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184 posts from August 2011

Mine dumps sewage into drinking water


Sewerage CHINESE MINER MCC and its partner Highlands Pacific Ltd own the operations of the Ramu nickel-cobalt resource.

The processing facilities and the associated township have been built in the Basamuk Bay area of Madang Province. It is from here materials will be exported and it is here that the waste will be dumped into the ocean.

The township area, located south-east of the processing plant, is home mainly to Chinese workers. Waste water from the area is discharged by a pipe into a nearby stream.

The stream runs near Mindre Village and was used for washing and drinking. Now, due to the discharge of sewage by the Chinese, villagers now have to travel three kilometres to the nearby Yaganon River to wash and fletch drinking water.

However locals claim that pregnant mothers and the elderly still use the polluted stream in preference to travelling to Yaganon.

Once, the stream was fast-flowing and contained fish and eels. Today it is slowly dying as the catchment area upstream has been turned into the mine township.

Locals claim that the last remaining forest area is about to be cleared, signalling the end of an era.

Photo: Sewage from the Chinese compound flows into the stream

China's military buildup moves to Pacific

New carrier AN EDITORIAL in the leading Japanese newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, has said China's military expansion is entering a new stage, and that it is targeting the Pacific.

China is seeking to complete an aircraft carrier-led fleet by 2020 and is pursuing an energetic building program to construct ships to mobilise Pacific battle groups.

China aims to prevent US Navy forces from entering seas within a line connecting Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines.

It also aims to achieve air and marine supremacy inside a line connecting the Ogasawara Islands, Guam and Papua New Guinea by mid-2030.

China's aircraft carrier deployment plan will form the core of its strategy to expand its maritime activities into the Pacific.

One purpose of these plans could be to execute an "anti-access" strategy in the event of a military contingency in the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese military is developing "carrier killer" anti-ship ballistic missiles that are presumably intended for use against US aircraft carriers. It will possibly formulate a new strategy that combines these new weapons with the aircraft carrier battle groups.

Another Chinese aim is to secure natural gas and other marine resources in the South China Sea and protect sea-lanes for transport of natural resources from the Middle East and Africa in anticipation of a sharp rise in the domestic energy demand.

Political controversy boosts reader numbers


Graph IT WAS A PHENOMENON I first observed working for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

When there was a crisis running, ABC listener numbers soared.

The heavy heat of controversy generates a thirst for information.

Well, in the last couple of days – with political turmoil breaking out in Papua New Guinea - we noticed a similar pattern on PNG Attitude (see graph).

Page views, which generally chug along at 700-900 a day, took off – almost doubling.

While on the subject of statistics, I'll share with you a few more numbers.

Like, where our readers come from.  The figures show that 60% live in Australia, 17% in PNG and 10% in the US.  The rest are scattered throughout the globe.

And of the 1,095 subscribers to PNG Attitude magazine, 41% live in PNG and 55%  are in Australia.

PNG is not meeting anti-graft commitment

ANTI-CORRUPTION watchdog Transparency International says that Papua New Guinea’s 2007 ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption has had little impact on the fight against graft.

The chair of TI’s local chapter, Lawrence Stephens, said the government has not passed the laws it had agreed to when it signed the convention.

“At least we have something to aim for. We have committed ourselves as a country to it. Now each time we appear in international meetings there’ll be questions raised as to how we’re going with it,” Stephens said.

“This again puts pressure on the whole country to respond so in that way it’s good.”

All states that have signed and ratified the convention must agree to a peer-review process in which each country is assessed by two others.

That process takes place over a five-year cycle and PNG is one of the 27 countries in the current first round.

Source: Radio New Zealand International

First attempt to nullify O'Neill election fails

THE OUSTED government of Sam Abal has failed in its first attempt to have the election of new prime minister Peter O'Neill declared unconstitutional.

Former attorney general Sir Arnold Amet filed a Supreme Court reference to challenge the validity of the election of Mr O'Neill.

But he filed as the Attorney General, although he was no longer in office.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Stephens, chairman of Transparency International PNG, has cautiously welcomed Mr O’Neill’s election.

“We're still catching our breath, this is quite a dramatic change,” he told Radio Australia.

“We have seen a process take place, we're still waiting for the adjudicators to come down on that process.

“Peter O'Neill is a man of many talents and we've been seeing him perform some very useful responsibilities of late in financial ministries. It'll be interesting now to see where he takes it.

“We have heard second-hand that he is talking about fighting corruption. We've actually seen some action by him on reducing the ridiculous number of trust accounts which suddenly appeared all over the place for government funds to be held in commercial banks.

“So we can hold out some hope that there will be some efforts to stem corruption in government.”

Source: Radio Australia

New PM – but dodgy deals will not go away


PETER O'NEILL, Papua New Guinea’s new prime minister, was dramatically elected on Tuesday after a revolt by government MPs who were fed up waiting on the health status of Sir Michael Somare.

O’Neill’s elevation to the top job is classic PNG politics. In this land of the unexpected, the unexpected happened when opposition leader Beldan Namah led a massive coup on the floor of parliament.

Namah, who defected from the government in a failed vote of no confidence last year, had the numbers to force the Speaker Jeffery Nape to conduct a vote to declare the PM’s seat vacant due to Somare’s protracted absence.

In October last year, when working in PNG, I learnt O’Neill wanted to oust Professor Ross Garnaut — yes, Australia’s climate change guru — from the PNG Sustainable Development Fund that was failing to act as BHP’s mea culpa for irrevocable environmental damage in PNG’s Western Province.

After the story was published the poo hit the fan and O’Neill, PNG’s then-Treasurer, denied ever saying a thing against the good professor — a denial that came in emails, press releases and a phone call to me.

Explaining to the honourable member that I had his precise comments on my dictaphone, the one he had agreed would sit on his office desk when we spoke, he paused, heartily laughed and explained that, "when I said I wanted him gone, I didn’t mean I wanted him sacked".

We both laughed and he politely said goodbye. A few days later we shared a few more laughs and beers at the bar he owns in Port Moresby, the popular Friday night watering hole, Paddy’s. Such is the flex, familiarity and fluidity of PNG politics.

O’Neill, leader of the People’s National Congress Party, has an Australian father. He is a shrewd politician and successful businessman who, like most successful Papua New Guineans, has various question marks around him

In PNG, they say it’s only a scam if you’re not involved. There are many reports regarding O’Neill’s past — but PNG politicians are always walking close to the line of not being involved. This was one of the problems with the previous Somare-led government: too many politicians were getting too involved.

Continue reading "New PM – but dodgy deals will not go away" »

Corporal Kasari & the stolen wheely wheel


Red Bike WHEN I came back from leave in 1972 I was posted to Balimo in the Western District. 

Prior to that, I had been a solo kiap at Olsobip patrolling the rugged Star Mountains followed by a long stint at Nomad River as part of a team trying to rein in the depredations of the irascible Biami cannibals.

Balimo was a long established sub-district headquarters with peaceful and tractable people so I felt a bit like a fish out of water. 

When I got there I found an old friend, Corporal Kasari, who I’m sure a lot of kiaps will attest was one of the best bush policeman around.  Kasari was feeling the same way and we commiserated.

At the time there was a fiery little Goilala nurse at the mission hospital.  Her pride and joy was a bright red bicycle which she rode along the road to the government station everyday to collect the mail.

One day she woke up and discovered that her beloved wheely wheel had been stolen.  She stomped up to the station to report the matter and to lay out the dire consequences for the offenders if they didn’t return said wheely wheel promptly.

I immediately put Corporal Kasari on the case.

Sure enough, that afternoon he marched two hangdog individuals into the office together with a wheely wheel with a distinctly buckled front wheel.

I congratulated the corporal and scheduled a session of the local court the next day.

With an appreciative audience, which included the nurse, I read the charges to the two nervous defendants; took their not guilty pleas and asked Corporal Kasari to present his case.

Kasari then proceeded to tell the court that his maternal grandmother had come to him in a dream and told him the names of the two culprits. 

When I asked him whether it was possible to call his grandma he explained that this would be difficult because she had been dead for the last twenty years.

I quickly adjourned the court.

We then had a quiet individual word with the defendants.  On the promise of lesser sentences they both turned state’s evidence and dobbed each other in. 

Turns out they had imbibed a few too many SPs and had nicked the bike on a dare.  Charging down the station road in the early hours of the morning, one pedalling and one sitting on the luggage rack, they had inexplicably crashed into the bank and buckled the front wheel of the bike.

I gave them a month each and then suspended the sentences on the understanding that they would buy the nurse a new front wheel and refit it to her satisfaction.  I also suggested that some monetary compensation might also be in order.

Shortly afterwards I managed to engineer a transfer for Kasari back to the bush.

As for myself, I got a job in Port Moresby as publications officer with the Lands Department. 

I figured by that stage the writing was on the wall.

Empty tanks and empty promises



WHEN THE PEOPLE of Ganglau and Mindre villages agreed to the industrialisation of their land at Basamuk, Madang Province, they thought they would get good health care, a primary school, road linkage to Madang town, water and power supplies, and business and employment opportunities.

The people had good reason to believe that they would enjoy the above benefits as they were promised by the government and miners. Unfortunately, there has been very little progress.

The township that houses Chinese workers has been built in the catchment area of a nearby creek that provided drinking water for Mindre villagers. Sewerage from the township is drained into the creek. The creek has lost its flow and is slowly dying. Fish and eels that once inhabited the creek are gone.

Today the villagers of Mindre have to walk about three kilometers to the Yaganon River, to bathe, do their laundry and fetch drinking water. They have however noted a decrease in the water table around the Yaganon which they say is due to water extraction by Ramu Nico.

The miner has six pumping stations located along the Yaganon River. Local leaders at Mindre village say that the Chinese and their Australian partner Highlands Pacific Ltd aren’t paying for the water they pump out of the Yaganon River.

The miners have set up one tank in each village, which they connected to their water mains. However, a dispute with the company over monthly fees has meant that nothing flows into the tanks.

The people do not want to pay the company for water which they say is being extracted free by the company.

The people have watched on the sidelines as their land was possessed and the processing facilities and associated structures erected.

Power lines and water pipes run past their village to modern accommodation units while they live in bush material homes without electricity or water supply.

The sea is their last untouched resource. The coconut and cocoa plantations at Basamuk that once provided their income have been destroyed to clear the land for the nickel and cobalt processing plant.

On Sunday 31 July, they gathered under a mango tree at Mindre village to discuss the National Court Decision regarding deep sea tailings. They cannot understand why their Provincial leaders were happy to see tailings being deposited into the ocean.

Many just don’t want to see the Chinese anymore. Incidents of stoning of company vehicles have increased. Company officials complained about this to the police who then brought up the issue with villagers on Monday.

The village leaders told the police that such incidents are bound to continue as there is widespread resentment of the company.

Visit Martyn’s website, The Namorong Report, which has just registered its 10,000th visitor  -

Video of the Ramu nickel installation on Basamuk Bay near Madang by Martyn Namorong

Matrilineal women more powerful than men


BASICALLY THE REASON for the move to reserve 22 seats in parliament for women is because, since independence, women have very little and at times no representation in parliament.

I totally support this move not because women are women but because in PNG they have been marginalised and prejudiced long enough.

It is easy to understand why this has been the case. Many of our traditional customs do not recognise women as people who could potentially speak and act on behalf of a community.

Further, despite the gains in technology and knowledge, the bulk of PNG’s population are ignorant multitudes - illiterates living in rural areas and urban settlements who are not really aware of current trends.

Certain societies in PNG, however, are matrilineal in nature. Wikipedia defines matrilineality as a societal system in which one belongs to one's matriline, or mother's, lineage, which can involve the inheritance of property and/or titles.

Notice the words, ‘which can involve inheritance of property and/or titles’.  This interests me a great deal. This line means women in matrilineal societies are more powerful than men.

My ignorance of the inner workings of matrilineal societies’ leadership structure may lead me to err, but traditionally women in matrilineal societies are the bosses of the land and anything that grows, flows or sits on it.

They make decisions pertaining to land issues and men usually stand by and watch unless they are called on to participate. In essence, women are leaders in matrilineal societies.

Men in patrilineal societies are voted into parliament because of the age old practice of recognising men only as leaders. Similarly, women in matrilineal societies should have been voted into parliament. The question is why has this not happened?

I believe matrilineal societies in PNG can lead the way by voting more women into parliament and thereby exposing to patrilineal societies the trend the modern world has taken.

Don’t get me wrong; an educated few in patrilineal societies are doing their bit to educate the vast ignorant populace, but this will take time.

If we’re serious about recognising women as leaders, reserving 22 seats in parliament is not a noble way to start; voting women into parliament is. Since matrilineal societies recognise women as leaders, it wouldn’t hurt to start with them.

Meanwhile, the Somare government was so dazzled by its own size and power that this important issue was not seriously considered and fast-tracked.

Let us hope the new prime minister will ensure this important legislation gets passed before 2012.

A great moment for the Enga students


THE NIGHT OF the Saturday 23 July was an exciting moment for Enga students at Divine Word University and its affiliated Lutheran School of Nursing when the Enga Students Association hosted it first Fundraising Coffee Night on the main campus.

Invitations were given to all Engan leaders, business houses and many working class people in Madang. The letters were also given to provincial clubs including the proposed Jiwaka and Hela provinces.

It was exciting to see that all the invited guests turn up except two who conveyed their apologies.

They included prominent businessmen and long time residents of Madang Max Kitao, Joe Tari Tipaija and Peter Andoi. They all pledged K500 each to the ESA.

Also present were Argmark Hardware branch manager Peter Lyakai and DWU lecturer Dr Fr Robert Laka who pledged K400 and K500 respectively. Another businessman Jackson Sisiak pledged K200.

ESA patron and medical doctor from Modilon General Hospital, Dr Jimmy Aipit, pledged K500 plus a huge pig while another Engan medico, Dr Kone, pledged K300. Dr Steven Toraso was also present on the night.

One of the strongmen and diehard supporters of ESA in Madang and potential candidate for Kompiam Ambum electorate in Enga, Namba Tumu, pledged another K500 in addition to last year’s K500 contribution to the club. He also promised to supply vegetables to ESA for its end-of-year function in October.

Also with us was the First Secretary of Defence, Bill Buka Toraso (an Engan). He pledged K200 to the club. Former DWU students Peter Manu, Nathan Lati and Waimin Kaitas Michael were also present. The presence these people made us proud.

On behalf of the Enga Students Association executives, students and friends here at DWU and LSON, I would like to thank all the guests, fellow students, Director of Student Services Steven Namosa and Dean of Men Andrew Pohon for their commitment, words of encouragement and donations to the club.

Their response shows they have a heart for the young people. As one of our speakers mentioned that, unlike white people, we are an emerging generation who are learning what the white people have been living and experiencing.

Our fathers and forefathers have lived a completely different Stone Age lifestyle and now we are starting to shift away from that lifestyle.

It is good that young people of this generation are moulded, shaped and directed by such inspirational words so that we may live a better life now and in the future.

If you teach one person you are teaching a thousand. We thank them so much with our hearts full of gratitude.

As the Bible says, every raindrop that falls from heavens comes for a purpose.  We believe, the words of encouragements shared with us that night will make a great difference in our personal lives.

We did not expect such huge donations from them. Our motive behind organising the event was to allow the leaders to share encouragement, thoughts and experiences with us.

It was a social night organised by the ESA where we all come together, tell stories, socialise and get to know each other.

However, they made us so proud that they were all willing to give something extra to the Enga Students Association. That is sign of a real heart for young people. Thanks for the support.

With the donations, we will be working towards three proposed activities: producing an Enga Students Year Book; participating in the DWU Cultural Show on 27 August; and end-of-year functions in October.

We thank these good people once again for the kind and loving heart they have for young people. We believe God Almighty will continue to bless them so that they can bless others the same way.

Joe Wasia is 2011 President of the DWU Enga Students Association

An open letter to the new government


Namorong_Martyn1 Pipigari Street Buai Market
Port Moresby

To: Sam Basil, Belden Namah, etc...


Dear Sirs

Congratulations on your chaotic power grab.

The nation now watches with angst as you position yourself to sail this ship to the next elections.

The challenge to Sam Basil and Belden Namah is to ensure that the issues you have continuously been bitching about are resolved in time for the next elections

In May this year Reginald Renagi had an article published in PNG Attitude titled Time to Govern in the National Interest. He wrote:

Today, PNG lacks competent political leadership.  Since 2002 the government has failed to realistically address what is wrong.  So far, the government’s overall performance has been very mediocre.  I doubt it will improve before the country goes to the polls next year.

It was also in May that Mr Namah had an article published in PNG Attitude that outlined what in his opinion was The National Interest. In introducing the article, Mr Namah stated:

I am now convinced that the Somare government does not consider the interests of local people or the country to be of any importance.

Mr Namah then pointed out evidence including amendments to the Environment Act, dumping of Ramu mine waste into the Bismarck Sea and the financial concessions given to the Ramu mine project.

Meanwhile Mr Basil had an article published in April 2010 in PNG Blogs in which he highlighted the developmental challenges facing the country.  Mr Basil wrote:

‘God save Papua New Guinea' is one phrase that any one person would want to say given the country's current situation where government services are non-existent in rural areas and more so when corruption seemed to take precedence.

Gentlemen, you are now in power.  The nation expects nothing less than fulfillment of your own words.

The nation agrees with you, Mr Namah, that it does not need another Ok Tedi at Basamuk Bay.

The nation agrees with you Mr Basil that “government services are non-existent in rural areas and more so when corruption seemed to take precedence.”  It therefore expects nothing less than investigations into all forms of corruption including the Special Agriculture Based Leases (SABLs).

The trinity for sustainable development in Papua New Guinea are: (1) investment in governance;  (2) investment in transport and communications infrastructure; and (3) investment in human capital.

Mining, forestry, fisheries, oil and gas projects have brought destruction to the environment, have divided and destroyed local communities and have gotten huge tax holiday concessions from the State.  Is that what development looks like?

Gentleman, you do have enough time to bring change because the ideas you’ve written about are shared by many in this nation of ours.  You have to provide Good Leadership Now and the nation will follow your footsteps.

Failure is not an option!

Kind regards

Martyn Namorong

Don Polye’s credibility is under the pump


KANDEP MP Don Polye has said he is the National Alliance deputy leader of the highlands bloc in the new Peter O’Neill-led government.

Polye, in his congratulatory message in parliament yesterday afternoon, said he was proud to form a new government that would provide a new style of leadership.

“I am proud that we have now a new government that will not be based on materialism and power-hunger but that will restore credibility, integrity and values that we have lost,” he said.

“Why my team decided to break ranks is because we want a change for the better.”

Polye said he was not happy with how some government issues, including the misuse of public funds, had been addressed although they had been brought up many times in cabinet.

“If we do not do anything about them, we are equally guilty of not correcting them. My team crossed over to the opposition to be with likeminded leaders who are not after material things.”

He also paid tribute and expressed his sympathy to former prime minister Sir Michael Somare who is sick in Singapore, saying he was a great leader and friend.

“We cannot allow the country to go on as it is, my crossing is justified that we want to see change.”

These were the words from Don Polye as reported in The National today. The disgraced government minister who was overlooked for the acting prime minister’s job and subsequently dumped from the cabinet by Sam Abal.

I honestly did not know whether to believe or not these were Don’s words. Please put up your hands if you believe these were the words Don spoke…. “I am proud that we have now a new government that will not be based on materialism and power-hunger but that will restore credibility, integrity and values that we have lost.”

Don’s actions leading up to the overthrow of Sam Abal’s government speaks otherwise. Credibility, integrity and values were lost eons ago and he opted to be with Sir Michael until Sam Abal beat him to the PM’s post.

He continued; “Why my team decided to break ranks is because we want a change for the better.”

Wasn’t PNG crying for change well before Sam Abal?  Sir Puka Temu and Belden Namah heard us and crossed the floor while you embraced a lie and fed your dreams of one day sitting in PM’s seat and stayed on.

Further, “If we do not do anything about them, we are equally guilty of not correcting them. My team crossed over to the opposition to be with likeminded leaders who are not after material things.”

This has got to be the biggest lie of yesterday.

Don failed to push for the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the daylight theft of the Highlands Highways Rehabilitation Funds and he was the Works minister when that happened.

I sincerely hope that the consequent hype surrounding the election of the new PM will not make PNGeans forget this politician and of course the new PM’s past.

Ministers appointed as controversy reigns


Remember NPF IN PORT MORESBY this afternoon the central figures in yesterday’s successful plot to overthrow the Somare government were rewarded with senior positions.

New Prime Minister Peter O'Neill announced the line-up of his new caretaker government with former opposition leader, Belden Namah, now deputy prime minister.

Amongst the 11 new ministers also sworn in were ex prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta, former foreign minister Don Polye and former petroleum minister William Duma.  No portfolios were announced.

Mr O'Neill said his government would not introduce any major policies before next year's general election.

Earlier, former acting prime minister Sam Abal said the appointment of the new prime minister was illegal.  He said the speaker of parliament "hijacked the process" and "committed an illegal act".

Mr Abal says he will challenge the legality of the appointment in court.

He has support for his view from constitutional lawyer Peter Donigi, who said the ousting was unconstitutional because the position of prime minister wasn’t vacant in the first place.

“If Mr Abal is successful in his court [case] and is reinstated, the question is how can he manage the purse of the nation, in view of the fact that he does not muster the numbers,” said Mr Donigi.

“The opposition, led by Mr Namah, would make it very difficult for him to perform. And therefore we will have a constitutional crisis.”

But Mr O'Neill says he is not concerned by the challenge.  "We are very confident that any challenge of any legal nature will be defended fully," he said.

"Very confident that we will succeed in that defence." Mr O'Neill says the former government should be responsible and accept yesterday's outcome.

The director of PNG's Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker, has told Radio Australia that frustration had been building among MPs.

"There had been a lot of discontent in the opposition and some government members had been looking for a way for some time to show that they wanted change," Mr Barker said.

"Parliamentarians were frustrated by, among other things, the very limited amount of time that they have had over the last year or so actually in parliamentary sessions."

Mr Barker said Peter O'Neill “seemed to be doing a good job” when he was treasury and finance minister.

He was one of the key drivers of a sovereign wealth fund, which aims to ensure all revenues from the mining and gas boom are saved for future generations in a transparent way.

Mr Barker said department staff had found Mr O'Neill "good to work with".

"He is from the Southern Highlands Province, his mother is from Southern Highlands, his father was a kiap. He's certainly an able, a determined, bright individual, and an astute politician, and certainly ambitious."

Mr O'Neill was the subject a corruption inquiry in the late 1990s that investigated one of his businesses. No charges were laid and Mr O'Neill denied allegations he acted illegally.

Mr Barker said Mr O'Neill only had a short time to prove to the PNG public that he is the right person to lead the country ahead of the next election.

"Well, they're going to have office, effectively, for only eight months. If they want to be able to secure office next year, they've got to demonstrate that they can run an effective government, hopefully a transparent government that focuses on what the public really is crying out for.

"The public has been upset over the last period of time because they've been hearing about the high growth rate, the good government revenue, and yet they're not seeing improvements in their lives in terms of roads and services.

"So if this current government in their short term can demonstrate they can actually move a few things in the positive direction, they will get brownie points for that, and it'll probably help them during the next election.”

Photo: A cheeky poster doing the rounds of the internet

Sources: ABC News, Radio Australia, Radio New Zealand International

O’Neill needs to address lingering NPF issue


Just elected AUSTRALIAN OFFICIALS will soon be negotiating with Papua New Guinea’s new prime minister Peter O’Neill about re-opening the refugee processing centre on Manus Island.

Mr O'Neill has been a supporter of reopening the facility just as he is a firm backer of resource projects including the $16 billion LNG project being built in his native Southern Highlands (he is the MP for Ialibu-Pangia).

The son of an Australian magistrate and his wife from the Southern Highlands, Mr O’Neill was a successful businessman before entering parliament, leading the People's National Congress.

He was leader of the opposition in 2004-07, and joined the Somare government after the last election.  Early last year he replaced Patrick Pruaitch as treasurer and finance minister after Mr Pruaitch stepped down over corruption charges.

But there remains an unresolved matter that goes to Mr O’Neill’s integrity and that, in the few weeks that remain before he is finally endorsed as prime minister, he should clear up.

On 28 October 2002, a Commission of Inquiry into fraudulent activity related to PNG’s National Provident Fund directed counsel assisting “to refer Mr O’Neill to the Commissioner for Police to investigate whether he should be charged with perjury concerning his evidence on this issue”.

On 22 November 2002, the Post-Courier reported that the Commission had found that Mr O’Neill, “had definitely benefitted from the proceeds of the NPF Tower Fraud”.

There the matter seems to have rested for nearly nine years.  But it continues to hang over Mr O’Neill’s reputation and it raises questions of his suitability for the nation’s top job.

Time to clear the air, Mr O’Neill.


Photo: Peter O’Neill is escorted from parliament to be sworn in as prime minister [picture by Susuve Laumea]

Resetting Australia's relationship with PNG


Bishop_Julie IT IS NOT OFTEN we hear Papua New Guinea described in public by a federal politician as a top foreign policy priority and a country with which Australia has a joint destiny.

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop [right] did just that in an excellent speech to the Lowy Institute last week.

Following the retirement of Duncan Kerr at the 2010 elections, there are no longer any Australian federal members of parliament who have spent any length of time in PNG, and the issues facing our nearest neighbour rarely make news in Australia.

For an Australian politician relatively new to the complexities of Melanesia, Ms Bishop demonstrated a good grasp of the big challenges facing PNG and the main tenets of the bilateral relationship.

A few highlights for me were:

Ms Bishop's determination that the bilateral relationship should be based on an economic and strategic partnership rather than aid donor and recipient.

Her suggestion that the private sector and non-government organisations can play a bigger role in development in cooperation with government.

Her belief in building new generations of networks between Australia and PNG in government, business and the community.

Her ideas for leveraging PNG's love of the Australian Rugby League for diplomatic outcomes.

Most importantly, her commitment that PNG must be one of Australia's top foreign policy priorities.

While PNG is Australia's second largest aid recipient, it is also our 15th largest trading partner.

Total aid funding to PNG in 2011-12 will be $482.3 million – a figure dwarfed by just over $5 billion of bilateral merchandise trade. Aid and development will be a part of the relationship between Australia and PNG for many years but it doesn't have to be the driver of a closer relationship.

PNG faces a period of massive investment in its resources and a time of great political transition over the next year.

Australia needs to focus on strengthening its links to ensure that the partnership so long valued by Papua New Guineans is sustained by the next generation. Australians will never know as much about PNG as Papua New Guineans know about Australia but investing in some more knowledge about and contacts with our nearest neighbour can only be positive.

Focusing on PNG as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is not an obvious vote winner for an Australian opposition but it is a very important relationship that successive Australian governments have not always managed well at the political level.

All credit to Julie Bishop for making PNG one of her top priorities.

Source: The Interpreter, Lowy Institute

West Papua a regional problem: Parkop

Parkop_Powes POWES PARKOP, governor of the National Capital District, will tell a high profile conference at Oxford University that the West Papua issue remains an obstacle to good relations and prosperity in the south-west Pacific.

Mr Parkop is speaking at the Road to Freedom conference and the organisers say he will put the strongest case so far that the people of Indonesia’s Papua region have the right to self-determination.

Mr Parkop says long-running security issues and human rights abuses in Papua have been a destabilising factor for the region.

“West Papua is an obstacle to this potential [for peace and prosperity],” he said.

“And for me, as a national leader in PNG, it is what I want to put forward to the Indonesians, that you are, by holding on to West Papua, hindering and stopping this potential.”

Source: Radio New Zealand International

Julius Chan warns against 'greedy' politics

FORMER PRIME MINISTER Sir Julius Chan, has launched a scathing attack on the National Alliance coalition government, accusing ministers and MPs of behaving like dictators.

Sir Julius, governor of New Ireland province, described the national parliament as shocking, shameful and of displaying behaviour worse than kindergarten children.

His comments came at the end of a convention of his People's Progress Party in Goroka.

He told Radio Australia the government had lost the plot and PNG is headed in the direction of poor African nations.

In such nations, he said, the people are ruled by leaders who are motivated by greed alone.

"I'm talking of countries like Ghana, Nigeria. They build up empires for themselves, instilling the feeling that if you want to get rich quick you have to be a member of parliament.

"So, and unfortunately, that is the trend happening in Papua New Guinea today."

Sir Julius also told Radio Australia that people in PNG are living below the poverty level of 1990 despite the resources boom.

"We have been very fortunate because of our resources, you know, mineral and oil.

"This is very very big jump in our revenue - and all this money for the past 10 years has gone somewhere but we don't know where, because the standard of living of the people has not improved at all."

Source: Radio Australia

Namaliu to chair InterOil advisory board

FORMER PRIME MINISTER Sir Rabbie Namaliu has been appointed to chair the Papua New Guinea advisory board of resources hopeful InterOil.

InterOil Corporation is developing an energy business with a primary focus in PNG. Apart from exploration its main business at present is an oil refinery and retail and commercial distribution facilities in PNG.

Sir Rabbie served as prime minister from 1988-92 and was speaker from 1994-97. He held several other senior ministries including Foreign Affairs, Primary Industry and Petroleum and Energy following his election to parliament in 1982. He left parliament in 2007.

Sir Rabbie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UPNG, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the same university.

The PNG Advisory Board is a management group being formed to assist InterOil in discussions with government departments in developing the Gulf LNG Project.

"I am pleased to chair InterOil's PNG Advisory Board, and look forward to working to bring the Gulf LNG Project to fruition,” Sir Rabbie said.

“The project may be the most significant source of revenue to the PNG government over the next 30 years. It will bring jobs and infrastructure to one of our least developed provinces and generate benefits to all the people of PNG for many years."

Source: PR Newswire

Christian leader to run against Somare Jr

Tim_Koeser_WICJC THE CO-FOUNDER of the World Indigenous Council of Jesus Christ, Tim Koeser-Karau [right], has decided to further the cause of Christian indigenous rights in Papua New Guinea by running for the soon to be vacant East Sepik regional seat at the 2012 general elections.

Ironically Mr Koeser-Karau may be running against his cousin Arthur Somare for the seat likely to be left vacant by the ailing Sir Michael Somare.

Mr Koeser-Karau was taken to the US by his American father when he was very young and since then he has spent 28 years there and 13 years growing up and living in PNG.

He has spent the last six years studying PNG’s developmental problems and has written a book based upon his research.

He is a veteran of the US Army as a combat scout at Fort Campbell, the home of the 101st Airborne Division.

His main campaign platform is the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Mr Koeser-Karau wants to get into politics to change the way PNG does business with the West.

He believes that just a few simple alterations to PNG’s laws will fix most of its problems. “Most of our problems are being caused by outside forces manipulating our political system,” he says.

Source: World Indigenous Council of Jesus Christ newsletter

O’Neill prime minister – bare facts of the day


PAPUA NEW GUINEA has a new prime minister, Peter O'Neill, after MPs voted to replace Sir Michael Somare with the former treasurer.

O'Neill, an MP from the Southern Highlands, was sworn by Governor-General Michael Oglio at Port Moresby's government house this afternoon after MPs elected him 70 - 24.

The vote ousted Sam Abal, whom Sir Michael had appointed acting prime minister.

Mr O'Neill, treasurer under Sir Michael, was demoted to minister of works by Mr Abal.

The result of the vote was met with applause from MPs and members of the public.

"Circumstances beyond our control have led to this situation," Mr O'Neill said.

During Mr O'Neill's speech, opposition leader Belden Namah sat in the chair normally reserved for the deputy prime minister.

No announcements of parliamentary positions were made.

Mr O'Neill said he expected to have his cabinet announced by the weekend.

Mr Abal, citing disloyalty, also demoted foreign affairs minister Don Polye, leader of the powerful highlands bloc of the ruling National Alliance party.

Mr Polye, along with former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta, was instrumental in orchestrating Tuesday's vote.

Less than 90 minutes after the vote, Mr Abal declared he would challenge the decision in the courts and accused Speaker Jeffery Nape of hijacking parliamentary procedures to allow the vote.

"I may not be a lawyer, but there is no procedural for the speaker to commence parliament and just presume vacancy of the position of prime minister when there is no legal documentation or substantiation of that move," Mr Abal said in a written statement.

Source: AAP

Peter O’Neill is surprise new prime minister


ONeill_Peter PAPUA NEW GUINEA has a new prime minister - and a new government of a surprising composition - after senior government figures combined with the opposition to have the leadership thrown open this afternoon.

The opposition successfully moved to have the prime minister's office declared vacant because of Sir Michael Somare's protracted absence due to poor health.

In what seems like a contrived move, opposition leader Belden Namah nominated former Treasurer Peter O'Neill for the top job when parliament resumed at 2pm today.

The motion was seconded by sacked Petroleum Minister William Duma.  Bulolo MP Sam Basil then closed nominations. Several government ministers and MPs moved to opposition ranks as Forests Minister Timothy Bonga walked out in protest.

Other fractious government MPs also crossed the floor in support to give the new prime minister a 70-24 majority.

Works and Transport Minister Peter O'Neill - whose political career has had its touch of controversy - was then elected prime minister.

He had been demoted from Treasurer about two months ago after now deposed acting prime minister Sam Abal took over from the ailing Sir Michael Somare.

Judging by the reportedly unresolved issues in Mr O'Neill's past, the current instability in PNG politics may still have some distance to travel.

One thing is for certain - the new government of PNG is a surprising blend of ambition with a clearcut post-Somare complexion.  In other ways, though, it looks like being more of the same, but with the former opposition now well and truly part of the main game.  Land of the unexpected indeed.

Meanwhile, beneath Australia's dignified and diplomatic stream of congratulations to the new leader, there will flow a deep current of anxiety.

Source:  ABC News, Scoop NZ, AAP and many other sources

The Moti illegal deportation: the real story


THIS WEEK in Canberra, a full bench of the High Court of Australia is set to hear an appeal by Solomon Islands’ former Attorney General, Julian Moti.

As well as considering the overturned verdict that excessive payments to witnesses “brought the administration of justice into disrepute,” the court will also consider whether Australian authorities “connived and colluded” in the illegal deportation of Mr Moti from the Solomon Islands.

[Mr Moti was taken under police escort to Brisbane into the hands of the awaiting Australian Federal Police (AFP) where he was arrested on 27 December 2007.]

In late 2009, the Supreme court of Queensland ruled that while the deportation was illegal, Australian officials did not interfere in the process – the knowing perpetrator of this illegality was the Solomon Islands government: in particular the permanent secretary of immigration (now the permanent secretary of civil aviation), Jeffrey Wickham. 

That Australian officials also ‘knew’ of the illegality and, at the very least, turned a blind eye did not seem to faze presiding judge, Justice Debra Mullins.

Both the then acting Australian High Commissioner, Heidi Bootle and the then Senior Liaison Officer (SLO), with the AFP testified in court that it was Jeffrey Wickham in his official capacity who gave the orders for deportation in contravention of a court order that gave Moti seven days to appeal the deportation decision.

In recent months Wickham has voiced his concern at being cast as the Australian ‘fall guy’.  He expressed these concerns firstly in a letter to the editor of the Solomon Star and, latterly, speaking from Honiara last week:

“This was not a normal case,” Wickham explained– it was an extraordinary one.  There was a lot of pressure.”

So, from where did this pressure emanate and what made it such an extraordinary case?  The implication is that there was a great deal more activity by Australian authorities than merely ‘turning a blind eye’ but as a public servant, Wickham is officially gagged – unable to defend himself in the press.

Indeed the correct forum for his evidence would have been Brisbane’s Supreme Court – but the man at the centre of this controversy, Jeffrey Wickham, was never called. A potentially opposing Solomon Islands’ perspective was thus never sought.   

Mr Wickham concluded the interview by stating that acting in his official capacity he is not a private citizen and he merely follows orders.  He stated incredulously:

“As if I’m the government! As if I’m the cabinet! Other people should come out and say what really happened.”

He’s right.  It was the job of the Australian Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (CDPP) to uncover the truth.  But maybe the truth might have proved a little too inconvenient.

Connivance and collusion?  You decide.   But here are our investigations which reveal the pressure points:


Continue reading "The Moti illegal deportation: the real story" »

The aspiring politician’s 36 winning ways for making monkeys


Words for our political aspirants, or rather their adoring public, next year.
 Let’s see who’ll be a monkey.

We are in the business of making monkeys
We breed them and feed them
We baptize them in our creed
We bestow them with our greed

We are in the business of making monkeys
We wean them and preen them
We crown them at our will
We disown them at a whim

We are in the business of making monkeys
We inveigle them and ignite them
We inspire them with our dreams
We ingrain them in our schemes

We are in the business of making monkeys
We belie them and belittle them
We baffle them with ease
We bamboozle them as we please

We are in the business of making monkeys
We deride them and deprive them
We deny them satisfaction
We defeat them with our system

We are in the business of making monkeys
We cajole them and enroll them
We payroll them with our profits
We pacify them with our promises

We are in the business of making monkeys
We defile them and revile them
We educate them in depravity
We domesticate them in poverty

We are in the business of making monkeys
We mislead them and maroon them
We amputate them from reason
We direct them to self-destruction

We are in the business of making monkeys
We whore them and devour them
We defy them with our hypocrisy
We deny them true democracy

Weekly cargo shipping service to launch


DOCK WORKERS have started loading the 62-container MV Southern Tiare in Cairns ahead of the first weekly shipping service between Cairns and Papua New Guinea which starts on 19 August.

The Cairns business community believes the service, operated by Silentworld, will provide a crucial link to enable companies to send goods to PNG and take advantage of the mining boom.

Silentworld director Meyric Slimming said he was pleased with the response of about 30 container-loads since launching the service last month. He said the first load included fresh produce, building materials, machinery and project equipment such as portable lighting systems.

Mr Slimming said the backload, also at about 50% capacity, included, copra, timber, a crane, and a helicopter and a flour mill being sent to Cairns for repairs.

"We are also bringing back empty containers," he said. "People are waiting at both ends to see how it goes. It’s the chicken-and-egg theory.

"We believe after the first couple of runs it will go off with a bang and quickly reach full capacity. That’s when we’ll have to look at a bigger ship."

Mr Slimming said the advantage of their service was having a small vessel with quick turnaround and guarantee of berths while larger ships had to wait offshore for slots to become available.

Business development manager, Tomas Bill, said the company was trying to create relationships between Cairns and PNG businesses. He said it was important for those wanting to use the service to book in advance.

"We need at least two days notice to meet Customs requirements," Mr Bill said.

Both men have flown to PNG about eight times to drum up business and negotiate with the Port Moresby Port Authority and government authorities to make sure the first voyage goes as smoothly as possible.

Source: Cairns Post

Your kinas: where does the money go?


MANY YEARS AGO, a patrol through many villages showed an imbalance in the financial trading equation.  More money seemed to be coming into the area than was going out.

How could this be? Well it was relatively easy to obtain the amounts paid for buying coffee and the amounts spent at the same trade stores that were selling consumer goods.

At the time, it was clear from the results of my study that the people in the area were saving a lot (roughly 20%) of their earnings.

Why was this? Well one reason could have been that the people who were selling their produce didn’t really need a lot of what the trade stores had for sale (e.g. tinpis, rice, skweamit, tobacco, etc.).  That was because the local people produced most of what they consumed.

Perhaps things in PNG things have changed?  How much of what is consumed in the towns and cities is actually produced in PNG?  If it comes from overseas, then the money earned by PNG in selling commodities is being paid to buy consumer goods.

For thousands of years, the way to make money if you are in control, is to create business opportunities for people to buy and sell commodities.  You then tax both the buyer and the seller.

Some foreign governments seem to have refined this operation and now have government owned businesses borrowing from government controlled banks at low or no interest and selling exclusively to government owned businesses at set prices and profit margins.

With a totally closed operation, you have a fixed monopoly on the whole business. Guess who controls the profits, financial returns and can squeeze out competition?

So how many PNG people actually pay income tax?  Is it 10%?  What is the direct and indirect taxation base?  Who really controls business in PNG?

Does the PNG government actually now know the full extent of national financial trading information?  Is the government really in control of what information is currently being released?  If not, what are the leaders basing their government decisions on?

Do people realise that if their technological equipment (mobile phones, TV’s, computers, etc.), vehicles and much food is imported and what it actually costs PNG?

So given the foreign exchange value of the kina, what does it actually cost in real terms to be a PNG consumer?

Amet: Compensation suits cost millions

PAPUA NEW GUINEA’s attorney general says human rights abuse cases brought against state departments are costing the government millions of dollars.

The police department alone has cost the state more than 43 million dollars in compensation payments over the past 10 years.

Police beatings, mistreatment, and destruction of property, account for many of the cases.

Sir Arnold Amet, who’s also Minister of Justice, says a number of government departments have contributed to the litigation costs but the police and defence force top the list.

He says part of the problem with the police is the standard of recruits isn’t high enough.

“The entry level qualification, education needs to increase and then the length of their training is inadequate and so it contributes to the lack of discipline progressively in dealing with the civil rights of the public,” he says.

Sir Arnold Amet says thousands of other cases against the State are still pending.

Source: Radio New Zealand International

Report on Somare’s health goes to cabinet

A REPORT on the health of Sir Michael Somare by his personal physician, Professor Isi Kevau, has been handed to cabinet.

Sir Michael, 75, has been recovering in hospital in Singapore since undergoing heart valve surgery in mid-April.

"His physician... has his report and has given his copy to the acting prime minister," spokeswoman Theresia Kumo told AAP today. "It is for the government to have a look at.

"If needs be they (cabinet) will decide to ask the governor-general to instruct the PNG medical board to appoint two doctors to assess Sir Michael's condition."

The findings of the report have not yet been made public.

Acting prime minister Sam Abal was expected to hand the report to governor-general Sir Michael Ogio this afternoon and brief him on Sir Michael's condition.

Mr Abal told the Post-Courier newspaper that briefing the governor-general was the first step in a process of determining if Sir Michael was physically unfit for office.

Source: Eoin Blackwell, AAP Papua New Guinea Correspondent

Landowners' reprieve in Ramu legal battle

RAMU LANDOWNERS have secured another injunction preventing a mine from dumping millions of tonnes of waste into the sea.

It was only last week that the landowners, from Madang in the country's north-east, lost a long-running legal battle to prevent the Ramu nickel mine from dumping tailings into Astrolabe Bay.

The National Court rejected their bid for a permanent ban despite finding the dumping was likely to cause serious environmental harm.

But the landowners appealed to the Supreme Court and, with the consent of the mine, have secured another temporary injunction.

Their lawyer Tiffany Nongorr says the National Court's ruling was unreasonable.

"Substantial damage is going to occur and that needs to be prevented," she said.

The injunction will stay in place until the matter returns to the Supreme Court later this month.

Source: Australia Network News

Top 10 commented upon articles in July


IT WAS GREAT to see five new names among the contributors whose PNG Attitude articles in July triggered the greatest response from readers.

PNG Attitude is nothing if it is not the collective endeavour of the people who write for it – and you don’t have to agree with everything they say to appreciate that they take the time and trouble to say it.

By and large, I find our contributors and readers a tolerant lot. Little makes me more respectful of authors than to read the response to comments criticising, sometime strongly criticising, their words and who bounce back with a wry remark and with no offence taken.

Now let’s cut to the chase.  Which articles spurred readers’ interest so much in July, that they had to respond with a comment.  Here are the top 10….

19 responses - If we drive out God, who shall save PNG (Ganjiki D Wayne).  Say what you like about subjects that should never be broached in polite company, but religion is always good for a robust debate.  And so it proved when Ganjiki decided to subject us to some provocative thoughts on the godliness/godlessness of present day PNG.

16 - Secret group will back election candidates (Keith Jackson).  Nothing like a bit of furtive behind the scenes politicking to get the keyboards clicking.  In this case, a group of PNG expatriates living in Australia have decided they wish to see political change in PNG when the next general election comes round in 2012.

11 - Ask not what your country can do for you (Phil Fitzpatrick).  He’s “a shining light that stands out from the crowd” and his name is Ralph John Regenvanu – a Vanuatu politician who’s making waves because of his selflessness and willingness to go the extra mile in the benefit of the people.

11 - Big man politics: when the chief is away… (Bill Standish).  Everything Bill writes on PNG is worth reading and this article was well in that class: a crystal clear appraisal of the complex political currents swirling around PNG as the ailing Grand Chief is no longer at the helm of the ship of State.

10 - The scandal of Operation Sunset Merona (David Fedele).  David’s sensational footage of a cowardly joint police- military operation against West Papuan refugees on the PNG side of the border provided a rare glimpse of the underside of one of the world’s longest running guerrilla wars.

10 – The lost Melanesians (Martyn Namorong).  “You have a name for folks like me / Coconuts! / Black on the outside and white inside / Yeah sure I know my people / And maybe I speak their language / But I am not one of them”.  Not often poetry gets this level of feedback.  You don’t understand modern PNG until you understand this poem.

10 - Michael Somare resigns as prime minister (Keith Jackson).  But did he?  Or did Arthur resign him?  And is that constitutional?  A story that seemed to end everything but in fact began a whole new chapter in the political saga of Michael Somare.

10 - Somare: a tribute to a legend and his legacy (Sharlene Kylie Gawi).  Sharlene’s homage to the Grand Chief had the Somarephiles and Somarephobes arguing the toss – but the one thing you can’t deny is that the old man made his mark.

9 - Buai trade is not economically rational (David Kitchnoge).  “Buai [betel nut] vendors are the most enterprising and productive people,” David argues, “who are unfortunately directing their entrepreneurial spirit and productivity towards an economically misguided activity.”

8 - Australia's second great Papuan colonisation (Phil Fitzpatrick).  The remnants of lapita style pottery at an archaeological dig at Caution Bay on the Papuan coast indicates that people were there four millennia ago – and that they may have reached present day Australia.

8 - Need for more investigative journalism (Nelson P Thom).  Nelson is sceptical that PNG journalism has reached its investigative best and he wants to see greater probing, analysis and revelation from the Melanesian third estate.


Wantok - no office ‘but tons of vision’


Wantok THE WEEKLY TOK PISIN newspaper Wantok has been described as the longest surviving vernacular publishing icon in the South Pacific since its humble beginnings in 1969.

Although not the first to be published in Tok Pisin, this newspaper has stood the test of time and is now the only pidgin paper in circulation today.

Dr Philip Cass highlighted this in a seminar at Auckland University of Technology's Pacific Media Centre. Born and bred in PNG and now postgraduate program leader of communication studies at Unitec in Auckland, Dr Cass said the newspaper was the result of tireless efforts by Fr Frank Mihalic, whose name is commonly associated with the newspaper.

“Fr Mihalic started the paper with literally nothing – no printing press, no journalistic experience, no office, no funds – but tones of vision, commitment, drive and enthusiasm,” he said.

“Without Fr Mihalic, there would be no Wantok newspaper in PNG today. Although the idea of a newspaper was not his, Fr Mihalic created Wantok.”

His work was supported by then Vicar Apostolic of Central New Guinea, Bishop Leo Arkfeld, who was equally committed and visionary in wanting to see the newspaper come into being and serve the needs of the ordinary people – reading and writing in Tok Pisin.

Fr Mihalic believed the purpose of the paper was to educate.

The newspaper has played a significant role in the spread of a common Tok Pisin vocabulary and way of speaking the language and boosting development through common communication in a society where Tok Pisin differed greatly from region to region.

Wantok was targeted at the grassroots people and during its early years it devoted a great deal of attention explaining the changing political scene and basic concepts in a language that was gradually becoming common to the readership, Dr Cass said.

Fr Mihalic started work on Wantok in 1967, a time when 24 other Tok Pisin publications – either from the churches or the government – were already in circulation in PNG. None survived – but Wantok did.

The first issue of Wantok rolled out of the Wiriu printing press in Wewak on 5 October 1970 after then Speaker of the House of Assembly, the late Sir John Guise, pressed the button to start the press rolling.

The paper, which in the early days carried the slogan “Read it before you smoke it”, is truly a remarkable newspaper that is older than the nation it serves today.

Pacific Media Centre director, associate professor David Robie, praised Fr Mihalic’s “extraordinary contribution to the cultural and media life” of a dynamic developing nation.

Apart from creating Wantok, Fr Mihalic, who died in 2001, wrote the Tok Pisin dictionary for PNG, translated the Constitution into Tok Pisin, wrote 30 books and educated some of the top journalists in the country today.

Source: Pacific Scoop.  Henry Yamo from the Southern Highlands is a postgraduate communication studies student at AUT University.  Photo: Media academic Dr Philip Cass with the popular comic character Phantom as published in Wantok

Business law changes to improve investment

THE INTERNATIONAL Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, and Papua New Guinea’s Investment Promotion Agency are to consider changes to PNG’s business laws.

IFC has been advising the Investment Promotion Agency on reforming laws relating to business startup and operation.

The proposed changes include streamlining business-startup procedures and improving corporate-governance regulation. These changes will protect shareholders, improve transparency, and clarify the regulatory authority of the company registrar.

“IFC has brought international experience and know-how to support our business-laws reform efforts,” said Ivan Pomaleu, managing director of the Investment Promotion Agency.

“These changes will make business registration more accessible and efficient, simplify the steps needed to do business in PNG, and improve the regulation of companies.”

The changes also will enable the Investment Promotion Agency to introduce, with IFC’s support, a web-based business registry to simplify the registration process for business owners.

IFC’s work in improving the investment climate in PNG is supported by the governments of Australia, Japan and New Zealand

Source: The Financial

Pacific public broadcasters seek foreign aid


A GROUP OF public broadcasters in the South Pacific have joined forces with a key aim of coordinating their requests for foreign aid.

The Pacific Association of Public Service Broadcasters was set up in July at a meeting in Vanuatu and brings together NBC Papua New Guinea, SIBC Solomon Islands, TBC Tonga and VBTC Vanuatu.

One of their main objectives is to collaborate on requests to foreign countries and aid agencies for money to fund digital broadcasting, new equipment, staff training, infrastructure and much more.

All four broadcasters are facing increased competition from local commercial stations and losing market share. They have started their efforts by signing a Friendship and Cooperation Agreement, and are now drafting the constitution, regulations and policies of their new organisation.

“The challenges faced by the four broadcasters reflect those of fellow public service broadcasters in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA, where tough economic conditions have already frozen or reduced budgets” says Radio Heritage Foundation chairman, David Ricquish.

“Expect their increased requests for foreign aid to be met by a closer look at their efficiency, their governance and whether or not their programs and services continue to meet contemporary listener expectations and needs” he added.

“Whether there remains a role for public broadcasters in these relatively small Pacific economies is a key issue.”  

Mr Ricquish said it’s good to see them taking a collective approach to these challenges, and take responsibility for their own futures.

Source: Radio Heritage Foundation

BSP says police fraud moves won’t work

PAPUA NEW GUINEA’s largest bank says new anti fraud rules planned by police could seriously hinder public service road, health and education projects.

Bank South Pacific’s chief executive officer, Ian Clyne, said that guidelines from the fraud squad’s Financial Intelligence Unit might be well-meaning but are unlikely to reduce fraud and will delay development and infrastructure projects.

Mr Clyne says banks will need to recruit a large number of lawyers, civil engineers and auditors to comply with the guidelines which is not their role.

He says he’s concerned about the lack of public debate on the police assertion that 25-40% of all government payments are defrauded.

Mr Clyne says it’s the responsibility of the auditor-general, attorney-general, government department secretaries and the ombudsman commission to ensure there is transparency and accountability in government transactions.

Source: Radio New Zealand International