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Bells toll for Peter O'Neill as 5 governors quit his party

Presser 2
At the press conference, the resigning governors spoke of institutions needing to be protected and a nation tired of corruption

NEWS DESK | Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - Five members of Papua New Guinea's government have resigned from the party of prime minister Peter O'Neill.

Influential Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas is among those resigning from the People's National Congress.

Five government MPs, including four from the same resource rich Highlands region where Peter O'Neill is from, held a press conference late this morning in Port Moresby.

Sir Peter was flanked by the governors of Southern Highlands and Hela provinces, William Powi and Philip Undialu and two other MPs.

They announced their resignation from PNC, the party which has dominated PNG politics for the past several years.

It's the latest sign that Mr O'Neill's support is collapsing and the government could soon change, and follows the resignation of two high level government ministers earlier this month.

Mr O'Neill is currently in Beijing with a government delegation, attending China's Belt and Road global forum.

PNG's parliamentary opposition is planning on tabling a motion of no-confidence against the prime minister when parliament resumes next month.


PNGDF & police gear up security for APEC meeting

First Pacific Royal Islands Regiment
First Pacific Islands Regiment on a 27 km route march as part of its combat fitness training

LI XIA | Xinhua

PORT MORESBY- Papua New Guinea has geared up its land, sea and air security support services for hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November, PNG Defence Force authorities said on Friday.

"It is a tremendous undertaking and a giant leap for us and therefore at this stage, with a number of months to go, it is important that we understand our capabilities and test them accordingly," PNG’s chief of force preparations, Colonel Siale Diro, told the PNG Post-Courier.

The deployment of dedicated special forces is already being tested to help police and other agencies provide safety and security for the international event, the newspaper quoted Diro as saying.

Continue reading "PNGDF & police gear up security for APEC meeting" »


Mendi in flames as rioters threaten more destruction

Dash 7 torched
The Air Niugini Dash 8 totally destroyed after its undercarriage was shot out by gunfire and it was torched by rioters

MATHIAS KIN

KUNDIAWA -  Mendi town is in chaos after disgruntled supporters damaged the undercarriage of an Air Niugini Dash 8 aircraft by gunfire then burnt the plane to ashes.

It seems a national court decision on the disputed return for Southern Highlands regional MP William Powi, a member of Peter O'Neill's ruling People's National Congress, angered the numerous supporters of losing candidates Joseph Kobol and Bernard Kaku.

The rioters also burned down the local court house and William Powi's residence.

We are hearing through our bush drums that this is the beginning of other serious destruction today and in future days.

I will keep readers  posted on further developments.

Continue reading "Mendi in flames as rioters threaten more destruction" »


Dr Schram overseas on bail claims prosecution was 'political'; says he will not return to PNG ‘until major changes occur’

Albert Schram & reinstated passport
Dr Schram & associate were delighted to see his Netherlands passport returned last week - now he has said he will not come back to PNG to face trial 

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In a shock development in the Schram case, the former vice-chancellor of the PNG University of Technology has said he will not return to Papua New Guinea “until major changes occur in the country”.

Dr Schram said he has been the subject of a “political prosecution” and will forego bail rather than return to an uncertain legal future in PNG.

“[We entered] a parallel world where lies are truth and all people are blind, deaf and mute,” he wrote in Facebook of the charge of 'false pretence' he is facing.

“In this world, you are completely alone because there is no point in trying to have a reasonable conversation with anyone. A truly terrifying world, but the truth will set us free.”

But Dr Schram said he will still go through “the costly process” of getting his original doctorate legalised and send it through diplomatic channels to the committal court in Waigani.

“This should clear all charges for ever,” he said.

Continue reading "Dr Schram overseas on bail claims prosecution was 'political'; says he will not return to PNG ‘until major changes occur’ " »


Has anyone seen this man: Benedict Allen, lost in PNG

HARRY COCKBURN | The Independent

Benedict Allen
Benedict Allen

LONDON - A British explorer has gone missing in Papua New Guinea during an attempt to contact a tribe living in a remote area of jungle.

Benedict Allen, 57, has not been heard from in over three weeks after being dropped off by helicopter.

He was supposed to have begun his journey home on Sunday, but missed a flight to Hong Kong where he was booked to give a talk to the Royal Geographic Society.

He has not been heard from since late October. His last public post was earlier in the month when he tweeted a picture of himself wearing his rucksack on the way to Papua New Guinea.

“Marching off to Heathrow. I may be some time (don’t try and rescue me please - where I’m going in PNG you won’t ever find me you know...)”

His family is now concerned something may have happened to him on his trek.

Mr Allen was trying to reach the Yaifo people, who he first met 30 years ago in Papua New Guinea’s East Sepik province. He was trying to meet them again to film them for a new documentary.

Continue reading "Has anyone seen this man: Benedict Allen, lost in PNG" »


Gunshots all around as election violence resumes in Wabag

The late Sano Peter MendaiDANIEL KUMBON

WABAG, Wednesday afternoon - Election violence has resumed here and gunshots are ringing out over the small township after a ceasefire imposed last week broke down yesterday and a death was reported this morning.

Wabag is experiencing its most violent time since Enga Province severed ties with the Western Highlands to assume its own political and administrative responsibilities in 1974.

Maters were made worse by the unrelated death of a young pilot Sano Peter Mendai (pictured), who was to graduate from a flying school in New Zealand this month.

Sano Mendai had come to Port Moresby to witness the graduation of his wife, Jane Kipok, from the University of Papua New Guinea’s.

Continue reading "Gunshots all around as election violence resumes in Wabag" »


On Manus, how trivial dispute over sports field led to violence

Knight_Ron (Nathan Edwards)RON KNIGHT MP

Overnight, in a Twitter stream, the member of parliament for Manus Open, Ron Knight (pictured), told of how the recent violence developed drawing from reports he received from participants and observers. We have assembled the tweets into this story. The image below is the full text of a statement on the incident released last night by PNG Defence Force chief of staff, Colonel Raymond Numa....

THE children of soldiers attempted to play soccer on the base sports field while asylum seekers were also passing ball around. They were yelled at and chastised.

A duty officer in uniform stepped in and asked them to share the field. He was assaulted and chased off the field bleeding.

Duty personnel arrived and the base alarm sounded.

Continue reading "On Manus, how trivial dispute over sports field led to violence" »


Looting in Port Moresby, buildings ablaze, shots heard

Looting amidst riots in Port Moresby

KEITH JACKSON

LOOTING and arson broke out on the streets of Boroko in Port Moresby this morning after a supermarket caught alight yesterday. 

Rhian Deutrom of The Australian said shots were heard on Angau Drive and several buildings were set on fire 50 metres from the Salvation Army compound and a local school.

The compound is staffed by Australian couple, PNG territorial commander Colonel Kelvin Alley and Colonel Julie Alley, as well as local officers.

Earlier this afternoon, Colonel Alley said the situation was “quite serious”.

“Fires are raging, hundreds of people are looting and police are shooting bullets and tear gas,” he said.

Continue reading "Looting in Port Moresby, buildings ablaze, shots heard" »


Student killed, buildings torched in savage Unitech attack

Destruction at UnitechKEITH JACKSON

A STUDENT was killed and buildings set on fire at the University of Technology in Lae in a violent attack last night.

Vice-chancellor Albert Schram said that at around 10pm a group of men armed with bush knives attacked a dormitory with a student later dying from his wounds.

“Subsequently a group of marauders set fire to various academic buildings,” Prof Schram said.

“The power supply was cut off and the telephone network went down.”  

Continue reading "Student killed, buildings torched in savage Unitech attack" »


Reports: Students clash with UPNG security; vehicles torched

Security vehicle on firePETER SOLO KAULGA

UNIVERSITY of Papua New Guinea students at the Waigani Campus claim to have been provoked by the university security service this morning resulting in a fight in which vehicles were burned, the Michael Somare Library stoned and some security officers injured.

The situation occurred when students were meeting in front of the UPNG clinic and Toa hall of residence. It was alleged that security officers tried to stop the meeting.

The students were meeting to discuss an official apology from the University Administration on the police shootings including meeting the medical expenses of students who were injured.

They were also seeking an immediate independent investigation into the shootings separate from the government-sanctioned inquiry. After discussing these issues, the students were hoping to return to class next week.

Police have been called into the campus and the situation is now reported to be quiet.

Meanwhile, University of Technology (Unitech) students in Lae are ready to resume classes on Monday. A student from Unitech said there is police presence on the campus but most students are ready to resume classes.


Grand Chief Somare visits students wounded in UPNG shootings

Sir Michael & Lady Veronica visit shooting victimsPost Office Box & PNG Facts

MY utmost respect for Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare, the founding father of Papua New Guinea.

Isn’t it ironic that in the twilight of his political career, bloodshed is seen to be lurking on our front and back doors?

This is the nation he built without any guns fired or blood shed. He gathered 1,000 tribes together and held these fragmented societies miraculously up to and after independence.

For 40 long years he heard every cry from the four corners of PNG loud and clear. Alas he never kept the towns in East and West Sepik close to his heart and their present condition is a testimony of his national agenda.

Continue reading "Grand Chief Somare visits students wounded in UPNG shootings" »


Anti-O’Neill sentiments running high in Enga Province

Injured Enga studentDANIEL KUMBON in Wabag

FORTUNATELY nobody died in a horrific road accident in Enga yesterday afternoon when a dump truck carrying 37 protesting students supporting their UPNG and Unitech colleagues smashed into a gorge.

Twelve students from Foursquare Secondary School and one student from St Paul’s Lutheran Secondary School in Wapenamanda are nursing injuries at Wabag General Hospital.

One with serious head injuries is now in stable condition.

They were among hundreds of students from Wapenamanda travelling to Wabag in four trucks to join students from Sir Tei Secondary School in calling upon prime minister Peter O’Neill to resign.

Continue reading "Anti-O’Neill sentiments running high in Enga Province" »


UPNG suspends studies; gives students 48 hours to leave campus

Students protestJOY KISSELPAR | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

THE University of Papua New Guinea has suspended the school's first semester for an indefinite period, effectively ending a student boycott of classes.

Students have been boycotting for more than two weeks, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill over alleged corruption and mismanagement.

Acting chancellor Dr Nicolas Mann said the university council's decision is based on recommendations from the university senate.

The senate consist of lecturers, professors and heads of schools within the university.

Students were told they have 48 hours to vacate the campus and that all support amenities for students will cease after that time.

Continue reading "UPNG suspends studies; gives students 48 hours to leave campus" »


Huge rally against Peter O’Neill as students refuse to yield

UPNG Forum - ThursdayKEITH JACKSON & SOURCES

AN estimated 5,000 people, including students and members of the public, gathered at the University of Papua New Guinea’s Waigani campus today to demand that prime minister Peter O’Neill step down and face corruption allegations against him.

Protesters said they were rallying as concerned citizens of Papua New Guinea. One woman took to the podium to thank students for helping secure a good future for her grandchildren.

Civil society organisations in Papua New Guinea are supporting protesters who say they will not be cowed by the massive police presence in Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Huge rally against Peter O’Neill as students refuse to yield" »


Government apparatchik threatens over student protests

Isaac LupariKEITH JACKSON

AS A certain mania overtakes the government of Peter O’Neill, his chief secretary Isaac Lupari has claimed that there are people behind the current university protests who are not students but agitators with sinister purposes.

Radio New Zealand International is reporting that Lupari has warned that people attempting to commit illegal acts as part of attempts to hijack student protests will face the full force of the law.

Talking of social media, which has grown to be a major bogey man for Peter O’Neill, Lupari said activists are not students but agitators who have no interest in student matters.

“There is big money involved in manufacturing protest for people of dubious intent,” Lupari alleged in a statement released tonight.

Continue reading "Government apparatchik threatens over student protests" »


Armed police on UPNG campus in attempt to end student boycott

UPNG circularKEITH JACKSON

AS armed police in troop carriers moved on to the campus of the University of Papua New Guinea before dawn this morning, prime minister Peter O’Neill was providing the clearest sign that as long as he is around no dissent will be brooked.

Yesterday, the PNG electoral commission had invalidated student voting which seemed to legitimate boycotts on classes at a number of universities.

The boycotts began three weeks ago at UPNG in an effort to compel O’Neill to stand down in the face of corruption allegations against him.

Continue reading "Armed police on UPNG campus in attempt to end student boycott" »


Manus detention centre is unconstitutional: PNG Supreme Court

PleaGUARDIAN AUSTRALIA | Edited extracts

THE Papua New Guinea Supreme Court has ruled that the detention of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island is illegal, finding it to be in breach of the PNG Constitution.

The full bench of the court ruled the incarceration of asylum seekers and refugees was in breach of their personal liberty, the ABC has reported, and ordered both the PNG and Australian governments to immediately begin making arrangements to move people out of detention.

The challenge to the offshore detention regime, brought by Port Moresby lawyer Ben Lomai on behalf of more than 300 detainees, argued that the men’s detention was in breach of Section 46 of the PNG Constitution.

Continue reading "Manus detention centre is unconstitutional: PNG Supreme Court" »


Supreme Court judge Sakora charged with judicial corruption

Bernard Sakora at Boroko Police Station (ABC)ERIC TLOZEK | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

ANTI-corruption police in Papua New Guinea have arrested one of the country's top judges and charged him with judicial corruption.

Police said Supreme Court judge Bernard Sakora accepted a K100,000 kina payment in 2009 from a company linked to Paul Paraka Lawyers, a law firm accused of defrauding the PNG government of millions of dollars via inflated legal bills.

The director of PNG's National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, Matthew Damaru, said his officers came across the payment while investigating the complex and long-running case.

"The arrest is a result of ongoing investigations to the payment of legal bills to Paul Paraka Lawyers where this payment to the judge was discovered and the investigation conducted into the payment made," he said.

"He [Bernard Sakora] denied receiving the money."

The 68-year-old has presided over several cases related to the payment of those bills and involving Paul Paraka Lawyers.

Continue reading "Supreme Court judge Sakora charged with judicial corruption" »


Rebels & PNG military to reconcile 20 years after civil war ends

Ruins of Arawa Hospital in 1997 (AFP)RADIO NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL

PLANNING is underway for reconciliation between the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and members of the former Bougainville Revolutionary Army.

The armies opposed each other during the 10-year long Bougainville civil war which ended nearly 20 years ago.

Now, with the Autonomous Region preparing for a vote on possible independence from PNG, the Bougainville parliamentary referendum committee wants the former warring groups to reconcile.

Committee chair, Joseph Watawi, sais the plan is backed by PNGDF commander Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo and former BRA leader Sam Kauona.

Continue reading "Rebels & PNG military to reconcile 20 years after civil war ends" »


Ex police boss Geoffrey Vaki facing 3 years prison

G VAKINEWS LIMITED

PAPUA New Guinea's ex police chief Geoffrey Vaki has been sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of contempt for failing to arrest prime minister Peter O’Neill during a long running corruption probe.

Former police commissioner Vaki is expected to be soon taken into custody.

In June a court found Vaki guilty of contempt for failing to execute a district court arrest warrant issued last year for Mr O'Neill, and for later telling media any decision to arrest him was "a long way down the road".

Continue reading "Ex police boss Geoffrey Vaki facing 3 years prison" »


Journalists expose how corrupt cash gets to Australia from PNG

Harvey MaladinaNICK MCKENZIE, RICHARD BAKER, JOHN GARNAUT |
Fairfax Media | Extracts

AUSTRALIA has been exposed as a safe haven for corrupt funds from overseas after a pair of top lawyers were caught on video explaining how regional leaders steal money from their own people and park it in bank accounts here.

Fairfax Media has obtained recordings of an undercover sting that show one Papua New Guinea lawyer, Harvey Maladina (pictured), explaining how a "prestigious" law firm and a well-known Queen's Counsel issue inflated invoices to conceal the movements of corrupt money.

Continue reading "Journalists expose how corrupt cash gets to Australia from PNG" »


Ex police boss Vaki guilty of contempt over O'Neill warrant

Geoffrey VakiFRANCIS NII

FORMER Papua New Guinean police commissioner Geoffrey Vaki was yesterday found guilty of contempt of court in relation to his failure to execute an arrest warrant against PNG’s prime minister Peter O’Neill.

The warrant related to Mr O’Neill’s alleged authorisation of K78.1 million in state funds which was paid to Paul Paraka Lawyers.

In a National Court sitting presided over by Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, it was ruled that Mr Vaki deliberately and willfully prevented the arrest of Mr O’Neill.

Continue reading "Ex police boss Vaki guilty of contempt over O'Neill warrant" »


Momis heading for comfortable victory in Bougainville

Momis election posterKEITH JACKSON

AS counting in the Bougainville elections continues, incumbent president Dr John Momis looks headed for a comfortable victory.

With 14,000 votes counted by six o’clock this morning he held an absolute majority over the other eight candidates with 53% of the vote.

Lagging well behind in second place was Ismael Toroama,  the hardline former commander of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), with 12%.

Next was ex-resistance movement leader Sam Akoitai, a onetime captive of the BRA who murdered several members of his family. In 1994 Akoitai initiated peace talks with the BRA.

In fourth place is another former BRA commander Sam Kauona, who, as a PNG Defence Force soldier, had been trained in explosives by the Australian Army, a skill he put to effective use in the Bougainville civil war.

Continue reading "Momis heading for comfortable victory in Bougainville" »


PNG police & army involved in Boroko shootout

PNG policeLIAM COCHRANE | ABC PNG Correspondent

PAPUA New Guinea's police and army have formed a joint taskforce to investigate a shootout between the two forces that left four men in hospital with gunshot wounds.

Businesses located near the confrontation closed their doors and there were reports of looting following the clash.

"After last night's stand-off, culminating from a drunken brawl between our soldiers and policemen ... senior officers from both the defence force and the constabulary have now formed a task force to investigate," deputy police commissioner Jim Andrews said.

"I appeal to all members of the constabulary to refrain from provoking or inciting further violence with our counterparts from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF)."

Continue reading "PNG police & army involved in Boroko shootout" »


Three infants died in blaze while mothers played cards

3 infants die as house burns to groundJIMMY AWAGL

THREE infants died when a semi-permanent house burned to ashes on Monday night at Gera village on the Highlands Highway in Simbu Province.

Two young mothers aged 25 left their homes for a card game the next house just 15 meters away when the nightmare began.

Two five month old babies and a five year old child were on a common bed asleep when it is believed a nearby hurricane lamp caused the fire.

It is thought an outstretched arm or leg tipped the lamp over, spilling kerosene over the mattress.

The flames set the mattress alight and quickly spread to the pitpit wall.

The fire soon engulfed the building with flames and smoke so thick that no-one could rescue the kids.

Continue reading "Three infants died in blaze while mothers played cards" »


Was public money used to fund coup, Gov Juffa asks Minister Gore

The Arore convoyPNG EXPOSED | Edited extracts

ORO Governor Gary Juffa has demanded explanations from Community Development Minister Delilah Gore who he alleges used her official position to draw funds from the Department of Community Development to sponsor yesterday's political upheaval in Oro Province.

Governor Juffa was presented with copies of vouchers indicating that the Department of Community Affairs had paid for accommodation for four Oro local level government presidents who stayed at the Grand Papua Hotel for four nights at the expense of the Department.

The documents show that the Department paid over K17,000 to the hotel for the accommodation.

“The presidents for Kira, Afore, Tufi and Oro Bay were accommodated at the Grand Papua at the expense of the Department and PNG taxpayers, allegedly for political reasons,” Mr Juffa said.

Continue reading "Was public money used to fund coup, Gov Juffa asks Minister Gore" »


Suicide attempt? Priest accused of paedophilia is hospitalised

David McNamara and his alleged abuser, then Bro Roger MountRORY CALLINAN | The Age

THE Papua New Guinea-based Catholic priest ordered by the church to return to Australia after Fairfax Media revealed his alleged involvement in Australian child abuse cases appears to have stalled his departure by going into hospital.

The Catholic Church paid more than $100,000 to victims who alleged abuse by Father Roger Mount when he was a brother with the Catholic St John of God Order running children's homes in NSW and Victoria in the 1960s and 1970s.

He moved to PNG in the 1980s and became a Catholic priest - most recently in the Sogeri Parish about 45km north-east of Port Moresby - despite the allegations of child abuse being reported to the Catholic Church in Australia.

Continue reading "Suicide attempt? Priest accused of paedophilia is hospitalised" »


Australian billionaire's luxury yacht boarded by PNG pirates

ANTIPODEANLIAM COCHRANE | ABC

ANTIPODEAN, a luxury yacht belonging to Australian media magnate Kerry Stokes has been robbed by ‘armed pirates’ in Papua New Guinea who stole phones and laptops before escaping.

The billionaire boss of Channel Seven flew into Madang on the east coast of PNG with his family on Friday.

Mr Stokes's luxury yacht arrived from Cairns on Wednesday and was anchored off Kranget Island after refuelling at a nearby marina, said former Madang governor and owner of the Madang Resort Hotel, Sir Peter Barter.

Continue reading "Australian billionaire's luxury yacht boarded by PNG pirates" »


Drama on the high seas as student saves mother and baby

Mother Grace Tambor and student health extension officer Margaret Kalisi holding newborn baby girlDAVID WAPAR

YOUNG mother Grace Tambor could have died but for a final year rural Health Extension Officer (HEO) student from Divine Word University who delivered a first born child on the high seas between Rai Coast and Madang town.

HEO student Margaret Kalisi said Grace was in labour when she was rushed to a local clinic where she and her colleagues were as part of their 10-week rural health centre practical engagement.

Margaret said Grace, from Biliau in the Rai Coast District, was due to deliver her first child on Wednesday 6 August at the local clinic, however the baby was in breech footling position posing a risk for both mother and child.

She said the health officer in charge of the clinic was in Madang and so she was prompted to act in the emergency.

“There were no supervisors at the clinic so I decided we should further seek help,” said the health student.

Margaret said she made a decision to escort Grace from Biliau by dinghy to Modilon General Hospital in Madang town – a three hour trip on the high seas.

Continue reading "Drama on the high seas as student saves mother and baby" »


Fraud charges against Paul Paraka total over $100 million

Paul ParakaLIAM COCHRANE | ABC PNG Correspondent

POLICE in Papua New Guinea have charged lawyer Paul Paraka with an additional 32 corruption-related offences, bringing the total alleged fraud to more than $A100 million.

Anti-corruption investigators allege the PNG Government paid millions of dollars to Paul Paraka Lawyers for inflated or invented legal cases. Mr Paraka was arrested last year over 18 alleged offences and now police have added another 32 charges of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and misappropriation.

The total amount allegedly defrauded by Paul Paraka is around $AU102 million. The case has embroiled prime minister Peter O'Neill, who is alleged to have authorised some of the payments.


Kua says 2nd letter signed by O'Neill undermines forgery claims

The second letterLIAM COCHRANE |
ABC Papua New Guinea Correspondent

Papua New Guinea's former attorney-general says Peter O'Neill's attempt to explain a crucial letter in a corruption case undermines the prime minister's later claim that the letter was forged.

Mr O'Neill has confirmed to the ABC that he signed a letter in 2013 that clarified the intent of an earlier directive to process legal bills, but insists he misunderstood what he was signing.

Mr O'Neill says his chief of staff, Isaac Lupari, drafted the letter for him to sign but Mr Lupari has refused to confirm that he was the author.

"If [Mr O'Neill] says that he didn't sign the first letter, then how is it that in the second letter he refers to the first letter by date?" former attorney-general Kerenga Kua said.

Mr Kua was dismissed for questioning Mr O'Neill's leadership but remains an MP for Sinasina-Yonggamugl.

A legal and political scandal has raged in PNG since police served Mr O'Neill with an arrest warrant for official corruption on June 16.

Continue reading "Kua says 2nd letter signed by O'Neill undermines forgery claims" »


Bougainvillean students harassed at Divine Word University

Peter Karatapi (right), Gideon Davika (centre) with Arawa friend (Leonard Roka)LEONARD FONG ROKA

THREE Bougainvillean students have been attacked by drunken fellow students from elsewhere in Papua New Guinea while inspecting building works for a new university campus supermarket.

The two drunkards aggressively demanded a handshake but, when first year Accounting student Gideon Davika giggled, violence erupted.

“Why yu lap? (Why are you laughing?),” one of the drunkards said to Davika.

Then his mate unexpectedly punched Peter Karatapi, a contributing writer to the Bougainville 24 website, also an Accounting student.

The Bougainvilleans retaliated, outmuscling their attackers until other students intervened and stopped the brawl.

Continue reading "Bougainvillean students harassed at Divine Word University" »


Road to Ok Tedi mine re-opened after serious landslip

Clearing the landslipOK TEDI MINING LTD

THE road link between Tabubil and the Ok Tedi mine has been re-established after excavation work over the weekend cleared soil and debris from last week’s landslip at Yuk Creek.

Until the road is fully restored, access is allowed only for OTML vehicles and authorised personnel. The road will be closed to all traffic from 9am-4pm and 7:30pm-5:30am to allow remedial works to continue. 

The copper concentrate pipeline remains dislodged from its footings, but is still intact. Company engineers are working on this and it may take up to two weeks before production returns to normal.

The OTML Community Relations Department have advised settlers in the vicinity of Yuk Creek to evacuate the area for their own safety as the soil structure at the top of the creek remains unstable and is still moving with continued high rainfall.

Continue reading "Road to Ok Tedi mine re-opened after serious landslip" »


$3.3M a day revenue loss as landslip blocks Ok Tedi access

TabubilKEITH JACKSON

A major landslip in the Western Province last Wednesday, which cut off road access between Tabubil (pictured) and the copper mine, is costing Ok Tedi Mining $3.3 million a day in lost revenue.

While no deaths or injuries were reported, people living in settlements in the vicinity of the slip zone have been advised to vacate their homes.

A number of villages are cut off and arrangements have been made to airlift food supplies if road access is not restored in the next few days.

Continue reading "$3.3M a day revenue loss as landslip blocks Ok Tedi access" »


Solomon Islands move from one disaster to another

Wooden and metal bridge washed awayFR AMBROSE PEREIRA

HEAVY rain and floods have left more than 20 dead and tens of thousands homeless in Guadacanal.

The Solomon Islands government declared a state of emergency after the Matanikau River burst its banks, sweeping away, people, houses and bringing down bridges.

The floodwaters have receded, but the country is yet to come to terms with the full extent of the damage. While rain lashes the country, major damage is seen in the Chinatown area of Honiara and in north-eastern Guadalcanal.

Continue reading "Solomon Islands move from one disaster to another" »


Bougainville writer Ishmael Palipal injured in DWU fighting

Ishmael is comforted by mates after being attackedLEONARD FONG ROKA

A REGULAR contributor of poetry and articles to PNG Attitude and Bougainville 24 websites, Ishmael Palipal from Koromira in Central Bougainville, was amongst the students who were killed and injured in a confrontation near Divine Word University in Madang late on Friday night.

The fight started after lectures on Friday when the deceased East Sepik man, Nigel Laki, a third year student in Communication Arts, set off for a few drinks with fellow students in the neighbouring suburb of Nabasa.

The group is said to have moved between a residential home where they lived and a liquor outlet where they were ttacked by what are described as “criminals”.

Continue reading "Bougainville writer Ishmael Palipal injured in DWU fighting" »


DWU on edge after journalism student killed by settlers

KEITH JACKSON | Twitter reconstruction

TENSIONS are running high at Divine Word University in Madang after a journalism student was stabbed and killed last night by inhabitants of the Gav Stoa squatter settlement and a resultant fight between students and settlers.

PNG political commentator, Martyn Namorong, who is familiar with the settlement, said elements had been causing trouble – “continuous harassment” - for too long and he hoped the Madang Provincial Government “evicts those bastards”.

“Governor Jim Kas will have community support to get rid of those animals. He better strike now while the iron is hot,” an emotional Namorong said on Twitter.

Continue reading "DWU on edge after journalism student killed by settlers" »


Belden Namah says he's concerned over slow pace of justice

KEITH JACKSON

Belden Namah by Jeffry FeegerPAPUA NEW GUINEA’S OPPOSITION LEADER Belden Namah yesterday expressed concern over the “sluggishness of justice” in the matter of the K71.8 million payout to Paraka Lawyers which led to its principal, Paul Paraka, being arrested and charged.

“His co-conspirators have been allowed to get off scot-free,” Mr Namah said in a press statement. “Paraka would never have received K71.8 million without the highest political consent. [He is] small fry compared to the big fish who have assisted in the processing of the payment.

“It is inconceivable to think that such a large appropriation of the people’s money would have been possible without approval from the Prime Minister, Minister for Treasury and Minister for Finance.”

Continue reading "Belden Namah says he's concerned over slow pace of justice" »


Damning report into PNG Finance Department: 50 people named

LIAM FOX | ABC

A JUDGE HAS APPROVED the release of a report into corruption in Papua New Guinea’s Finance Department. The judge lifted an injunction preventing the publication of the damning report.

A Commission of Inquiry spent several years investigating allegations of widespread corruption at the Finance Department. In 2010, the day after the report was tabled in parliament, lawyer Paul Paraka and former Solicitor-General Zachary Gelu obtained a court injunction suppressing the report.

They sought a judicial review of the inquiry but the National Court has rejected the application and discharged the injunction.

The report details how the department paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in sham compensation claims. It recommended more than 50 people including lawyers, senior bureaucrats and businessmen be referred for criminal prosecution.

PNG Exposed has posted the full report here


Canadian Mounties investigate Bougainville corruption allegations

JO CHANDLER | The Global Mail

John Momis, pictured (centre) between former President Joseph Kabui and his wartime enemy, Joel Banam, in 2001 (AAP)DETECTIVES FROM THE Royal Canadian Mounted Police are on Bougainville to investigate deals by Canadian-based miners positioning for a stake in the war-torn territory’s vast gold and copper riches.

Three Mounties, members of a specialist unit briefed to investigate allegations of corruption of public foreign officials, flew to Port Moresby on Sunday en route to Buka in Bougainville, where they are expected to spend a week gathering evidence and testimony and probing the miners’ interactions with the internecine workings of the island’s powerbrokers.

Though economically bereft, Bougainville has immense minerals wealth. Its Panguna site was once one of the world’s largest copper mines and underwrote PNG’s economy when it gained independence from Australia in 1975. Jockeying for access to, and income from, its buried treasure has become fierce ahead of the now autonomous island’s decree of new mining laws and the easing of a decades-long exploration moratorium.

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Pato says Davis deported after he ‘became involved in politics’

AAP | RNZI

IMMIGRATION MINISTER RIMBINK PATO has told journalists in Port Moresby that PNGSDP spokesman Mark Davis had his PNG visa cancelled after he breached visa conditions and became involved in politics

Mark Davis, communications director of the PNG Sustainable Development Project, was picked up by fraud squad officers in Port Moresby yesterday and driven around the city for four hours before being put on a plane to Cairns.

Mr Davis has confirmed to AAP he was deported. "Yes, I got booted out yesterday," he said. "My only possessions being the clothes I stood up in and my passport."

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UPNG students protest against asylum deal

FRANCIS SINA NII

REMONSTRATION AGAINST THE ASYLUM deal between Australia and PNG reached a new height on Friday with students of the University of PNG staging a protest march against the deal.

The students attempted to stage a protest march to the Australian High Commission and the National Parliament but were stopped from proceeding by armed police.

They were concerned about the manner in which the asylum seeker deal was signed, saying it was never debated publicly and that is not in the best interests of PNG.

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Australia out: Asylum boat people will be sent to PNG

JONATHAN SWAN | Sydney Morning Herald

ANY ASYLUM SEEKER who arrives by boat without a visa will have no chance of being resettled in Australia as a refugee, Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has announced.

Mr Rudd declared his much-anticipated asylum seeker policy, with the major change being a new resettlement arrangement between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

At a Brisbane press conference, flanked by PNG prime minister Peter O'Neill and Australian immigration minister Tony Burke, Mr Rudd declared he would "combat the scourge of people smuggling".

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Carr cancels 457 visa of PNG’s ‘most wanted’ man

NICK McKENZIE & RICHARD BAKER | The Age

Eremas WartotoAUSTRALIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER BOB CARR has used his special powers to cancel the 457 visa issued by the Gillard government to an alleged crime boss wanted in Papua New Guinea over the theft of $30 million.

Senator Carr's decision to revoke the visa of Eremas Wartoto comes a week after Fairfax revealed that the powerful PNG businessman - accused of being one of PNG's most corrupt figures by anti-graft authorities - was using his 457 visa to avoid arrest and prosecution.

Sources in PNG confirmed that Mr Wartoto and his immediate family members in Queensland were contacted by immigration authorities late this week and told that the federal government was cancelling their visas.

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Quentin Bryce program is announced for PNG visit

AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION

Official Photograph - HE GG Quentin BryceTHE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNOR-GENERAL, Ms Quentin Bryce, will arrive in Papua New Guinea on Monday for a four-day visit.

Ms Bryce will mark Anzac Day on the Kokoda Track and undertake other engagements that recognise the historic defence links and highlight the strong bilateral relationship between both nations.

The Governor-General will also focus on violence against women, the promotion of health initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and the advancement of educational opportunities in Papua New Guinea.

On Anzac Day, Thursday 25 April, Ms Bryce will honour the service and sacrifices of Australian Defence Force personnel in World War II at the Dawn Service at Bomana War Cemetery in Port Moresby.

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Gold Coast businessman killed in Mt Hagen

ROBYN WUTH | GoldCoast.com.au

Bob PurdyCOLOURFUL Gold Coast, Queensland, businessman Bob Purdy - known as 'Cobra Bob' - was shot dead in Mt Hagen at the weekend.

The businessman, who famously repossessed everything from cruise ships to skyscrapers, was shot in what was believed to be a botched robbery in the dangerous town.

It is understood Mr Purdy died instantly.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed the death of a 62-year-old man in Papua New Guinea.

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Predatory elite the problem, Namorong tells Canberra

Martyn Namorong receives a gift from George Masri, Australia’s Acting Deputy OmbudsmanPAPUA NEW GUINEA’s failure to capitalise on its natural resource boom has been described by award winning blogger Martyn Namorong as the curse of the rent seekers.

Namorong highlighted this today when he presented a paper at the Australian National University in Canberra stressing that corrupt behaviour has resulted in many lost opportunities for PNG.

Namorong was critical of the way those entrusted with the nation’s wealth have not created opportunities for the participation of broader society in the resource boom.

“If you look at the system we have in place,” he said, “the wealth of a nation of six million is controlled by a few powerful individuals and entities.

“In theory these parties are supposed to distribute the wealth equitably but that has not been the case.”

Namorong said that what transpired was the creation of a predatory elite class who capitalise on the general population’s apathy and ignorance to squeeze out the nation’s resource rent.

“This predatory elite does not just exist in Waigani but also in the provinces where natural resources are being exploited,” he said.

Namorong suggested that the way out of the curse of the rent seekers was for broader economic development, particularly focussing on empowering the rural majority through smallholder agriculture.

His presentation was well received by the academic staff of ANU along with staff from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Ombudsman Commission and the Australian Federal Police.

Namorong, who is currently on a two week anti-corruption study tour sponsored by the United Nations, later held private talks with George Masri of the Ombudsman Commission (photo).


Unitech bursar appears before court on fraud charge

Education News PNG

ANOTHER SUSPENDED STAFF member at the PNG University of Technology (Unitech) has appeared before the Lae committal court on allegation of misappropriation and conspiracy to defraud the state.

Suspended Unitech bursar Jimmy Imbok, who is a signatory to the university account, was arrested last Thursday and appeared before Magistrate Posain Polo yesterday.

It is alleged that Imbok and others defrauded the university and state of over K600,000 between 17 January 2012 and 4 January 2013.

Magistrate Polo will consider the evidence provided by the police to determine if there are sufficient grounds for referral to the National Court.

Meanwhile, Polo reduced Imbok’s bail which was set at K5,000 to K500. He said the defendant was a citizen and would not escape from the country.

Imbok is another in a line of former Unitech staff and academics who have been implicated with former head of the university’s engineering department, Professor Narayan Gehlot.

Meanwhile police are investigating the illegal sale of a vehicle belonging to the engineering department.

Read the Albert Schram story here. Incredibly, the Unitech vice-chancellor was deported by PNG authorities while trying to clean up this mess. There's a massive injustice being perpetrated - KJ


We’ll set up an ICAC, Peter O’Neill tells Oz media

KEITH JACKSON

Today's photo of Peter O'Neill with Julie GillardPRIME MINISTER PETER O'NEILL addressed the National Press Club in Canberra today and committed himself to establishing a permanent independent commission against corruption in Papua New Guinea.

Here at PNG Attitude - with the national media focussed firmly on domestic politics - we’re grateful to the ABC’s Liam Fox for posting some of the highlights of Mr O’Neill’s speech on Twitter.

Fox reported that the prime minister began his address by criticising Australian journalists for describing PNG as a failed state.

"This is just simply wrong," he said, describing the claims as "harmful" and "hurtful".

It is indeed a slur that is especially objectionable to Papua New Guineans since it combines a noxious blend of condescension, fiction and plain ignorance.

Addressing the issue of foreign aid, Mr O'Neill said PNG would like to see a greater alignment between AusAID support and his government's own development priorities.

He also said that he would like to see links between young Papua New Guineans and Australians strengthened as well as more emphasis being placed on the trade and economic relationship, particularly Australian investment in PNG construction and agriculture.

During his speech, Mr O'Neill also continued his campaign against BHP Billiton's continuing presence in board roles in the PNG Sustainable Development Program. "There is no reason they should be involved,” Liam Fox quoted him as saying.

AAP diplomatic correspondent Adam Gartrell has just reported that Peter O’Neill asked Australia to rethink its aid spending by putting greater emphasis on infrastructure like roads and ports.

PNG is in "dire need" of better economic infrastructure like roads, ports and airports, he said. "I know there will be some in the aid program who will be horrified by this suggestion.

"But if we are going to make sure your aid genuinely supports our economic and social development and helps us guarantee our security and stability we simply must make sure it is more targeted to align with our priorities."

Australia's aid program in PNG currently focuses more on health, education and governance.

Mr O'Neill said the PNG-Australia relationship is in "good shape" but warned against complacency.

While saying that the Chinese aid footprint in PNG was very small, he would welcome more.

Late this afternoon, Mr O'Neill met with Australian prime minister Julia Gillard for discussions.


With Australian help, PNG has lost billions to corruption

EOIN BLACKWELL | AAP

Sam KoimAS MUCH AS HALF OF Papua New Guinea's A$3.5 billion development budget over three years has been lost to graft or dodgy overseas investments, the head of the Pacific nation's government anti-corruption task force says.

Task Force Sweep chairman Sam Koim (pictured) says Australian financial institutions have been complicit by turning a blind eye to dirty monies being redirected to Australian connections.

A Task Force Sweep analysis of PNG's 7.6 billion kina development budget from 2009 through 2011 shows almost half was lost to corrupt practices by public officials and government departments.

"We have uncovered a lot of instances where there was no recourse to budget and people were spending money left, right and centre, squandering funds and using them for private purposes," Mr Koim told AAP today.

"Given the trend of corruption and seeing that there is nothing on the ground level to show for the expenditure of public funds, we have reason to believe that at least half of the budget we were investigating was wasted, mismanaged or stolen.

"Government systems and control mechanisms have, over time, been corroded. It is safe to say (the money) has been stolen."

Despite being often described as "an island of gold on a sea of oil" because of its abundant natural resources, the nation of seven million has heavily degraded infrastructure, poor health services and a severe lack of access to education.

Mr Koim, who has previously described Australia as PNG's Cayman Islands because of to the amount of money invested there, denied local media reports claiming most of the stolen funds had been invested in Australia alone.

However, he said Australian financial institutions had turned a blind eye to transactions and investments from high-profile PNG public servants and politicians on Australian shores.