high adherence and respect to the rule of law and compliance to the principles enshrined in our Constitution. It is welcoming to see the Ombudsman Commission, the Constitutional Reform Commission and the Registrar of Political Parties providing the much needed guidance around the constitutional process and requirements, to assist the Electoral Commission to execute and deliver the 2017 National Election in recent days.

TIPNG joins the call and appeals to the elected leaders to act wisely for the collective good for PNG.

We appeal to the elected Government to pay great attention to upholding our democracy underpinned by the separation of Parliament, the Executive, Judiciary and the all relevant Constitution Offices, and preparing for the next election in a better manner.

We remind Members of Parliament that they have a duty to act in the interest of PNG and protect the Constitution.

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The resignation of the Electoral Advisory Committee

The resignation of the Electoral Advisory Committee is another indication of the state of the nation.

This committee was created by law to provide advice to the Electoral Commissioner. It is a very sensible way to involve level headed individuals in giving advice to a constitutional office.

Constitutional office holders occupy essential, independent but often very lonely chairs. There is value in them being conscious of the need to consult widely without limit to their independence. We
saw the inclusion of the committee in the law as being an affirmation of the value we all see of seeking advice.

When Transparency International PNG was invited to nominate a person for appointment to the committee we did so eagerly. Contrary to some misconceptions of our role we embrace opportunities to work with government to help bring about improvement in the way we are governed. Involvement of our nominees in committees and boards offering advice is one way assisting.

Unfortunately the EAC was not activated before the 2007 or 2012 elections. It could have played a useful role in the years between elections. So much needed to be achieved and in our view more could have been achieved if the EAC was involved.

With the 2017 elections looming only 5 years away our nominee continued to encourage the activation of the committee so that the Commissioner could be strengthened by regular meetings.

When we were finally recently asked to reaffirm our support we did so, looking forward to the Commissioner taking advantage of its role. We also stressed the importance of advice being given on the basis of facts being presented with details of options considered. This would assist ensure that it was indeed providing advice and not simply being told of some of the decisions were being made.

The EAC is an important part of the role of the community in advising the Commissioner. In fact the advice provided to the Commissioner needs to be much broader than this source. Elected MPs should also be seriously consulted as should candidates not elected, members of the public service and the wider community.

The burden of consulting widely is a challenge, given the massive administrative challenges faced by any constitutional office holder but it is part of the job.
We are disappointed to the learn that members of the Committee have found it necessary to resign but respect their duty to do so if they are not receiving the information necessary for them to give fully informed advice.
This is not the first time our nominees to important roles have felt compelled to resign rather than be compromised by failures of the institutions to follow due process.

We see it as yet another reminder that the institutions of government need to be encouraged to see that they can perform better and should not expect to be unchallenged.

TI PNG is involved and will continue to be involved with government institutions committed to improvement.

We encourage the Electoral Commission to embrace the decision of the members of the EAC as a step in continuing to strengthen its role as an essential, proudly independent, corruption free and effective constitutional office.

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TIPNG condemns deportation of Lay Missionary tennent

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) condemns the PNG Government’s blatant contempt for legal process in deporting lay missionary, Douglas Tennent. When a court at law rules that a deportation may not proceed and government simply ignores the ruling we are being betrayed.

The Government and its agents have ignored court issued deportation stay order, in the case of Douglas Tennent, and it is a clear act of insolent disregard for the rule of law.

“It is disappointing in the extreme to see that public officials saw fit to target a church worker that was serving the people of this nation. It is even more disappointing that his deportation seems to be serving the interests of a minority and not in the best interests of the people that the missionary is working with”, said chairman of TIPNG, Mr Lawrence Stephens.

Mr Stephens said, “There is something sinister in this. When it is common knowledge that they are unable to find large numbers of unqualified workers robbing PNG workers of jobs why the sudden attention to the efforts of a church worker to follow the instructions of his superiors in the Archdiocese of Rabaul. There is something also cowardly about the manner in which the officials went about this. Arriving with a deportation order in the afternoon of the last day of work before the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend. It appears to have been a deliberate effort to deny the Douglas Tennent and the Archdiocese of Rabaul opportunity to exercise their legal rights. And even when a court order was presented to the officials it was ignored and Mr Tennent deported.”

The Government of PNG has failed to deliver on its promises to protect people being robbed as a result of the scandalous behaviour of officials and foreign timber interests yet its officials move with swiftly and once again illegally to undermine the efforts of the Catholic Church in East New Britain to mediate in seeking justice for the people of the province.

“We are frankly disgusted by this action. It is contemptuous of the people, their rights and their laws. We would expect the Minister to acknowledge a serious mistake in this process and to make sure that the government arranges to return Mr Tennent to his home in Vunapope immediately.” said Mr Stephens.

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Roger Hau’ofa contributed to the anti-corruption efforts in PNG

Radio broadcaster and widely loved media personality, Roger Hau’ofa, has been an important part of the anti-corruption movement in PNG over many years. It is with sadness and gratitude that the Transparency International PNG chapter has learnt of his passing, after a long illness.

His talents and skills are admired by many in the media industry and others throughout PNG and abroad. His voice has been a part of the lives of three generations of Papua New Guineans and his kind personality reached out to millions of people.

Roger Hau’ofa will live on in the hearts and minds of many who have benefited from his efforts to provide wide audiences to people working to reduce corruption in PNG.

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Action must be taken on Manumanu COI

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) calls on the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, to honour his promise to carry out the Commission of Inquiry (COI)into the Manumanu land sale.

Numerous COIs still need to be acted on.

Chairman of TIPNG, Mr Lawrence Stephens, said TIPNG welcomes efforts to uncover facts and investigate alleged wrong doing. It is in the interest of the people of Papua New Guinea and particularly the people of Manumanu that the investigations be carried out immediately and those that are found to have acted fraudulent to be charged and face the courts.

TIPNG, however, remains appalled by the long list of multiple COI’s that have not yet been acted on and individuals named continue to enjoy impunity. TIPNG insists our political leaders to urgently act on the recommendations of these numerous COIs. To date, the outstanding number of CoI findings and the lack of actual enforcement of those findings and recommendations, has impacted negatively on the public confidence in the COI process. Action taken will assist to restore the public confidence in the systems of Government. And where recommended the Police and Public Prosecutor’s Office must fulfil their duty and begin proceedings for offences committed.

“Over the years, the Government has assured the people of PNG of immediate actions but have failed to deliver on its promises. And the Manumanu land sale appears to be another questionable deal that has been concocted to enrich certain individuals with public funds” said TIPNG Chairman, Mr Stephens.

TIPNG hopes to see that the blatant injustice in the Manumanu land deal are thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken against the perpetrators. TIPNG joins the wider community in calling on the PM to honour his word and ensure the people of Manumanu’ s rights are respected.

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Children Have Best Future

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LEST WE FORGET: List of failed projects by the PNG Government

Here is a list of failed projects by the PNG Government where billions of kina have been squandered, diverted and unaccounted for:

  • National Identity Project
  • Central City
  • Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL)
  • Rehabilitation of Education Sector Infrastructure (RESI)
  • Madang Marine Industrial Park
  • Border Development Authority
  • Solomon Islands High Commission Building
  • Konedobu Petroleum Park
  • Public Service Housing Scheme
  • Okuk Highway
  • Sovereign Wealth Fund
  • Community ICT Project
  • National Provident Fund Saga
  • Mineral Resources Stabilisation Funds
  • Task Force Sweep
  • Paul Paraka Lawyers Saga
  • Sir Hubert Murray Stadium
  • Sir John Guise Stadium
  • NCD Kumul Flyover
  • 9 mile to Laloki Bridge Road Rehabilitation Project 2013
  • K900million Sepik and Highlands via Wabag Highway
  • K10 million Angoram hospital
  • Proposed gun law
  • DSIP and PSIP
  • Aitape Wharf Rehabilitation 2010
  • 7 Star Casino at 5 Mile, Port Moresby
  • Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill (ICAC)
  • Various outstanding Commissions of Inquiry
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