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Belden Norman Namah & his fight against corruption


Belden Namah meets the peoplePAPUA NEW GUINEA OPPOSITION LEADER, Hon Belden Namah, recently said: “For the love for my people and motherland I will not be intimidated, harassed and suppressed by a desperate, despotic dictator. I will stand to fight against corruption and corrupt people without fear”.

Like the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Belden Namah carries the hopes and dreams of many ordinary people who want to crack down on corruption especially among those upper class Papua New Guineans who dominate and control the economy and political landscape.

PNG is no different to other democracies in Africa. her social, health and economic development indexes show she has not distanced herself from that category since Independence from Australia. PNG is a country with vast untapped natural resource which locals are proud to call an 'island floating on a sea of oil and sitting on mountains of gold.

What makes Namah unique in this context is that he speaks people’s language in the fight against systemic corruption. He proved it as a Captain in the PNG Defence Force during the Sandline Crisis, when he and other military personnel carried out Operation Rausim Kwik (‘Remove Quickly’) to expel foreign mercenaries invited by the Chan government to fight against Bougainvilleans in efforts to put an end to the South Pacific’s longest civil war.

He was subsequently imprisoned for sedition in 2000 and released on parole in 2003. In 2007, Namah entered the PNG parliament as the member for Vanimo-Green and, during his first term, served as Senior Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition. Now into his second term, he is again Opposition Leader.

In recent developments, the Opposition has been reduced dramatically to only five members. However this does not detract from the power of the Opposition Leader to expose corruption. “Even if I am one man left I will keep fighting against corrupted people and corruption,” he has vowed.

The current regime of Peter O’Neill has withheld from members of Opposition development grants under the District Service Improvement Program. This has pushed the majority of Opposition members to join the ruling regime.

This issue is now in court after Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil filed a case against Finance Minister James Marape. There is also concern that the office of the Opposition has been deprived of funding.

In an undemocratic manner against the spirit of good governance, the O'Neill regime has hand-picked and appointed political affiliates, with the majority of development contracts awarded to politically affiliated companies. There has also been political interference in the appointment of personnel into the Police and Military.

PNG prime minister Peter O'Neill was faced with allegations of signing a letter directing payments to a local law firm, allegations he totally denies, saying his signature was forged. The so-called Task Force Sweep has cleared him of wrong-doing but the principal of the law firm and others were arrested.

Who would expect things to get more complicated and troubling when Mr O’Neill continues to hold on to the Ministry of Police.

In a turn of events early last week, PNG Police Commissioner Toami Kulunga threatened to arrest the Opposition Leader after Mr Namah raised concerns over the Police Commissioners failure to allow police officers to investigate and carry out their constitutional duties in a case involving the Prime Minister and two cabinet ministers, Don Polye and James Marape.

Prior to this, the Police Commissioner also reportedly directed CID Inspector Malpe Mazuc and Senior Constable Vincent Raymond to obtain a search warrant (which turned out to be faulty) to get personal mobile data belonging to Mr Namah from the State-owned mobile operator Bemobile.

The extent of public disquiet became clear last Sunday when a reported 1,000 people turned up at short notice at the Opposition Leader’s residence in Port Moresby to support his fight against corruption. A call for support had been made on social media by anti-corruption activist Noel Anjo Koloa who volunteered to be arrested with the Opposition Leader.

Mobile squad units flown down from the Highlands who arrived to arrest the Mr Namah were reportedly chased away by the large crowd. The situation became dangerous as people refused to allow the Opposition Leader to be arrested and the number of people turning up after church kept swelling. The Opposition Leader’s lawyers sought and ontained an urgent restraining order, granted on Sunday afternoon, against the Police Commissioner.

It seems that the ruling political regime and their foreign advisors and political sponsors will do anything to stop a true Melanesian political leader and Papua New Guinean legislator from crushing corruption among the upper class and foreigners who dominate the political and economic base of this country of over seven million people.

Papua New Guinea has woken to realise it has hope remaining because of 1,000 people from all sectors of society fronting up to support Belden Namah.

The entire population of this great nation should realise what type of battles we have to fight to win the war against corruption.

It’s not a fight against our own people but against systems dominated and controlled by political dynasties and tribal mafia. Our future starts now; let’s put an end to this madness.


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Harry Topham

As an accountant friend of mine, who spent most of his working life tracking white collar criminals, once commented: 'There is a fine line between astute business practices and criminality. Those who tread this fine line are often referred to as Smart Businessmen'.

In this case it would seem that the gentleman concerned could quite easily discount the allegations of corruption against him by outlining details of how he as a politician on a modest wage managed to accumulate so much wealth in such a short period of time.

Whilst such rebuttals remain unanswered there will always remain an element of doubt as to his creditability as a soldier of honesty fighting battles against corruption.

Whilst such an unpleasant aroma remains the gentleman’s motivations of honesty will be seen by many as being no more than payback rather that altruism

The man doth protest too much, methinks.

Mrs Barbara Short

Brian Lightowler, in his book “Corruption:Who Cares?” compares today’s struggle against the power and influence of corruption with the titanic fight to abolish the slave trade and slavery itself in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Bristish MP William Wilberforce, who struggled for 22 years before finally achieving the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire, found inspiration in the last letter ever written by John Wesley. “Unless the Divine Power has raised you up,” Wesley wrote to Wilberforce, “I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils; but if God be for you, who can be against you? Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, till even American slavery, the vilest that ever saw the sun, shall vanish away before it.”

Corruption and bribery is not new – see Isaiah 33:15 – “He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, …..shall dwell on high.”

At the moment Sam Koim and Task Force Sweep are doing their best, and an ICAC should be able to expose corruption more easily. But the whole population of PNG must address the scourge of corruption on the level of personal human motivation and behaviour, where people freely choose integrity.

In reply to David Ephraim’s article, I would like to remind him in his battle against corruption in PNG, he needs to look for people with integrity, people who know right from wrong at all times. It appears that in this regard Belden Namah has let us down.

I think there are people in PNG who have integrity and if they are given leadership roles and their voice is heard by the public then PNG will have a chance to break out of the hold that corruption seems to have on the country at the present moment.

I think I would join organisations like Transparency International and attend their meetings and hopefully you will hear a man or woman of integrity, someone the Divine Power has raised up to fight corruption in PNG.

Joeson Wasia Lanao

Peter-without even reading that link we know what the blog is all about. Nothing but defamatory posts and comments on PNG leaders.

Peter Kranz

People have short memories.

How about the Sydney Casino incident where the "corruption fighter" allegedly boasted he had $300,000 to gamble so he should be allowed to continue even though drunk and disorderly, than allegedly sexually harassed an attendant.

And what happened to the CCTV tapes?

And read this -

Joeson Wasia Lanao

I wonder if the Investigative Task Force Sweep plays a neutral role in this Parakagate saga;

1) PM Peter O'Neill was set free at the preliminary stage saying that they did have enough evidences on the alleged letter, however, it should be the courts to decide on the letter.

2) Forensic tests on the alleged signature was never done.

3) Tapping his mobile phone was never done etc.

Any of these would provide enough evidence to convict him if all of them were properly done.

Task Force Sweep failed when it dismissed the allegations against the PM with the enquiry still at the preliminary stage. It has no power to convict or exonerate. His case didn't go through any court process.

Mrs Barbara Short

Michael, you had better ask Corney. I'll start looking.

I guess the answer lies in you all praying for a strong leader to be raised up who is able to withstand the temptations that go with the job!

Oh, for an honest man (or women!).

Michael Dom

Keith, I thought I would read something different but this is regurgitated propaganda.

Barbara, what does the Bible say about choosing one corrupt leader over another?

Mrs Barbara Short

Thank you David for this information about Belden Namah. I can see that he is one of the few people who have been willing to stand up to the Prime Minister and his party and the accusations of corruption.

But I agree with Tim that Belden is not transparent. I have heard that the timber exploitation in the West Sepik has destroyed the environment and caused great hardship for many village people.

I think it is obvious that there is a lot of bribery going on in PNG of public servants and members of parliament, especially the ruling party of the Prime Minister.
This is being done especially by companies involved in developing PNG e.g. SABLs and mining companies who have no respect for the local villagers and the natural environment, and a pharmaceutical company that is just out to make a huge profit and has no ethics when it comes to saving human lives.

A friend told me that there was a passage in the Bible that warns against coming between an evil man and his desires.

I fear this is what PNG has done.

They should read Psalm 141 ....Keep me from the snares that they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety."

Tim Ashton

There is a saying in law, "He who comes to equity must come with clean hands".

As much as I admire Belden Namah for his actions, along with Jerry Singarok, and much as I would like to see a move into power and crush the corruption that blights PNG, there will always be a question mark over him until the source of his massive (is there another word?) wealth is disclosed.

Albert Schram

Let's not forget political interference in university and press organisations, further embellished by baseless prosecution and or unlawful deportations of expat academics and journalists.

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