ON Thursday, with anti-corruption protests in full swing in Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby’s rumour mill was running in overdrive and belching the smoke of conspiracy theories.
One of the most lurid of these was that Sam Koim, the sacked head of corruption-busting Task Force Sweep, was to be arrested on his return from Australia that day and charged with treason.
Mr Koim had been in Australia as a guest of Transparency International and during his trip he had meetings with senior Australian officials and foreign minister Julie Bishop and appeared on one of the country’s most influential current affairs television programs.
Bishop had subsequently issued a statement cautioning against political instability in PNG while totally ignoring the pernicious issue of high level corruption and the related sidelining of officials like Koim who were trying to do something about it.
It was a low point in Australia’s often cloth-eared diplomacy around the tough issues related to PNG, and it did not go unobserved by PNG activists.
Well, at two o’clock on Thursday afternoon, Air Niugini flight PX004 from Brisbane touched down at Jacksons airport and Sam Koim disembarked – and went home.
Later he used Facebook to make this statement:
I heard the rumours about my arrest whilst in Australia. I arrived into the country yesterday afternoon.
Although any thinking legal mind with the facts would see my travel and could hardly link it to a criminal offence, I would not be surprised if they go down too low for that.
If it relates to my trip to Australia, then my representations, reasons and media interviews are on record including the post on my Facebook wall since Tuesday evening.
I see many rumours stating that Treason would be a possible charge. If that is so, it is a public crime and I would make myself available publicly for a public interview where police can conduct the record of interview at a public place so that everybody would know it.
I stand prepared to be charged for this cause. This is the cause I chose to live for, to which I am prepared to sacrifice if need be.
I thank you all for your prayers and support.
God Bless Papua New Guinea.