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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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)."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
PAPUA 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.”
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
JO CHANDLER | The Global Mail
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.
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."
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.
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".
NICK McKENZIE & RICHARD BAKER | The Age
AUSTRALIA'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.
AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION
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.
ROBYN WUTH | GoldCoast.com.au
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.
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).
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
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.
EOIN BLACKWELL | AAP
AS 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.
Mr Manek was appointed in 2008 and survived being shot in an assassination attempt in 2009.
Despite his illness, he continued to serve in the job until ill health forced him to step aside last month.
Mr Manek conducted several investigations into high profile leaders including former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.
Radio New Zealand International reports the chairman of Transparency International PNG, Lawrence Stephens, as saying Mr Manek was strongly committed to an important job which was made difficult because of a lack of resources.
“It was simply the nature of the fellow,” Mr Stephens said. “He is such a well-liked person and it is quite a loss to everybody.
“A quiet person, relatively humble but very well known by many people and well liked by many. He’ll be sorely missed.”
Mr Manek, who was from Wambangan village in the Boana District of the Morobe Province held a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Papua New Guinea and a Master of Law degree from the University of Melbourne.
He was appointed Public Solicitor in 1999 and in 2001 Public Prosecutor, also serving as co-Chairman of the International Association of Prosecutors World Conference; Director of the Asia Crime Prevention Foundation; Director of the International Ombudsman Institute; Vice-Chairman of the Pacific Ombudsman Alliance and Executive Committee Member of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities.
Mr Manek gained a reputation for campaigning against corruption by public figures and was the target of many attacks, mostly verbal but also the attempted shooting in December 2009 as he was returning home, narrowly escaping death.
ILYA GRIDNEFF | Fairfax
Prominent PNG businessman Ian Chow was arrested in Sydney by Australian Federal Police early last month.
An AFP spokeswoman confirmed they arrested a 49-year-old male Australian citizen in Chatswood.
"The man was charged with one count of aid, abet, counsel or procure the export of prohibited goods," she said.
PNG has a strict embargo on weapons and ammunition importation due to high levels of violent gun crime and Mr Chow, a licensed sports shooter, is alleged to be involved in the illegal supply of ammunition via Lae Biscuit Company containers sent from Australia.
Mr Chow is the chief executive officer for Lae Biscuit Company and the regional director for the International Practical Shooting Confederation.
He appeared before Parramatta Local Court on 5 August before being extradited to face Melbourne Magistrate's Court on 20 August. His next Melbourne court appearance is on 12 November.
AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER Julia Gillard has left the APEC summit in Vladivostok prematurely because of her father's death, but not before completing some important diplomatic business.
Ms Gillard and Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill this morning signed the formal agreement that will allow Australia to send asylum seekers to Manus for processing.
Radio New Zealand International
The commission's report, obtained by Radio New Zealand International, says between 142 and 161 people died when the Rabaul Queen sank between the island of New Britain and the mainland city of Lae on 2 February.
It cannot give an exact number of passengers, because the vessel did not have a clear manifest.
The report says weather and sea conditions at the time of the capsize were gale force and the ship should not have been where it was in the conditions.
The commission found the ship's owner, Captain Peter Sharp, demonstrated that he had little or no respect for people, including those in authority.
It says this "gross disrespect" was reflected in the "appalling and inhumane conditions" in which he was prepared to let Rabaul Queen passengers travel and may explain in part why he was prepared to compromise the safety of passengers on board his ships.
The report also found a number of failures by the Maritime Safety Authority, including that it allowed itself to be intimidated by Mr Sharp.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA'S deputy prime minister Belden Namah has accused Australian officials of interfering in the national elections.
He also criticised prime minister Peter O'Neill for allowing the elections to go ahead despite the electoral roll not being ready.
Mr Namah had previously demanded the elections be deferred for six months because of his concerns about the electoral rolls.
He received the support of cabinet and the parliament, but Mr O'Neill sided with electoral commissioner Andrew Trawen and the elections went ahead a week ago.
Mr Namah says the election is a disaster and Mr O'Neill should be ashamed of having listened to the electoral commissioner and his Australian advisers.
The head of Australia's aid agency AusAID in PNG, Stuart Shafer, says there are 22 Australian advisers helping with the election.
"An update of the roll is PNG led and we have been very active in just providing the tools for Papua New Guineans to provide that update," he said.
Andrew Trawen admits there are big problems with the electoral roll.
"We have found evidence of deliberate actions by some to remove names, add names and modify the status of persons on the roll," he said.
"Once we have completed our enquiries I will refer these matters to the police."
EYEWITNESSES REPORT THAT history has repeated itself in the southern highlands elections in the new Hela Province, getting Papua New Guinea’s national election off to a very bad start.
Ballot boxes and voting papers have been hijacked, destroyed or signed by candidates and supporters, who have been filling them out at will.
Security personnel are too thin on the ground, fearful for their own safety and obviously useless.
The new province will now be under the control of crooks and thugs, not properly elected leaders.
This is a disaster for the people of Hela. They must take responsibility for what happened but it is a very sad day for Hela.
The Hela poll must now be declared a failed election and the province prepared for proper by-elections later in the year.
How many other highlands provinces will also be like this? This is the failed 2002 national elections all over again?
People did not vote in Hela and certain candidates and the PNG Electoral Commission must be help responsible for the poor planning and conduct of the election operations.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
ON THE KOKODA TRACK, about the point where General Tomitaro Horii's invasion force was halted in September 1942 in sight of the Coral Sea, a mobile phone will now pick up the signal from the Port Moresby network.
As Papua New Guinea starts voting today in its national elections, after much worry about whether they would be held within the constitutional timeframe or even run in a meaningful way, many political players and analysts are watching to see how the mobile phone is changing the game.
The last elections took place in 2007, the same year the government deregulated telecommunications and removed the monopoly of the state telecom agency. Two mobile phone companies, Digicel and BeMobile, jumped into the market, and their networks have since expanded to cover 75 per cent of the nearly 7 million population.
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One study a year ago put mobile phone penetration at 48 per cent of the population. Sarah Logan, at the Australian National University, cites estimates that 30 per cent have a mobile phone. Either way, it dwarfs the number with a fixed line connection.
Last year, the mobile networks added a broadband capability, so wireless technology is doing the same leapfrog for internet connectivity, which had linked up only 2 per cent of the population previously. As well as getting general net access, increasing numbers are using social media.
Facebook has 80,000 members in Papua New Guinea, double the total of a year ago. Most are under 40. The Twitter hashtags #PNG and #OccupyWaigani regularly break news much faster than any other source in PNG, Logan notes in the ANU Pacific Institute's Outrigger blog.
"The advent of mobile phones means PNG now arguably has a national communication network for the very first time, outstripping the relatively limited reach of PNG's relatively free press and TV broadcasters and overtaking its ineffective and expensive fixed line network," Logan says.
"Political blogs and Facebook itself also expand the media landscape considerably. This adds an important element of new possibilities of political communication to the already evident economic benefits of the introduction of new technology."
The political effects have already been felt in the capital, Port Moresby. During the political turmoil of the past 10 months, since the ousting of Sir Michael Somare from government, activists have been able to assemble large crowds to protest when public opinion turned against certain manoeuvres.
Another analyst, Danielle Cave, writing in the Lowy Institute's Interpreter blog, says: "The accessibility of mobile internet allows Papua New Guinea's Facebook users to share texts, articles, photos and video immediately while they are on the move - key ingredients for the co-ordination of a large public event."