| Source: PNG Bulletin Online
PORT MORESBY - The New Ireland governor and former Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Julius Chan has been referred to the Ombudsman Commission, Police Fraud Squad and other official bodies for alleged official corruption.
In a joint media release, the members of parliament for Namatanai, Walter Schnaubelt, and Kavieng, Ian Ling-Stuckey, who is also PNG finance minister, said Chan, 82, had been referred by the presidents of five local level governments in the Namatanai electorate.
Joshua Soi (Namatanai Rural), Isaac Tosel (Konoagil), Augustine Topi (Matalai), Stanley Tunut (Nimamar), Ben Sakbua (Sentral Niu Ailan) and 65 ward councilors have filed complaints against Chan alleging gross abuse of office and serious breaches of Public Finances Management Act.
The complaint was submitted to the Ombudsman Commission, Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Police Fraud Squad, Auditor General Ofice and the Department of Finance.
Chan is accused of failing to complete acquittals for over K400 million royalties of Lihir mining monies, breaching the PNG Planning Monitoring Act and breaching a number sections of PNG’s Organic Law.
Responding to the allegations, Chan said he is not afraid by what is put forward to refer him to the Ombudsman Commission for leadership breaches.
He referred to Schnaubelt and Ian Ling-Stuckey as “two unscrupulous ankle-biters [who] have no decency and are desperate for power.
“They can do whatever they like. I don’t have anything to hide. As far as I am concerned, their childish postings [on social media] are simply a feeble attempt at revenge…. All of the points they raise are dead issues.”
Chan has been an opponent of the Ombudsman Commission since it was first proposed as a remedy against official misdemeanour before independence.
In his 2016 memoir, ‘Playing the Game: Life and Politics in Papua New Guinea’, he suggested the idea of an Ombudsman Commission was offensive because it implied the people do not trust their leaders and he argued that it hindered leaders from freely performing their mandated roles.
Reviewing the book recently, academic Michael Kabuni wrote:
“After the massive scale of corruption experienced in this country, I would have thought that Chan would eventually come around and argue for increased funding and staffing for the Commission so it could hold corrupt leaders to account.
“Chan has, however, never wavered in his criticism despite the systemic corruption experienced in PNG.”