THE former chairman of Papua New Guinea’s corruption busting Investigative Task Force Sweep, who has apparently been dismissed after his investigations got too close to prime minister Peter O’Neill, this afternoon issued a Facebook message to his many supporters.
“Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement,” Mr Koim (pictured) wrote. “I do not intend my posts to be taken as expressions of my emotions nor seek your sympathy.
“I hope my posts are used as inspiration to face your own challenges. God bless you all.”
Meanwhile, O'Neill has accused Mr Basil of both being corrupt and responsible for a "major political plot" (see below).
At last count, in just a few hours nearly 800 Facebook users had ‘liked’ Mr Koim's brief post and many people had left comments for the investigator whose name is already a byword for courage, tenacity and public duty in PNG.
“God bless you too. Thanks for being a positive role model for many,” wrote Priscilla Kavana.
“There's no question about the country's trust in you,” wrote Leesa Timbi. “You are a symbol of hope; a manifestation of fearless justice. You have given permission to us ordinary citizens to fight corruption in all its facets. If you led a movement now we would follow.”
“Tyranny has no place in our society,” said Vince Bunbun. “Nor does the misconception of justice veiled under the cloak of righteousness. It is indeed times like these that the goodness and sincerity of our citizenry knowledgeable about the rot that is permeating from the highest office, must come to the fore to make a stand. Your fight Sam is our fight for the wheels of justice are truly in motion. Our people, our nation, will not suffer because good people will do something.”
“At least you thought about us poor ones in the villages, unlike others,” said Joel Ohire.
“Bro you’ve made history and are seen by all as a legend,” wrote Petrus Tiki. “PNG is naturally behind you and with you. You are the only hope PNG has now. You are second to none.”
And Freddie Parilawe invoked Romans 8:31 – “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us (you), who can be against us (you)?”
There are some notable Australian voices absent from the discussion, as a debate that raged on Twitter early this morning pointed out.
Not just Australia’s Coalition government, which has spent billions of dollars over the past decades on trying to support a PNG democracy (as well as placing a small, ineffectual police advisory unit in the country), but also the Federal Labor Party opposition for whom silence has been golden.
Meanwhile, the ABC’s PNG correspondent, Liam Cochrane, is reporting through his Twitter feed that Peter O'Neill has asked his appointee as Police Commissioner to investigate Mr Koim who he has accused of “acquiring millions of kina worth of property/assets” which O’Neill says will be investigated.
He has also alleged that Mr Koim met with senior Opposition MP Sam Basil to cook up a "major political plot".
These recent statement from Mr O’Neill smack of a malicious, McCarthyist style campaign to denigrate a man whose efforts to contain corruption in PNG have met with great approval not only in his own country but globally.