If our heroes say ‘Yes’, so can we
Recent Notes 33: Terrible cost of colonialism

The Unexplained Wealth Act & Paul Paraka

| Academia Nomad

Paraka clip
WAIGANI - While many people have celebrated Paul Paraka's recent 20-year gaol sentence, a crucial aspect remains overlooked: there’s no K162 million in Paraka’s bank accounts. Nor is the K162 million he stole accounted for in any bank.

Over a decade, this substantial sum was likely laundered to conceal the illegitimate origins of what is criminal money.

Prominent figures in Papua New Guinea are fond of laundering stolen money to Australia. As former corruption investigation boss Sam Koim put it, ‘Australia is the Cayman Islands of the Pacific’.

Current Australian anti-money laundering laws don’t compel the people involved in assisting the corrupt to move stolen money to either disclose its real owners or where the money came from.

Exploiting legal loopholes, these professionals - accountants, lawyers and real estate agents - facilitate the acquisition of Australian properties and other assets while shielding the identities of their PNG clients.

Against this backdrop, PNG’s Unexplained Wealth Act is poised to revolutionise the money laundering landscape.

When individuals like Paraka face corruption charges, the legal battle takes two forms: the prosecution of the alleged thieves and the reclamation of illicit gains.

However, PNG laws have allowed the recovery of corrupt money only after a court ruling that it was indeed the proceeds of corruption.

However, long before the court hands down its decision, the money has been successfully laundered.

This is where the new Unexplained Wealth Act comes in.

The Act empowers PNG authorities to confiscate unexplained wealth without establishing its criminal origins. It is a game-changer.

Regrettably, despite being passed, this crucial law awaits government certification. So long as the Act is not certified, its provisions cannot be applied.

I’m asking Papua New Guineans who read this to mobilise. Tag your local MPs, urging them to champion the certification of the Unexplained Wealth Act.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

There is not actually a new Unexplained Wealth Act. What has happened is that a Bill has been devised as an amendment to the Proceeds of Crime Act of 2005.

They've been tacking amendments onto this Act regularly, the last being in 2015.

Legislation can be assented to by parliament but doesn't come into force until its proclaimed (certified).

The amendment could sit in this limbo for years to come.

William Dunlop

No doubt, by the time the Act is officially promulgated, Oink Oinks may resume their flight from Chimbu's Omkolai.

Bearing in mind this most famous and treachorous of the time before ples palus is now a kaukau garden.

The Middle East is once again embroiled in savagery. And good old Aussie is embroiled in the Albo inspired 'Yes-No' saga.

Stop the world, I want to get off starred by Anthony Newley comes to mind: a lousy production in the world's smog capital, London, now superseded by China's Guangzhou. Slantie

Bernard Corden

It would also be worth noting whether the legislative framework is retrospective or is restricted by a statute of limitations.

Indeed, laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made and integrity has no need of rules.

Bernard Corden

Does the enigmatic PNG Unexplained Wealth Act extend to politicians and include:

a) A reverse onus of proof?

b) Parliamentary privilege?

Hi Bernard, I failed in my search for a copy of the Act passed late last year, but found a useful media release and article linked to below - KJ



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