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Welcome to Sunday Chronicle blogspot. Sunday Chronicle is a leading weekly newspaper in Papua New Guinea. It is a community oriented paper and highlights positive issues and developments of the week. We hope this medium of communication can keep you abreast of the happenings and events in the country and abroad.

Local News

This week's local news - July 18 - 21, 2013.



Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fiji mercenaries to be sent home

THE 14 Fijian men, who were allegedly employed as mercenaries at Simberi gold mine in New Ireland, are expected to be repatriated this week PAC news reports.

Two officials from the Fiji High Commission met the men at the Port Moresby International Airport upon their arrival on Wednesday from the Simberi mines in New Ireland, to check on their welfare.

Fiji's High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Niumaia Tabunakawai said the group was in good health.
The group was alleged to have breached immigration laws when they accepted employment for the mining company.

"This morning (Wednesday) two officers went to meet the group when they arrived from New Ireland," Mr Tabunakawai said.

"They have been taken in by Police and the Immigration Department is working on their repatriation on the next available flight to Fiji," he added.

The group is believed to be on a flight home this morning.

"They are doing well and we will let the law take its course (regarding the allegations)," Mr Tabunakawai said.
Immigration officials discovered that the men did not have work visas and cannot remain and work at the mine. Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister, Sam Abal said the Fijians entered the country on business visas. He said they had been engaged and carrying out work at the mine, but do not have work visas. "They have flouted their visa," he said.

Mr Abal expressed concern about the conduct of the mining company and the manner in which it recruited the Fijians.

"Companies must respect and honour the laws of this country.
"They must learn to live and deal with our people within the laws and accept our customs.
"Legitimate concerns raised by the people about the way they conduct business must be addressed through the proper process, not using heavy handed and intimidating tactics," he said.

Mr Abal described the visa breach as a serious matter that is being handled well by officials in his and other relevant government departments.

However, Allied Gold developer of the Simberi mine has rejected allegations in recent press reports relating to the hiring of Fijian mercenaries at the Simberi gold project.The firm says these allegations are totally misinformed.It says that while the company has engaged certain contractors/employees to assist it with security, none of these contractors/employees are mercenaries and all employees and consultants are engaged under official PNG Government issued legal visas.

The company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Simberi Gold Company, is authorized and has operated and continues to operate within the terms and conditions of its operating permits in PNG.The company says it has a policy of positively engaging with the various PNG Government departments and ministers to ensure they receive the accurate and factual information that they require.

Tiensten legally is out

By ROBERT PALME
TWO founding deputy party leaders in the ruling National Alliance party are officially out.
 

According to Joyce Grant of the party's national office, New Guinea Islands leader Paul Tiensten and Highlands Don Polye are no longer deputy leaders.

Ms Grant told this paper that Mr Tiensten was formally ousted by the executives that elected him as party leader while Mr Polye's position was left vacant when the National Court nullified his win.

She said the election of James Marape as Highlands's party leader was not on temporary basis as there is no such a thing provided in the party's constitution.

The party's general secretary said there was no casual vacancy but a vacancy with Mr Polye's win nullified by the court.

Meanwhile, she denied a push by Minister Arthur Somare for his father and Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to give him the party leadership.

Ms Grant said the party constitution does not allow that and the prime minister does not have the powers to do that.

She said everyone has their opinions but at the end of the day, the policies of the party will guide them into major decisions.

"There is no such a thing as handover party leadership... maybe this happens in other places," Ms Grant said.
The media reports by the Post-Courier on Thursday were misleading and most of it was false, Ms Grant told the Sunday Chronicle.

She said the party convention in Lae last week was Pangu Party's and not NA's and the paper reported on it.
A very disappointed woman said the reporter did not have the courtesy to call the party office and verify her story.

Ms Grant said the party as an institution has laws that govern it, reporters must qualify that stories and sources by calling the management or administrators of that institution.

Mr Somare in a statement said the Post-Courier was factually wrong as he was on leave and did not go to Wewak as the report said.

Both Ms Grant and Mr Somare said the ruling part did not have any convention in Lae.
Mr Somare said he is happy in his role as a Minister and has no intentions of seeking the role of the leader.

Parents urge Kapris to surrender

By BENNY SANDEKA
 
PARENTS of Papua New Guinea's most notorious criminal, William Kapris are appealing to him to surrender for his own safety.  

And police are seriously backing that call to ensure the man who has the bounty of K10, 000 on his head take his parents call seriously and avail himself as soon as practicable to ensure he is not killed in the bushes or suffer slowly because of infection on his sore.

"He must take heed of his parents appeal and come in voluntarily quickly. Police is his safety zone and he must take heed and come in," said NCD/Central Commander, Awan Sete.

"We know that he is injured and is nursing a sore.  If he does not voluntarily surrender, the infection might take a toll on him," police chief said. 

Kapris' parents are reportedly worried about his health and safety and want him to come out of his hiding place.

Police are working around the clock to establish whether it was really William Kapris who called NBC radio in Port Moresby this week asking the people of Papua New Guinea to forgive him for the crimes he has committed.  There are no clear leads as yet.

When Kapris and his fellow inmates dashed for freedom in a well orchestrated Hollywood movie style escape, their run for freedom sparked nationwide outrage and brought to light many issues affecting the Correctional Services. But the tides are slowly shifting. Instead of outrage, there is now sympathy among a cross section of the society following reports that Kapris may not be the 'big fish' in the Kerema and Madang bank heists in 2008.

There are reports that other people in the upper echelons of PNG society must have 'used' him to carry out the daring robberies.

Meanwhile NCD/Central Commander, Awan Sete dispelled suggestions that police in NCD are at loggerheads with headquarters.

"There is no conflict. We just re-organised our resource allocation so that normal city operations are not affected in the operations. NCD will have its own set up," said Mr. Sete.

Frieda miner will not dump waste into Sepik River

By YEHIURA HRIEHWAZI - freelance reporter

SWISS mining giant, Xstrata Plc, says it will not dump mine waste into the Sepik River system from its Frieda River  gold and copper mine when it begins production in 2017.

This welcome announcement is a big shift away from the traditional riverine tailings and waste disposal systems by mining companies in PNG. Ok Tedi, Porgera and Tolukuma dump treated tailings into river systems much to the dislike of impact communities and environmental groups but supported by the PNG government that monitors and ensures WHO standards of toxicity, or otherwise, are maintained in river systems where the waste are neutralized before disposal.

Being a Swiss company where its government and people are totally opposed to environmental degradation, Xstrata will not go down that path. The Swiss and the Scandinavian countries like Finland, Norway and Sweden are so stringent on adhering to such principles and ethics that only last year, Norway expelled Barrick Gold  from one of its large financial institutions because it operates the Porgera gold mine which dumps treated tailings into  the Strickland River system.

Xstrata and junior partner Highlands Gold Ltd last week announced a big increase in their gold and copper deposits at Frieda River licence in Sandaun province.

They said a pre-feasibility study is expected to be completed by in the third quarter of this year with construction to commence in 2012 and production in 2017. This is good news for the 3500 Ok Tedi employees who could be easily absorbed into Frieda when the Mt Fubilan operation just south of Frieda closes in 2013, if it's not extended to 2020.

Frieda's general manager Mr Dugie Wilson told a radio Australia (ABC) program that Frieda's expected mine life is 20 years and will almost double amount of ore intake in the processing mills. Ok Tedi crushes 23 million tonnes of ore annually while Frieda will process 40 million tonnes.

Mr Wilson said that makes Frieda River project one of the top 10 Greenfield mines in the world.

"We have done a lot of additional drilling which is then not only lifted the size of the resource, but I have confidence in how the copper mineralisation is actually distributed," he said.

Quizzed on the company's environmental and waste management system, Mr Wilson said the company believed strongly in environmental sustainability.

"We would not build a project which resulted in tailings being dumped in the river. Xstrata just would not be there," he said.

Asked if Xstrata was considering a new way of waste management apart from the traditional riverine disposal he said: "Well certainly, as I said, Xstrata will not build a project which dumps tailings into the river.

" We have a design which is being developed of how we will actually store the waste rock and also the tailings. I mean both of them are significant challenges, but we think that we have some answers there as a risk mitigation that we are through the studies carrying more than one option, so that then if we start finding that we are entering a blind alley and that we see some technical difficulties with a particular option, that we have still got others. So we don't get forced into a place we don't want to be," he said.

Frieda River project is located at the headwaters of the Sepik River, north of Ok Tedi mine and 170km northwest of Porgera mine. It is a very remote location , one of the reasons why it was on the drawing board for 40 years until Xstrata took over the project in 2007 and fast-track exploration work to prove up the ore body and made commitments to its development.

Mr Wilson said  nearly 40 per cent of capital costs would be off site, " so you are potentially looking at pipelines to take concentrates to places where they can either be barged or put for loading into a coastal port, we're looking at airports, we're looking at either an on-site power station with a potential hydro-electric dam. Yes, there is a large amount which needs to be constructed before the project can start and what is very difficult is the fact that a lot of this infrastructure needs to be in place before you can actually start building the mine, so the construction period is longer than you would expect to find elsewhere."

In terms of jobs and revenue to PNG, Mr Wilson said lately there has been a lot of focus on the LNG projects but Frieda will have positive impact on some of the most rural, isolated and poor communities.

"One of the things which has occurred in PNG is an absolute focus on LNG and where we see Frieda having a major impact and why we have spent a lot of time, with the project for the last three years and a lot of that is focusing on speaking to provincial government to get regional development plans aligned. So the impact on PNG is certainly going to pale into insignificance compared to these major gas projects. But if you start talking about some of the poorest regions and the most undeveloped regions of PNG along that north coast, that's really where the real positive impact will be," he said.

Yama alleges 'white collar' crime

FORMER politician and businessman Peter Yama told reporters this week that he is fighting an alleged systemically executed "white collar crime" and that he would not rest until the truth comes out.

Court documents show that a fixed floating charge (Form 24) was signed by someone who was not the director of Bank South Pacific then.

Mr Yama is fighting BSP which has failed to pay a judgment debt of nearly K7.6 million plus interest and cost that a National Court and two Supreme Court decisions have upheld since Dec last year.

Mr Yama in condemning the actions of certain lawyers, accountants and bank officials said he started fighting this case 10 years ago and he will not give up now when the highest court of the land has ruled his way.

"The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land, it is the last place you can go to. If they undermine the Court, then they should file new proceedings," Mr Yama said.

He alleged that lawyers, bank officials and accountants were trying to force him into bankruptcy but he won the case which he has been fighting with Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited.

Yama Security Services (YSS), a subsidiary of the Yama Group of Companies, had successfully taken out a claim against MVIL to pay the judgment debt owed for a breach of contract in Jan 1999. YSS is one of PNG's pioneer security companies. The other one is Debesa. Both were formed in 1980.

Mr Yama also challenged foreign media reports that tugs were used in threatening lawyers to come out and identify individuals and or people involved.

Mr Yama, when distancing himself from such claims, questioned where the foreign media got hold of this information when the local police and media were not aware of them.

"The matter is as good as dead. The law itself is getting them. It's got nothing to do with me. There are no such things as threats. We respect the rule of law," he said.

Meanwhile, an affidavit signed by the deputy registrar of companies Alex Tongayu and registered in June last year reads in part: "The signing of the charges and the prescribed form 24 by Mr Garth McIllwain as director of Bank South Pacific Limited on the 6th May 1999 is confusing as it does not make any sense at all, as will be seen in the paragraphs elsewhere below, Garth McIllwain was never a director of PNGBC on or about the 6th May 1999."

He also said that the alleged charges against the Yama Group were not recorded with the registrar of companies as is mandatory and within the specific time frame.

"The above actions by Mr Garth McIllawain is not proper under the Companies Act 1997. The conduct appears to be a provision of falsified and incorrect documents to the Registrar to falsify or otherwise alter the records of Niesenal No.77 Limited, Yama Securities Services Limited and Smugglers Inn Resort Limited held at the Registrar of Companies office," Mr Tongayu said.

Meanwhile, MVIL chief Dr John Mua and PNG Law Society president Kerenga Kua have successfully taken out National Court orders that they be granted leave to apply for judicial review of the decision of Waigani District Court magistrate Fred Tomo made on Jan 15, 2010 to issue warrants of arrest of the two alleging that they conspired together and with John Maddison, Robin Flemming, Mary Joans, and James Kruse to defeat the course of justice by defying a legitimate Supreme Court order of 2000 in ordering Motor Vehicles Insurance Ltd to pay Yama Security Services an amount of K7,303,115.85 but instead the said moneys were diverted to Deloilte Touch Tohmatsu as an agent of Bank of South Pacific Ltd.

The court also ordered that an order be issued to stay the magistrate's decision of Jan 15, 2010, until determination of the substantive proceedings.

Watermelon kids


IT'S the time of the year when watermelon becomes bountiful in numbers in the Abau area.  These children who are from the Paiva family at the Manabo rubber block 245 at Moreguina could not resist having a bite off the juicy fresh delicacy r harvested by their mums.

HR Company Formed

By EDDIE MOSES

TEN Landowner Organizations in the Southern Highlands have collaborated in the formation of a human resources company.

The Mendi based company named as Highlands Labor Market Centre will be the preferred employment agents for the landowner organizations involved in the LNG project.

A few of the landowner organizations who are involved in the establishment of the HR company are Hides JPPK; Komo Dai Holdings; Souths Security Services (Komo-SHP); Iagifu landowners of Kaivu village-Lake Kutubu; Mananda PDL2; Hiwa Hides Resource Owners of Hides Block 1&2; Paialia Hale Resource Owners Association-Moran PDL5 and Landowners of Angore-Komo.

Andrew Moria, Manager of Highlands Labor Market Centre, in a prepared statement, contends that his company is the only Labor Department licensed employment agent to operate in the Southern Highlands Province.

He states that the LNG Project Developers' use of JDA Wokman Ltd as an employment agent in the province has been disputed and if the developers wish his company can be used in that capacity as their license No: 1180 covers the Southern Highlands.

Mr Moria cited a copy of a letter dated October 27, 2009, from the acting Manager of the National Employment Division of the Labor Department to the HR Manager of Exxon Mobil, which states in part, "..I strongly recommend to your company that any illegal company or agents without an Employment Agents License wishing to operate on similar activities may not be authorized to carry out activities in the town or province." 

Mr Moria claims the LNG project developers should now look to his company for their Employee requirements.

Mr Moria and other founding directors of the company are currently in Port Moresby to negotiate a joint venture with Pacific HR company so as to meet ExxonMobil's Local Business Development criteria.

He states that the Management of the Pacific HR Company has given them the green light to join hands and participate in the LNG Project. An agreement between the two companies is imminent.

Moria further states that the Mendi Vocational Technical School has been involved as the company's training institute where school leavers will be trained to meet potential employers' requirements.

He states that his company will be playing a major role in focusing human resource management on managing people within the employer employee relationship. "Specifically it involves the productive utilization of people in achieving the organization's objectives and the satisfaction of individual employee needs. Furthermore, the LNG Developers' effectiveness and efficiency will depend on effective and strategic human resource management."

Poor provinces better spenders


BY ROBERT PALME

 
POOR provinces are better in spending than the rich provinces.

Chairman and chief executive officer of the National Economical and Fiscal Commission Dr Nao Badu, speaking at the launching of the 2008 Provincial Expenditure Review said poor provinces seem to give priority where it is due while rich provinces do the contrary.

Supported by graphs, Dr Badu showed that six higher funded provinces accounted for 70 per cent of the administration increases while priority areas like health, village courts, agriculture and infrastructure declined in 2008.

The publication on the review says, "Some provinces showed levels of spending on MTDS (medium term development strategy) priority sectors compared to previous years. These include Enga, Gulf, Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands."

Positive spending provinces include Central, Milne Bay, East Sepik and Saundaun while improvements were made in Western, Southern Highlands and New Ireland provinces.

The review also says lower funded provinces have increased funding being targeted towards health and agriculture while the higher funded provinces have the ability to do better but they have not been adequately funding priority sectors.

The review in expenditures 2008 by provincial governments called Walking the Talk says there is a funding gap that can only be addressed by provinces choosing to spend the amount required on priority areas which may mean reducing spending in one area such as casual wages and projects and redirecting to such as areas as health.

PDL 2 Landowners dispute payments of MOA Funds to Juha and Angore

By BENNY SANDEKA

A LEADER of the oil and gas rich Southern Highlands Province is calling on the Prime Minister and Minister for Petroleum and Energy to work with umbrella associations of the respective landowner groups in both Southern Highlands and Gulf Provinces as per the 2007 Expenditure Implementation Committee (EIC) recommendation and not directly with any other companies "on the streets."

Landowner Leader of PDL 2 (South East Mananda) Himari Kipili, made this call following the emergence of a list naming more than 40 companies whose names appeared in a letter purportedly signed by the Prime Minister recognizing them to be paid under the Expenditure Implementation Committee of the Oil and Gas Act.

"We want to know if a letter dated 28th December 2008 bearing the signature of the Prime Minister and addressed to National Planning Minister, Paul Tiensten to release more K175 million is truly from the Prime Minister's office," Mr. Kipili said.

Mr. Kipili said if the letter is really signed by the Prime Minister, then he will be misleading the landowners and other stakeholders as there has not been any EIC meeting since 2007. The last EIC then has only 23 groups that have been recommended to receive MOA Funds. And he has warned those in hierarchy to work together with umbrella associations instead of individual companies.

Under a 2007 MOA Agreement, funds for project impacted areas in Gulf and Southern Highlands are to be channeled through the umbrella associations. Each incorporated land group within the project area then makes their submissions through the umbrella associations for funding.

But the current arrangement where different companies are making direct representation to the Prime Minister and the National Planning Minister to release K175.7 million to them (the companies on the list) has irked the landowners of PDL 2.

"Most of the projects listed in the letter relate to companies from Angore and Juha," Mr. Kipili said. 
"Angore and Juha landowners are not entitled to the MOA Project funds.  They are only entitled to seed funding and therefore, I believe the Prime Minister is either misled or his signature is forged," said Mr. Kipili.

Mr. Kipili wants the office of the Prime Minister to verify and confirm the contents of the letter before huge sums of money end up in the wrong hands.

Dad sells son for K1,500

By ROBERT PALME
AN eight month old baby has been sold by an alcohol and drug addict father for K1500.
And the baby has now been living with his new parents for the last two and half months allegedly in the Porgera area of Enga province.


The mother of the child Jennifer Gideon, who is the breadwinner for the family, told this paper that her husband has confessed to selling his son and has since regretted his actions.

Mrs Gidoen, who seemingly wanted to be on the defence of her husband's actions, said he was at the wrong place at the wrong time and that her husband did not mean to sell their eight-month-old son.

However, on the contrary, she said when she first asked her husband where the son was, he gave her a runaround and later he did the same to the police when she reported the matter.

He initially said the baby was with his aunt at Korobosea and later at Konedobu and when the police found out that he was lying, they pressured him to tell the truth and that was when he confessed to the sale.

Mrs Gideon, who still uses her maiden name, said her husband told her that some people forced her husband with the son into a taxi and went straight to the airport. At the airport, they gave K1500 to the father of the child and took the baby into the terminal in the pretext of buying some diaper for him.

Mrs Gideon, who is a receptionist at the Young and Williams Lawyers, said she knows who has the child and named a couple allegedly from the Porgera area of the Enga province.

She said her alcohol and drug addict husband, Keith Richardson, is now prepared to change his life and become a Christian.

She believes the sale of their son was used by God as way to change the life of the husband.
Mrs Gideon said she forgave her husband and their marriage is intact but the important thing for them now is to get their son back at all cost.

Keith, who had been babysitting the two children, allegedly chose to sell his son on Oct 31, 2009 with the help of two others from the area.

Jennifer said Keith did not come home on Sunday with the son and she though that he was spending the night with the son at his sister's place as he sometimes did.

It was after work on Monday when she realized something was wrong and went to Keith's sister's house when she found him alone without the baby.

She said when she asked for the baby, Keith said: "Hei yu go ya, tumora bai mi kisim baby i kam (you go, I will take the baby home tomorrow)."

Jennifer said when she insisted, he was on the defensive and that was when she knew that something was wrong so she went to the police station that same evening and got him to confess.

She said she is willing to buy her son back and condemned the actions of the people that bought her son without her knowledge.

Spending in priority areas declines in provinces

By ROBERT PALME

PAPUA New Guinea is heading for disaster if spending on priority areas by provincial governments continues to decline.

And, one of the major concerns is the maintenance of transport infrastructure which can turn the country's roads into bushes followed by health and education sectors.

These gloomy pictures were drawn by the chairman and chief executive officer of the National Economical and Fiscal Commission Dr Nao Badu on Tuesday.

Speaking at the launching of the 2008 Provincial Expenditure Review, Dr Badu said he is worried for infrastructure as it is one of the priority areas.

 "Infrastructure is on the decline...people should be worried....five years on, if we continue on this trend, we will not have what we use to have.
"If four years is any indication on maintenance on roads, we are going back to the bushes. "In 10 to 20 years, we will be going back to the bushes," he told a packed conference room.

The CEO said, based on the expenditure on the recurrent budget, it looks "very very gloomy."
Dr Badu said the infrastructure spending by provinces is followed closely by health that he said is also worrying when it involves the lives of peoples and the working populace.

"If you spend peanuts, you get peanuts, if this is the amount spent on health, you should be scared," Dr Badu said.

On the contrary, spending on low priority areas increased with administration costs topping the list.
Diagrams showed, shows that spending on administration over the last four years is K80 million in 2008 while health in the same year received below K10 million.

The overall expenditure on health, education and agriculture in the four years increased by about K20 million while administration alone received nearly K38 million.

Dr Badu in his recommendations said spending on low priority areas will have to decrease while increases are made in the priority areas like health, education, agriculture and infrastructure.

A book to compliment Vision 2050 unpublished

By WATSON GABANA
 

A FORMER public servant needs money to publish a book which will complement the National Government's Vision 2050.

The struggling author and former teacher, Arnold Leo has been seeking financial assistance to publish a book about positive thinking and healthy living since he quit teaching in 1998.

Copies of the manuscript have been sent to an Indian company for publication but the author was told to pay K20, 000 for the work to be done.    Leo said that Governor General, Grand Chief Sir Paulus Matane went through the manuscript of his book titled, "The Art of Living in Papua New Guinea for Youths" and gave it to the CBC publishing company in India.  The publisher told Leo to pay K20, 000 before they (company) can start printing.  Since 2006, this Simbu and Engan man went looking for that money.

He said he envisioned that his book could be used as a tool to complement the Vision 2050.
"We are a nation of 800 tribes and to bring everybody together to realizing the 2050 vision is not practical.  My book when published would complement that great vision," Leo said. 
"I believe my book falls in line with the message that this initiative aims to achieve.  Therefore I need assistance to publish the book," Leo said.

The former teacher said that once the book is published, he would allow all members of parliament to order and distribute copies to all their electorates.

He said that the book will change the mindset of educated young Papua New Guineans to think as nationalists and work towards a better and healthier life.

"Every human person according to psychologists is divided into three parts...the body, mind and spirit," Leo said as he began describing the manuscripts of his book. 
"That is what I captured in this book," he continued.
"Know your knowing...uproot corruption...sow righteousness...accomplish your wildest dreams of success and prosperity," are some of the catch phrases that make up the manuscript.

The former Commerce and Arts teacher said that the book was prepared to motivate the educated and elite population to think about their individual roles in the communities, companies and government departments they work in.  He said it is worrying to see many people indulging into corrupt practices and the book aims to stop that. 

Culprits must pay for damaged pylons: Awesa

By HENZY YAKHAM

THE RECENT destruction of 24 electricity power pylons along the Angula River-Mendi section of the Highlands Highway by angry landowners over outstanding land compensation claims has been condemned by the Member for Imbongu Francis Awesa who also wants the culprits to pay for the damages.

Mr Awesa said he did not support the criminal actions and behavior of people who resorted to destroying vital public infrastructure and services including electricity power supply.

He expressed grave concern that the power outage had affected amoung others:
  • The use of five recently installed computers at Yombi Primary School at a cost of over K45,000. It was organised by a young engineer from the area John Kongri who successfully negotiated for New Zealand Government funding;
  • Two other community schools in the area;
  • Provision of vital health services at  Pokrapugl Health centre;
  • Churches and community based services; and
  • Others  including trading and small business.
Mr Awesa explained that PNG Power Limited had nothing to do with the landowner compensation claims and it was totally irresponsible for the landowners to take the law into their own hands and destroy important public assets.

Mr Awesa said as a result of such irresponsible and criminal action of hooligans, business houses in Mendi town and others lost thousands of kina.

"It is very stupid because the power supply destruction almost caused innocent lives of patients who were  on drip and other life-saving equipment at the Mendi General Hospital.

"It was sheer luck that the hospital standby generator was able to operate saving lives of many patients at the hospital," he explained.

Mr Awesa said as direct consequences of the illegal actions of a group of people millions of kina worth of property have been destroyed.

"We must not tolerate such behavior. People responsible have to pay for it. One way is for PNG Power to liaise directly with the Works Department to pay for the destroyed pylons before any land compensation is made for land claims.

"What is owed to the people should first go towards meeting the cost of the destroyed power pylons then the remainder can be paid to the people," he suggested.

As a token of commitment to restoring power supply, Mr Awesa moved quickly to get K150,000 from Ialibu Basin Local Level Government funds and gave PNG Power to restore electricity power supply through the route of the old highlands from Ialibu to Kumbame.

Mr Awesa also commended PNG Power Mendi Branch Manager Paul Gonapa for responding swiftly deciding in consultation with his superiors for the alternate Ialibu-Kumbame route.

The MP also urged to support the work of PNG Power staff to restoring electricity power supply with the minimum of delay so that business houses, schools, health services, churches and others can continue to operate.

Vailala group wants to meet Duma

By HILDEGARD F GANAK
UPNG Journalism Student


HELOUKA Loura landowners form the Vailala Purari area in Gulf are now calling upon the Minister for Petroleum and Energy to meet with them to formally discuss issues in regard of the Elk-Antelope project and other projects within their area.

Robin Lavuru, chairman of the Helouka Loura Land Association said his people the Ahia people are traditional landowners of the Wabo Area where the Elk and Antelope projects are located. He however claims DPE and InterOil have so far not included them in any Benefit Sharing Agreements (BSA's).

"The Governor of Gulf, DPE and InterOil only recognizes the Pawaea people who are currently settling on our traditional land and not us the traditional owners", said Mr. Lavuru. He said the Ahia people therefore want Minister Duma and their governor and other parties involved to meet at a given time to address this problem. He also said Minister Duma and the Governor of Gulf must clearly explain their benefits as traditional landowners.

In a letter submitted to Minister Duma, the Helouka Loura landowners made it clear that they are aware of other projects that are likely to commence in their area such as the Wabo hydro power project. The chairman Mr Lavuru wrote, "I am not naïve nor are we fools for we are mindful of the impact the Elk-Antelope will have on the lives of the Ahia people.

We have suffered much at the hands of Frontier Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of RH Group of companies for over 10 years of alleged illegal logging in the Vailala Purari timber project area with no real tangible development in place." He said learning from the Exxon Mobil led project in Southern Highlands, the Ahia people wish to avoid such activities and events at all costs.

Mr. Lavuru said the Ahia people therefore seek immediate attention to their demands which include the involvement of the Ahia and Ihu people in the consultative decision making, planning and the implementation of activities in the huge Elk-Antelope gas/oil project.

He said they also want all land ownership claims involving the Elk-Antelope project be properly identified and land boundary demarcation done between the Ahias, Pawaeas and the Iares of Baimuru. They further called for an increase in share equity for landowners as the current 2.5 percent is seen to be inadequate.

Count me in

National Govt launches Census 2010

By BENNY SANDEKA
 
THE NATIONAL Government will leave no stones unturned when it kicks off its fourth national census slated for July 11. 

And it is committing its resources and personnel from the national departments and line agencies down to the local level governments to ensure the most important event in this year's calendar is administered smoothly. 

"The National Government wants this exercise done and done properly," said government Chief Secretary, Manasupe Zurenoc when addressing Provincial Administrators and Provincial Census Coordinators prior to the launch of the Census 2010 in Port Moresby this week.

"This is a serious matter and the national government has thrown all its support behind this most important exercise. All of us bureaucrats from Waigani down to the local level governments must wake up and get our acts together to carry out this project," said the Chief Secretary.

"General Orders and other instructions will be issued to ensure every able bodied public servant is involved in this exercise," said the Chief Secretary.

"The national government has a very important agenda to reform the country's electoral system.  And it needs up-to-date information to implement this exercise before the 2012 National General Elections," the Chief Secretary said.

Mr Zurenuoc said the census is an important event for all levels of government as it will generate important data for planning and delivery of basic services to the populace of the country.

The Chief Secretary said, development planners and decision makers have been making decisions on guesswork or out of date data and it is imperative this census is done properly to dispel guesswork.

"General Orders will be issued to ensure all able bodies in all levels of governments must do their part," the Chief Secretary said.

The Chief Secretary came down hard on the Provincial Administrators and Provincial Census Officers as time is against the government to successfully carry out this task.  Unlike in the past where there is a two year lead period before the actual census is conducted, time will not be a luxury for those engaging in this year's census.

They have less than seven months to do everything necessary before the actual census begins on July 11.
People from the new Hela and Jiwaka provinces will be counted under their old provincial governments - the Southern Highlands and Western Highlands provinces respectively.

All set for Census 2010

By ROBROY CHICKI
 
THE NATIONAL Statistics Office (NSO) has been tasked and is already gearing up to count the number of heads in every household in the country. The 2010 National population and housing census will begin in July 2010.

About K700 million has been allocated by the National government to NSO to carry out the census. However, in doing so, each provincial administration in the country has been urged to work in partnership with the National Statistics office to accomplish this project.

This is according to Acting Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenouc when addressing provincial administrators and provincial census coordinators in a weeklong workshop in Port Moresby last week. He added that the 2010 population and housing censuses are important for the Government's vision 2050. He said the effective delivery of government goods and services will depend on the population of people in each region and thus this year's census is crucial for the government to know its total population.

According to the NSO, between 1980 and year 2000, Papua New Guinea's population increased by about two million and it is said to be growing very fast. Population figures indicate that Manus province was least populated with about 43, 000 people while the biggest population area in the country was Morobe province with about 500, 000 people.  NSO stated that that there had been a population increase of  one million every decade. This growth has been rapid and has led to land shortages in the country.

This aspect of population growth was revealed to provincial administrators and provincial census coordinators during a weeklong briefing in Port Moresby last week. The briefing was to prepare them for the coming 2010 census.

The population and housing census is to make the government and development partners aware of the number of people living in each region of the country so vital services are directed to them.

NSO sets out to re-base Consumer Prince Index

By BENNY SANDEKA
 
TRADE Unions and other workers unions throughout the country have been urged to ensure their members participate in a national Household Income Expenditure survey currently being conducted by the National Statistics Office.

The statistical data collected in the survey will assist the National Statistical Office to rebase the Consumer Prince Index and give a real picture of the living standards of the working class citizens of Papua New Guinea.

"This survey is very important for the unions in this country," said Francesca Tinabar, Acting Project Director of this survey.

"Union movements are asking for pay increase for their workers but there is not much statistical information or data available right now to back up their demand for wage increase," said Ms Tinabar.

Ms. Tinabar said, this is an opportunity for the Unions and as such, they are asking them to urge their members to cooperate with researchers of the National Statistical Office when they visit their members in their houses.

So far, those in the settlements are cooperating well with the researchers but working class citizens are reluctant to give the necessary information the researchers need.

When the Bank of PNG is calculating the Consumer Price Index, it is using the 1977 information as a base for its calculations.

Ms. Tinabar said, this information is too old and does not really reflect the cost of living in PNG today.  The statistical data obtain from the current survey will re-base the Consumer Prince Index to give a real picture of how poor or rich Papua New Guineans are.

There are many complaints by the trade unions in PNG that their workers pay does not match the prices of goods and services currently on the market. Until and unless this claim is quantified by statistical data, it would carry some weight for negotiations with the national government for wage adjustments.

Land Titles Commissioners sworn in

By ROBROY CHICKI
 
THE NEW land titles commissioners for the Ramu nickel project were sworn in at the Government House on Wednesday last week.

The commissioners, Justice Don Sawong, former Attorney General Michael Gene and Micah Pitpit  were appointed at the NEC Meeting No. 09/2009 to deal with the Ramu nickel/cobalt mine project area in Madang Province. A third commissioner will be sworn in later to replace Justice Don Sawong who has been sworn in as a judge in the National Court by Cabinet last year.

After the swearing in, Commissioner Michael Gene said they will commence work as soon as possible because there are more than 300 groups of people claiming to be landowners. Mr. Gene said after sourcing funds from the government, they would sort out administrative and logistics arrangements and start working on the affected area.

He said the Ramu nickel/cobalt project is important for the benefit of the country in terms of the economy and social developments.  He added one of the objectives is to give security to the landowners; therefore there must be some kind of rules to guide the proceedings on the benefit sharing agreements. He said claimants must come through the mediation process, which is sanctioned and they (landowners) have some user rights.

Apart from that they will have to meet with stakeholders whilst in Madang to solve some other outstanding issues so that the Ramu nickel project flows smoothly.

Mr. Gene said equity and royalty benefits must be signed up with legitimate identified landowners to avoid inconveniences to the state, developer and landowners. He said this is because currently some genuine landowners have been left out.

Kumbakor challenges coffee to lift production and bring more income

By GENO NAU-BUGA
ANOTHER politician has challenged the Coffee Industry to reorganize its priorities so it can break out of its low production and export more bags to pump in at least a billion kina into the national budget.

Acting Agriculture Minister Andrew Kumbakor says the coffee industry has been producing about a million bags taking in K400 million kina for far too long.

He urged the new Chief Executive Officer of the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), Navi Anis to start turning the governance and management around and boosting grower support and production to a new level. 

Mr Kumbakor said the governemnt expects so much from coffee and growers have made their expectations known more than adequately. He wants the caretaker board led by the Agriculture secretary to close the gaps, fix the missing links and take a proactive stand to produce the answers.

The acting Agriculture minister pointed out that a new CEO, an experienced coffee manager, must be the turning point.

He said he was ready to bring in more support for small growers on condition the board of directors and management guide the industry to show some good results in production volume, and export earnings.

Mr Kumbakor also thanked the former CIC CEO and popular coffee-man, Ricky Mitio who was at the helm of the industry for over 32 years.

Mixed reactions for census 2010

By BENNY SANDEKA

DRUMS are beating in East New Britain, New Ireland, Eastern Highlands, and Western Provinces as provincial administrators and Provincial Census Officers get down on their knuckles in preparation for the 2010 National Census. 

Provincial Administrators and Provincial Census Officers of these provinces said they are well and truly ready to take on census 2010 in their respective provinces.  Initial work has begun.

But the same cannot be said for Bougainville, Western Highlands, Oro and Morobe Provinces.
Bougainville is preparing for the ABG Elections which will be held around April. These elections will stretch out Autonomous Bougainville Government manpower and resources but the provincial administrator assured the National Census Committee that they will try their best to "shoot two birds with one stone."

In Western Highlands, burning down of the Kapal House is seriously affecting the administration of the province. All administrative functions are scattered around the provincial capital.  But the Administrator and his provincial census officers are confident they have experienced officers who can carry out the census well.
In Oro, the aftermath of Cyclone Guba is still haunting the provincial administration as major infrastructures have been badly affected to date cutting off access to the rural masses. They said they will need sufficient logistics to successfully carry out the census on time.

Morobe Province, the country's most highly populated province is always prone to natural disasters especially in the hinterlands. 

All other provinces have experienced census officials who have worked in previous national census and are confident of producing results.

Third islander's body found near Talasea

By PILA WASU

THE BODY of a young woman, believed to be one of six people that perished between Bali Island and the main New Britain island two weeks ago, was found in Talasea district on Wednesday morning.
This brings to three the number of bodies found in the mysterious incident wherein six people went missing two weeks ago.

The other three people - two children and a male nurse - are still missing and a search is still continuing in the Talasea Peninsular area.

West New Britain Provincial Police Commander Richard Mulou told Radio West New Britain that an old man on a fishing trip found the body of the young female after smelling a terrible odor from the decomposed body. 

He said the body was found some kilometers away from where the bodies of another female and a male were located previously. 

Mr Mulou said his men together with health and disaster officials involved in the search were called into the area to retrieve the body and take it to Kimbe Hospital for a post mortem.

He said the body of the young female from Valoka village in the Hoskins area had already decomposed and health officers and police had to wrap it in a plastic band and bring it to the hospital. 

The police commander said a forensic pathologist from Port Moresby was to have flown to Kimbe on Friday to conduct the post mortem to determine the cause of death.

While appealing to the people of Balivitu island and Buludava people of Talasea not to take the law into their own hands, Mr Mulou said the deaths may have resulted from an accident at sea.  The locality and the province generally has had bad weather in recent days.

He made the appeal after Balivity islanders squatting around Kimbe went on rampage last Saturday after hearing rumours that the six missing people were murdered by Buludava people.

Meanwhile, the Member for Talasea and deputy speaker of Parliament Francis Marus expressed sorrow and sympathy to the immediate families of the missing people.  He said the news of the missing persons reached him when he was on his way to the Pangu Pati convention in Lae.  He advised his officers to assist with the necessary logistics needed by the search party.

Mr Marus, up upon arriving from the party convention, met with the Balivitu community and also gave an undertaking to make arrangements for the burials.

Costigan to attend MVIL Driver Competition registration

By LEIGH BOIN

NRL STARS Neville Costigan and Paul Aiton have called for all PMV drivers to promptly register for the MVIL PMV Driver Competition once the registration period opens from 9 am Monday February 1, giving drivers a once in a lifetime chance to attend the 2010 NRL Grand Final.
 

And in a boost for the first day of registrations, St George Illawarra star forward Costigan will be in attendance as competition ambassador on Monday at MVIL's Port Moresby office.

"I am really looking forward the opportunity my involvement in the Road Safety campaign has presented," said Costigan.

"We know how important the NRL is to PNG and this competition is a great incentive for safe driving. I can't wait to witness day one firsthand and be involved with the first registering drivers."

While the beginning of the competition sees the introduction of speed radars and breathe testing units to PNG roads for the first time to enforce competition rules, testing and enforcement will not simply be limited to PMV drivers.

"In Australia these deterrents are part of our everyday life and I have strong belief their introduction now to PNG will make drivers consider the consequences of speeding and drink driving," said Costigan.

Both Costigan  and Aiton believe these measures are long overdue but understand that while it's easy to take safety on the roads for granted in countries like Australia, they concede PNG has a long way to go and urge the public and media understand the evolutionary process that needs to stem from this campaign. Both point to a need for police to remain strict and education from a young age as two areas where the evolution can begin.

Costigan was also very quick to point out the other major safety issue on PMVs nationwide - overloading - and shared his thoughts on the prospect of being a passenger.

"I'd rather walk," he said.

"All PMV drivers need to get registered. Get your players shirt and bus signs. And get responsible so passengers can begin to feel safe again."

Those PMV drivers interested are advised to register quickly from February 1 at any MVIL traffic registry office or MVIL agency. Licensed PMV drivers will need to complete the "NRL DRIVERS COMPETITION" entry form and provide their license to be eligible to register in the competition. The application period closes strictly on February 26

Revival Centres of PNG Church leaders near collision with former members

By BENNY SANDEKA
PASTORS and leaders of the Revival Centres of Papua New Guinea (RCPNG) church in Port Moresby almost clashed with their former church members last Sunday evening at Tokarara.

Led by their new Regional Pastor, Daniel Tounei and District Pastor, Michael Kuman, the pastors and leaders fronted up at Pastor Andrew Ningisere's house in huge numbers to demand Pastor Andrew Ningisere to release a church vehicle in his possession and the Port Moresby Church account.

When Pastor Ningisere told the leaders and pastors that they were "faceless cowboys and small boys" who have no contribution to the purchase of the church truck in question and demanded for Principal Pastor, Godrey Wippon and his senior pastors to come to his level, tempers flared among the RCPNG Pastors and leaders. District Pastor, Michael Kuman immediately reacted pointing fingers at the former members demanding an apology.

But Pastor Andrew maintained his position and called on Pastor Godfrey Wippon and his team of senior pastors who were responsible for the restructure of the Port Moresby Assembly of RCPNG to explain to him why his zone fellowship has been dismantled in the restructure. He told the Revival Centres of PNG pastors and leaders that somebody has to explain to him because the vehicle in question was purchased by church members in the zone that was dismantled and he was demoted to an assistant pastor.

"Somebody has to explain to me why I was demoted to an assistant pastor. What crimes have a committed to warrant the demotion?" asked Pastor Andrew, who has since resigned from the fellowship together with two other pastors over what they term was politicization of the Port Moresby fellowship.

The Revival Church in Port Moresby was dubbed by the Governor General as the fastest growing fellowship in Papua New Guinea with more than 4,000 worshippers attending every Sunday in Port Moresby alone.  However, after the restructure, the number of worshippers has dwindled to around 1,500.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Prison escapee or state witness



 - William Kapris (pictured above)  may become state witness against other master minders
- Police not to shoot to kill


WILLIAM Kapris, the man on the run after breaking out of Bomana maximum security outside Port Moresby may turn a state witness if a letter he purportedly wrote naming some high profile Papua New Guineans who aided him in masterminding the two bank robberies in Kerema and Madang in 2008 is verified. And the police are out in full force not to shoot-to-kill the man but capture him alive as he may assist them in their ongoing investigations into these two high profile robberies.

Details of his letter are sketchy at the moment but correctional officers said Kapris was angry as to why he should suffer in jail while people who are behind his thieving live a normal free life. He was reported to have named various high profile Papua New Guineans in that letter and called on the Police Commissioner to order his men to arrest those implicated. 

When asked about the details of the letter, a high ranking Correctional Services officer said: "I have heard of the existence of the letter. He wanted to give it to the judge at that time. But the judge told him to go through his lawyers."

But David Dataona, the lawyer handling Kapris case prior to his dash for freedom denied any knowledge of the existence of the letter. Mr. Dataona however said, in his communication with his client, Kapris has expressed frustration over his denial to see and talk to his family since 2008. 

Kapris was awaiting his further appearance in court in Feb when he and others dashed for freedom in broad daylight. Just like the day when he entered the Madang bank and made a clean sweep of millions of kina without any bloodshed, Kapris again made a clean dash for freedom without any bloodshed nor a shot being fired when he and his friends walked out of the maximum jail of the country's biggest jail. 

His escape has caused national outrage among business houses and law abiding citizen. Correctional Services Minister Tony Aimo has been suspended and Corrective Services Commissioner, Richard Sikani has been sidelined as a result.

Iokea celebrates day



IOKEA rejoices...Kerema MP Titus Pitom Bombom, Deputy Director of the Office of Rural Development Kelly Novuru and East Kerema LLG President Robert Kaiva carried to the ceremonial grounds for the launch of health vehicles at Iokea village on Wednesday.   Picture by JOE IVAHARIA.

Mercenaries threat



Story and photo by HENZY YAKHAM 

THE suspicious arrival of 14 hired Fijian mercenaries at Simberi Gold Mine in the New Ireland province earlier this month has raised serious security; immigration and work permit issue concerns.

Concerns to this effect were first raised by New Ireland Provincial Police Commander Tomonmon on Jan 8, 2010 in his brief to the Islands Regional Commander and police headquarters in Port Moresby.

Chief Superintendent Tomonmon warned the police hierarchy of threats of a private army being brought in to challenge landowners.

This followed the closure of Simberi mine last year (Nov/Dec 2009) by the Mineral resource Authority (MRA) over health, environmental and safety concerns.

During the closure, the Simberi Mining Area Association (SMAA) imposed traditional sanction (tambu) of "Gorgor" over ongoing disputes regarding a range of unsettled businesses and commitments with the Simberi mine management.

The Gorgor was removed on Jan 2, 2010 after SMAA and SGCL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

However, to the surprise of SMAA, police, local people and the New Ireland Provincial Government, seven Fijian mercenaries were flown directly into Simberi from Nadi, Fiji on Jan 4, 2009 by SGCL.

On Jan 7, 2009, another Fijian seven flown in raising grave concerns among the leaders, people and police.
On their arrival, they went to the police station on the island demanding police situation report and even checked the cell block.

The mercenaries since being carrying out patrols of rural communities, asking questions about the executives of SMAA, clan leaders and people who took part in the mine closure.

They have been seen drawing field sketches, taking notes, doing map studies and other intelligence work.
The brief also states that there is strong possibilities of the Fijian mercenaries brought in with fire arms, but have been hidden for use when situation arises.

"The faith of the mine company operating on Simberi should now be revisited. There will be more men coming in. We are no match to what they have and what they are capable of doing. They have the resources and the capability to do and carry out anything," Chief Superintendent Tomonmon's brief stressed.

"We should do away with such company who think they can reap our land and leave the people with nothing," he added.

The brief also states the mercenaries were "a threat to the people and the country" and their visa, employment and other details should be checked thoroughly.

On Jan 19, Governor of New Ireland Sir Julius Chan spoke out in support of the Simberi landowners and people with a blunt message for the mine developer to "get out of Simberi and New Ireland if you are not willing to consult, listen and negotiate amicably with local landowners".

A furious Sir Julius said if the developer deliberately refused to comply with the conditions of its engagement and does not want to work and operate in harmony with the local people in the mine area, the company should leave.

"If they are not willing to listen to my people's concerns, they can pack up, get out and go somewhere else to operate because we will not allow dictatorial and arrogant people who use bullying tactics including employing private mercenaries to instill fear among the people to water down serious environmental, cultural and socio-economic issues affecting the local communities," Sir Julius stressed in a recent media conference at Parliament House.

He had earlier raised the concerns with Acting Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga and Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare's Chief of Staff Paul Bengo.

Sir Julius also spoke to the Fijian High Commissioner in Port Moresby, Niumaia Pabunakawai and suggested that he took the matter up as top priority with Foreign Minister Sam Abal for possible breaches of immigration and labour laws.

Mr Pabunakawai said the Fijian High Commission was concerned and had sent a diplomatic note to the Secretary for Foreign Affairs Michael Maue last week to establish dialogue and work together to resolve and  take appropriate action.

"We are also very concern and would want to work towards an early resolution of this matter," he said.
According to names of personnel obtained from SCGL e-mail manifest, the foreign mercenaries of Fijian origin are:
First batch of Jan 4, 2010:
Samesa Bilo Naga
Tanarusa Bosevou
Sitiveni Koya Naitini
Rata Josaia Ravonu
Asivorisi Jiare Lalakai
Jacalevu Batisaveve
Lowane Manasau
Second batch of Jan 7, 2010:
Sakarai Vatuturangani
Petoro Tambua Lailai
Samuel Tabua
Josesa Salu
Jowarie Serunitau
Paula Biutu
Towake Cama.

Sir Julius (pictured above) wants the developer – Allied Gold out of Simberi, New Ireland and PNG if it does not want to listen and work peacefully with local people and authorities in the country.

He called on the company boss Mark Caruso that the kind of attitude portrayed is unacceptable and urged the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) to deal with the situation or face forceful mine closure by the local people.

Meanwhile, this paper understands several government officials and senior executives from the MRA are currently in Kavieng and will be traveling to Simberi this week on a fact finding mission.

K30 million insufficient-Polye

By EDDIE MOSES
THE 2010 Budgetary Allocation of K30 million for routine maintenance of roads in the country has been described as absurd.

Re-elected Kandep MP and Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation, Don Polye, vehemently decried the Government's continuous underfunding of road maintenance programs, in light of the horrific road accident in the Markham Valley last Tuesday which left 42 dead.

Media reports claim two 25 seater PMV buses, in their attempt to avoid a pothole while both were travelling at high speed, fatally smashed into each other leaving broken bodies strewn on the roadside and hanging out of the buses.

A visibly distraught Mr. Polye told a media conference on Monday this week that no country in the world continues to fund new infrastructure development without allocating funding for routine maintenance of existing infrastructure." The budgetary allocation is absurd. K30 million cannot give me expected level of maintenance. We need over K300 million for basic routine maintenance," he said.

The Minister said the Department of Works had over 10, 000 km of roads to maintain with 2000kms of these listed as priority. "In fact last Tuesday's fatal accident occurred on one of the roads listed as needing priority maintenance," he said.

The Kandep MP asserted that a submission would be made to Cabinet for additional funding for road maintenance. "I will fight tooth and nail to get that funding," he promised.

Adding to these, Polye stressed that the number one factor in preventing road accidents are the drivers of this country as the first responsibility starts with the human factor. He said that common sense must be used at all times as the human factor very much determined most of the road accidents in this country.

He stated the other two factors, Road worthiness and mechanical soundness of the vehicles and the conditions of the roads themselves were common sense issues that could be resolved with care, maintenance and adequate funding.

The Minister further conveyed the Government and his Ministry's sympathy and condolences to the families of the deceased.

Psycological findings to help reduce poverty

By HILDEGARD F GANAK UPNG Journalism Student

New data from cutting edge research have shown that poverty reduction in developing countries cannot be achieved without first resolving issues affecting workers in organizations.
 

Leo Marai, a Psychology Research Academic at the University of Papua New Guinea and a leading scholar of psychology in Oceania says workers' psychological issues must be resolved so they can perform competently in their organization and contribute to development which will in turn help reduce poverty.

Mr. Marai, who is also a coordinator of the international research project 'Are Development Discrepancies Undermining Performance (ADDUP)?' said results from experimental tests on workers from aid administering agencies in six developing countries have shown that salary differences among locals and expatriates affects a worker's motivation and performance. 

He said local workers may feel inferior or think there is racism because they share the same position or qualification. Mr. Marai said such pay inequalities have a double de-motivating impact on employees affecting both locals and expatriates.

He said low motivation affects work efficiency of employees and in turn they do not perform to their best whilst in the case of aid workers, they will not be able to fully execute their duties and responsibilities in administering aid. Mr. Marai said aid effectiveness can be achieved if human factors such as pay inequalities are resolved.

He said for too long strategies of reducing poverty have been based on economical and political views but now research has shown that the problem is also psychological.

The project 'Are Development Discrepancies undermining Performance?' or ADDUP is a breakthrough research which links poverty and psychology.

Mr. Marai said Data and findings from the research have already been compiled and ADDUP will launch its journal in July this year in Melbourne at the International Journal of Psychology Forum. He said the findings complements the PNG Government's Vision 2050 in aligning salaries.

He said from the journal, the government should be able to incorporate the findings and develop and implement policies that will execute a fair and equal pay system and enable aid effectiveness in reducing poverty.

ADDUP is a three year project jointly funded by the Economic Social Research Council of UK and the International Development Ministry of the British Government.  Headed by Professor of Psychology Stewart Carr of Massey University, New Zealand, ADDUP was conducted in six developing countries including PNG, Solomon Islands, China, India, Malawi and Uganda.

Kaguan Folklore


CALLING on the Supreme Being the Kagua way...An actor in the dramatisation of ancient Kaguan folklore  Calling to The Supreme Spirit(God) for blessings before the advent of Christianity. This drama was performed  during a combined Church service at Muniputi, Kagua last week.  Picture by EDDIE MOSES

Wrongfully accused seeks justice


Left - Kewa Papiango showing headline story about protecting the welfare of the members of the Public Employees Association.



By ABBIE COLLACO

KEWA Papiango, a former assets manager of Papua New Guinea Institute of Public Administration (PNGIPA), was illegally charged with misappropriation and official corruption as a public servant.

But even after he was cleared by the court of all the charges on Oct 16, 2009, PNGIPA could not reinstate him.

He said on June 10, 2009, the management of PNGIPA signed his suspension for misappropriating a sum of K5069 and the suspension took effect on June 5, 2009.

He said the suspension became null and void because departmental head who effected the signing of the suspension on June 5, was already appointed the head of another department on June 3, 2009.

He said he was arrested without police and PNGIPA carrying out a thorough investigation and without following the correct procedures of the General Orders as stipulated in Section 10.3.

He said the officer who actioned his suspension was acting on the position as a director which contradicts section 10.3 of the General Orders.

He said the section stipulates that an acting director on relief basis shall not exercise any disciplinary powers unless he or she is formerly appointed by the Head of State.

Papiango said after two weeks of questioning by police, he was arrested and was later released on K500 bail on the same day on June 30.

He knew that he was wrongly accused of misappropriating K5, 069. 60 belonging to the PNGIPA account with a hardware shop in Waigani.

He said after months of thorough investigations, he found that the money that went missing was a mistake made by the hardware shop in Waigani with its headquarters downtown Port Moresby.
He said without the knowledge of PNGIPA, an amount of K1238.84 was invoiced to Kokopo and the balance was entered into a ledger.

On May 8, 2009, there was an advice from the headquarters of the hardware shop informing him that an error occurred and that it was corrected to show the balance of K1238.84 and a cheque of K1238. 84 was raised to the hardware shop in Waigani.

The shop confirmed to Papiango on July 7, July 2009 that the error was corrected and completed with the outstanding balance of K5069.60 deposited into the PNGIPA account held at the shop.

He said the court has reinstated him to his position as assets manager. He said the acting director wrote to him and requested him to immediately report for duties on Nov 9, 2009, but when he enquired with the registrar, he was given a notice from the acting director, banning him from entering the PNGIPA premises as of the date he sighted the notice until the police investigations were completed.

Papiango said he is caught in the middle because the police had failed in their investigations and the institute had also failed to provide documents to substantiate its allegations against him.

He said his legal council wrote to PNGIPA regarding the ban after he was cleared by the court on Oct 16, 2009, but this also fell on deaf ears.

He called on relevant authorities including the Public Employees Association to see that qualified and competent CEOs are placed in high officers, the Ombudsman Commission to investigate the acting director under the leadership code.


He also called on Minister and Secretary of the Department of Personal Management to look into the operations of the PNGIPA.

Rain causes havoc in West New Britain

By PILA WASU

TWO people are reportedly missing in the Cenaka area and an old man was covered by a massive landslide caused by heavy rain and more than 120,000 people in Bialla district have been cut from reaching Kimbe after the Yamule river bursts its banks causing its flows to a different direction and this has also forced traffic to come to a halt.

People bound to Kimbe were forced to turn back and trucks were stranded on either sides of the river.
And in the Hoskins area traffic was forced to stop on either side for more than eight hours after the Koo Creek overflooded the bridge with debris blocking off the bridge. 

In Kimbe town, two houses with live stock including five pigs, 24 chickens and food gardens were completely washed away by the San Remo Creek and this number is expected to increase as heavy down pour continues in the province.

An inspection by this reporter yesterday afternoon at different parts of the town and Hoskins areas confirmed that most of the houses were covered with water and residents were forced to move their households to safe locations.

Two local leaders from the Cenaka area in the Bialla district told reported that two elderly couple did not return home on Sunday afternoon and a search party was organized and send to the bush help locate them.
Leaders Boas Mateo and John Kaule said the couple had gone to their garden on the other side of Bilomi river but did not return home that afternoon. They said the party would not do much as the river was muddy and flooded. "If the couple do not return today (Tuesday) then we will know that they may have been drown" the leaders said.

This would not be confirmed by the disasters officials, as they were yet to get reports from the people on the ground. When connected to this paper, an officer who wish to remain anonymous said they were yet to get reports from the area and would not confirm how many human lives were lost, he said a lot of damage has been done by the rain in the last couple of days and they were working around the clock to establish some  figures, only then the media will be informed, he said.

Meanwhile six people including two children were reported missing between Bali island and Bulu Dava in the Talasea area. A man identified only as Benjamin from Buludava told this paper that two dead bodies of a male and a female were found near Buludava beach. He said the body of the male was washed offshore to the beach while the female body was drifted on the boat.

Benjamin said four others including the two children are still missing and a search party has been dispatched to the area. The two bodies have been brought to the Kimbe General Hospital and a post mortem will be conducted to verify the cause of their death.

Vanimo has new chief magistrate

VANIMO-based principal magistrate Jack August in the new Chief Magistrate, taking over from John Numapo.

Mr August's appointment was gazetted on January 15 this year after it was finalized by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission toward the end of 2009.

By close of business on Thursday this week, the former Chief Magistrate and only a few of his headquarters staff were shown official documentation on the new appointment.

Instructions issued by the Chief Magistrate designate were dispatched from Vanimo through certain emissaries who "raided" the grounds of the Magisterial Services headquarters at Paga Hill in downtown Port Moresby.
With exchanges of a few pleasantries, surprised though, the few doubt stricken officers were told that it was official that the country has a new Chief Magistrate.

A delegation of senior magistrates flew in to Port Moresby over the weekend from around the country to ensure that their new Chief Magistrate is ushered in, and settled onto his new job.

Tomorrow, Monday January 25, the country's new Chief Magistrate would commence duties, ending weeks of speculation, and bringing in an air of relief, according to this group of magistrate in flew into Port Moresby ahead of their new chief.

The formalizing of the appointment would also bring a sense of stability and certainty to this important arm of government, they said. 

Behind the scene activities in the last two weeks had had the potential to ridicule, if not undermine the credibility of the judiciary, especially the magisterial services.

Two weeks ago there was a law suit instituted by an aggrieved party over the decision of Judicial and Legal Services Commission of the appointment of the new Chief Magistrate. However, with the publication of the gazettal notice, the battle through the courts to withhold pronouncement of the appointment of the Chief Magistrate may now appear to be history.

East Kerema Rural LLG gets support through DSIP funds

By JOE IVAHARIA

PRESIDENT of East Kerema Rural Local Level Government, Robert Paiva has commended the National Government for introducing the District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) which is slowly seeing results going to people in rural areas.

He made the comments at Iokea village on Thursday this week while receiving for his people an ambulance and two dinghies and outboard motors which will also serve as water ambulances while also witnessing the opening of a village courthouse.

Funds for the ambulances (K170,000) and the building of the village courthouse (K26,000) were sourced through the DSIP funds by local MP, Titus Pitom Bombom who is the Member for Kerema and Chairman of the Kerema JDP&BPC. The funds are facilitated through the Office of Rural Development.

Mr Paiva, when welcoming guests which included Kerema MP Titus Bombom, ORD Deputy Director Kelly Novuru and his senior managers and staff members to Iokea village, told his people that it was a special day for them because the three levels of government; local, provincial and national, have seen the struggle the people were facing in the rural areas and were doing their best in delivering basic health services.

He said the East Kerema RLLG under his presidency is focused on doing its best to deliver basic services in health, education and law and order, however it will need the continuous support of the Provincial and National Government to fulfill the needs of the people.

Mr Paiva said that East Kerema RLLG has two health centres, two sub-health centres and two aid posts providing health services to the people.

However, these establishments do not have transport to transfer referral patients or use during emergency so East Kerema RLLG decided to provide an ambulance to Moru Health Centre to serve the people of Iokea, Miaru, Lese Avihara, Lese Kovora and the five villages of Sepoe.

The RLLG has provided a river ambulance for villages in Popo ward and a sea ambulance for villages in Sepoe ward.

However, the existing health facilities are not enough.
“I call on the Gulf Provincial Government to consider putting up aid posts at Popo, Sepoe and Lelefiru council wards,” Mr Paiva said.

He because these wards do not have health services, the people of Lelefiru have to travel to Koaru health centre.  The people of Popo villages have to paddle to Kapure bridge to get on the first vehicle to Lese Oalai sub health centre, Terapo Health Centre or Malalaua Health Center for services while people of Sepoe village travel to Moru health centre. 

“These are sad situations and I ask the Gulf Provincial Government to consider my request to put an aid post each for the people of Lelefiru, Popo and the five villages of Sepoe.
At the opening of the courthouse, Mr Paiva said village court officials within the province and in the country play a very important role in maintaining law and order at the grass root level where the bulk of the population is.

“However, nobody cares about the hardships and the struggle they face in executing their duties and responsibilities,” Mr Paiva said.

He said village court officials do not have transport and proper venues to hear their cases.
“These are some of the realities faced by the village courts in Gulf province and the nation,” Mr Paiva said.

“That is why I decided to provide my council ward a court building, a place where the village court officials can hear cases and conduct all matters relating to law and order within the community.”

He said during his term as councilor for Iokea Ward and President of East Kerema Rural LLG, he will continue to fight for what is due to the people.

Landowners want DPE to explain LNG agreement

By HILDEGARD F GANAK UPNG Journalism Student
 
LANDOWNERS from Honaga village of Komo Margarima in the Southern Highlands Province are now calling upon the Department of Petroleum and Energy to reveal the benefits contained in the LNG agreement signed last year.

The Awatangi, Koari and Neango LNG pipeline owners during a meeting on Tuesday said they do not know the benefits contained in the LNG agreement signed between the state and the project developers and demanded that the Department of Petroleum and Energy explain to them whether benefits in the agreement covered the landowners, Hela or Southern Highlands as a whole. They said DPE and Exxon Mobile must first answer their queries and clarify the benefits in order to enable the smooth running of the project.

The group's Chairman Moses Hella said the landowners and their people are confused as they were not informed of what was included in the agreement. "We want the Department of Petroleum and Energy and Exxon Mobile to meet with us the landowners and explain to us if our benefits were included in the agreement so that we can go back and tell our people", he said.

Mr. Hella claimed that they did not have any signatory in the Umbrella Benefit Sharing Agreement (UBSA) held in Kokopo as well as the License Based Benefit Sharing Agreement (LBBSA) at Angore, Southern Highlands Province. He said this was due to complications and delay of the events. The group alleged that there are also outstanding allowances owed to them by DPE during the signing of the UBSA and LBBSA and demanded that the money be paid to them.

They also request that seed capital contained in their MOA be paid to them and their people so they could start business and development in their area. The group further called upon DPE to provide free education for their children from elementary to Tertiary as they claimed DPE has promised to provide sponsorship for their school children.

Replace Independence Hill flag

Words and picture by HENZY YAKHAM


THE current wet season is greatly helping to make Port Moresby greener.
However, the down pours and strong westerly winds have created some problems, such as contributing to the fast wear and tear of the national flag at the Independence adjacent to the Parliament House.
Could authorities responsible kindly replace the flag with a new one?

Pictured top right - The National Flag at Independence Hill needs to be replaced.

PM's Department staff undergo Personal Viability training

By OMAE KOAKE

A TOTAL of 56 people received certificates during the 4th Person Viability Training Graduation ceremony held at the PNG Institute of Public Administration on Friday.

The graduates were 32 officers from the Office of the Prime Minister and 24 others who attended the two weeks training  through self-sponsorship. It is believed that the course is 'an act of self discovering the inner depths of our souls.'

The guest of honour and the Chairman of Taskforce - PNG Vision 2050, Professor David Kavanamur emphasized that the implementation of the PNG Vision 2050 starts from the PM's department and therefore the training is about training these officers to rediscover themselves and as a group, it is about redirection, conviction, faith and set goals and working principles in developing our nation together under the auspices of the PNG Vision 2050.

Professor Kavanamur said that in anything we do, we must follow set principles. "There are principles in science, religion, business, life, arts, politics, even the PNG Vision 2050 and any other things, and if we follow the set principles as required, we will succeed," said Professor  Kavanamur.

"Likewise, if our country dreams of achieving the PNGV 2050, we must collectively follow the principles stipulated in the vision plan."

He further stated that as the Chairman of the Task force V2050, he led a team of dedicated Papua New Guineans from all walks of life to compile this vision, and believed that the graduates have gained valuable insights in their training and will go back to the department and lead the implementation of the vision from there.

"You have been immersed in this journey of self discovery of your potentials, what are those latent forces that each and every one of you must find and use during your call of duty," he said.  "You are now told that the PNG V2050 is anchored in the department and I recommend you carry the PNG Vision 2050 forward."

The two weeks training was basically about providing the participants the opportiunity to bond in spirit, start working together, build bridges and forge cooperation. It was also intended for the participants to practice compiling strategic work plans, finding points of coordination and convergence in order to develop their capacity and push forward the fundamental and intrinsic mission and values of the National Strategic Plan, Vision 2050.

Department aligns activities with vision 2050

THE Department for Community Development (DFCD) has begun the process of aligning its activities with the Government's new Vision 2050.

During a two-day management retreat at Loloata Island Resort, Secretary Joseph Klapat and his team of managers discussed ways in which the Department could align its programs and activities with the Vision 2050.

Minister for Community Development, Dame Carol Kidu, who was also there highlighted the importance of Vision 2050, saying that it is a significant tool for the development of the nation.

"Vision 2050 is based on community development, and that is the way to go for Papua New Guinea, when we start developing our communities by ensuring that services reach the people in the rural areas, there will be a significant change in the attitude of our people," Dame Carol said. 

She added that the implementation of the Integrated Community Development Policy (ICDP) is also critical at this time when international partners are willing to assist with this process.

"I am glad that donor partners have recognized the efforts of the Department for Community Development, and this is a plus for us because we can now continue to work in partnership with our partners for a better PNG," Dame Carol said.

Meanwhile, Secretary Klapat said the Department has achieved a lot in 2009 despite the many challenges, and is confident the Department will also do the same in 2010 in aligning its activities with Visio 2050.

Mr Klapat said DFCD is clearly highlighted in Pillars 6 and 7 of Vision 2050.

"There are some activities that DFCD is already involved in that address these issues in Vision 2050," Mr Klapat said.

He added that these activities will continue in 2010 according to the Department's Corporate Plan 2009 - 2011 and the Department's 2010 Annual Operational Plan.

Some achievements of the Department for Community Development in 2009 are:
  • Successful launch of the National Disability Policy,
  • Staging of the Bi-annual CD Ministerial Forum in Lae, 
  • Successful launch of the CEDAW report, 
  • Establishment of the National Coordination Committee for Disability, 
  • NEC approval of the establishment of the National Taskforce on Social Protection which is to be headed by our Department, 
  • Successful launch and signing of the PNGInfo database MOU between DFCD, National Planning Department (DNPM), National Statistical Office (NSO), and the United Nations (UN) to monitor MDGs and other National Indicators, 
  • Successful launch of Finchhaffen District CLDC Focal Point (Morobe), Wosera-Gawi (East Sepik), Heganofi (Eastern Highlands), and Sohe (Oro) in our department's ongoing rollout program on the establishment of District CLDC Focal Points under the ICDP.

Lagea sponsors SHP delegates to Lutheran Synod

By EDDIE MOSES

Seventy four Evangelical Lutheran Church Pastors and Elders from the Southern Highlands Province's attendance at the 27th ELCPNG Synod was made possible courtesy of Kagua-Erave MP, James Lagea.

Lagea footed the transportation costs for the 74 delegates to attend the Synod in Lae last week. Three 25 seater buses were hired by the MP for the delegates travel to and from Lae.

The SHP is termed as the Emmanuel District under ELCPNG divisions and covers ELCPNG Churches and congregations in Kagua (Wabi Circuit); Mendi; Imbonggu: Ialibu and Pangia(Tripiny Circuit). The 74 Pastors and Elders were from Kagua (Wabi Circuit), 20 delegates; Mendi, 20 delegates; Imbonggu, 12 delegates; Ialibu, 12 delegates and Pangia (Tripiny Circuit), 10 delegates.

Pastor Peter Pela from the Wabi Circuit conveyed his sincere appreciation and commended MP Lagea on behalf of the delegates for his support to the Church on this spiritually significant occasion. Pastor Pela said  Lagea, as a born and bred Lutheran, knew that people needed the guidance and grace of God in their lives and had stepped in and assisted the Servants of God to attend to their duties.

The MP was present at the opening ceremony last Sunday. Also present were Prime Minister Somare, Madang Governor, Arnold Amet, Morobe Governor Luther Wenge, Deputy Governor, Koni Iguan (Markham) Police and Internal Security Minister, Sani Rambi (Mul-Baiyer), Defense Minister, Bob Dadae (Kabwum) , MPs Sam Basil (Bulolo) and Timothy Bonga (Nawaeb). Most of Morobe's prominent sons were in attendance with the most notable absentee being Lae MP, Bart Philemon.

Land groups to fight corruption

By ABBIE COLLACO

FOUR clan groups of Kikori oil pipeline in Gulf province have come together to fight corruption over the use of their Kutubu MoA funds.

The four make up the Kikori Oil Pipeline Landowners Association (KOPLA).
The group met last Wed at Granville Motel in Port Moresby to announce their move to fight the alleged improper allocation of the K220 million MoA funds by the Department of National Planning and District Development.

Ikobi Kasera Pera (IKP) Chairman and Daniel Dobora said they would call on illegitimate landowner groups (named) that had acquired funds from the Government through fraudulent means over the years and allegedly aided by government agencies (named) under this MoA, to put back every toea taken illegally to fund district development projects.

Kikori MP and Labour and Industrial relations Minister Mark Maipakai met the group last Wed at a reconciliation meeting he organised  to lobby their support and put aside their differences and fight for tangible development which has been hardly felt for the Kikori district in the past 17 years following the Kutubu pipeline MoA (1990).

Mr Maipakai reminded the State that KOPLA was the only legitimate landowner group that the government should be dealing with through the Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee (JDPBPC) and not any splinter group without any composition at home.

"I am happy that the Kikori Oil Pipeline Association and the tribal leaders from the four tribes affected by the Kikori oil pipeline are with me in this struggle. They are here with me today showing their undivided support," Mr Maipakai highlighted.

He challenged leaders in Government and public officials who are in charge of MoA funds to understand related National Executive Council (NEC) decisions and to comply with them.

He said:"It only makes it easier for us that services are delivered without necessary delays," Mr Maipakai said.

Aussie bankers arrested and on bail

THE ARREST of two Australian bankers in the country is not surprising for those who know or have followed the machinations of controversial businessman Peter Yama.

The arrests and the reasons behind them come amid claims that PNG's international standing in the business world is at risk.

Australians Robin Fleming and John Maddison, senior executives of PNG's leading financial institution, BSP, are on bail after being arrested for conspiring to defeat the course of justice reports the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

An arrest warrant has been issued for James Kruse, a Deloitte PNG senior accountant who worked for BSP.
These arrests come after Mr Yama last month won K7.6 million against a motor vehicle insurance company and BSP moved to secure the money, claiming Mr Yama had outstanding debts.

A senior BSP executive said that Mr Yama owes several million kina from unpaid loans dating back to the late 1990s, plus accumulated legal fees and unpaid interest.

"I don't think Yama understands these actions are threatening how banks do business in PNG, that there is a systemic risk for banks and other businesses in terms of making loans," he said.

"If people are able to claim fraud charges against bank officers who execute documents in a normal course of duties with absolutely no personal profit, then it undermines the system and clearly could have a major impact on banking in PNG."

No judge has been willing to preside over the civil case due to Mr Yama's influence, the BSP executive said.
"These matters (unpaid loans) have been pending for some time," he said.

Furthermore, the bank's chairman Noreo Beanke on Friday released a statement saying the "threat to personal safety of Bank staff has now increased significantly and the reputational damage immeasurable".

The copy of the statement which was sent to the PoMSOX, Mr Beanke said: "The Board, Management and staff are extremely concerned at the level public comment and heightened media attention levelled at various Bank executives who have been charged by the Police Fraud Squad."

"We maintain that our Bank officers are acting in the normal course of banking business and carrying out their duties in a professional manner in the Bank. The Board and Executive Management stands by the integrity and honesty of these staff members."

He said the bank management is gravely concerned that while civil proceedings are in progress - these criminal charges laid are to distract fair hearing of matters before the courts. However, the bank is confident justice will prevail and the truth will be made known to all.

Mr Bean ke also noted that the recent prison break out has further escalated safety and security of the bank's Branch premises and staff and various security initiatives have been established.

The bank has publicly announced a new Security 24 Hour Information Hotline - 3009634 via public notice in the daily newspapers and firmly believes that a "High level" of community support of any local BSP Branch is critical,

Mr Yama, a former police officer, former government minister and former provincial governor is a serial litigator who has won a raft of multi-million kina compensation pay outs from various sources, especially the PNG government.

The backdrop to the current case is that the Transparency International corruption index last year rated PNG the 151st worst country out of 180 ranked countries while the World Bank's 2010 Doing Business report ranked the country 102nd worst out 183.

Institute of National Affairs think tank director Paul Barker said police integrity and PNG's international standing for business are at stake.

"The current spill over of a dispute between a major bank and one of its clients or debtors, with the arrest or apparent intimidation of bank staff is unacceptable, when there are normal processes which should be followed," he said.

"The police should be careful to avoid being drawn into commercial disputes, and maintain effective control over all their units, and avoid at all times being seen to be partisan or appear to affiliate with factions or mafia-style threats and intimidation."

It is understood that five shots were fired outside the house of one junior lawyer this month, and another lawyer was car-jacked and bashed outside his home while another senior lawyer is in hiding for fear of his life.

All are involved in the BSP case.
Mr Yama denies any involvement or intimidation in the arrests.

He said BSP, their lawyers and their two employees tried to defraud him because of a vendetta dating back to 2001 when BSP bought the defunct PNG Banking Corporation.

"I was the main man against the sale of the bank in 2001, I called an inquiry against the bank (now BSP)," he said.

"No (it's not intimidation) they are arrested because it's very clear they have defrauded me.
"The law is on my side, I will beat them. I win every case.
"I owe BSP nothing, I told the court, I owe them nothing."

The powerful Mr Yama made a great deal of his money from security companies he ran when a minister in the late 90s and early 2000's. He has a large property portfolio and owns the "Smugglers Inn" hotel.
Yama's connections are wide-ranging from police to judges with the latest arrests demonstrating his sphere of influence.

And it is not the first time individuals in a court case with Mr Yama have ended up in jail.
Last year and in 2008 New Zealand-born lawyer Erik Anderson was twice arrested on fraud charges after BSP paid him from money the bank recouped from Mr Yama's account.

Mr Anderson, a senior partner of Gadens Lawyers, was alleged to have conspired and defrauded the Yama Group of Companies after representing BSP since 2002.

Numerous sources provided information about Mr Yama's background and history but the common thread was that no one wanted to be named.

One senior government official outraged at Mr Yama's latest move told AAP: "This police action is designed to threaten, harass and intimidate BSP staff and their lawyers."

A senior police officer said: "Yama has strong connections in police, politics and the courts and that's how he does business."

In March 2003 the Ombudsman Commission, corruption watchdog, appealed against the court's decision to quash misappropriation allegations brought against Mr Yama.

The Ombudsman said Mr Yama paid himself electoral development funds; used family companies to buy government housing and attempted to purchase two ships from the State at "well-below market price".
Mr Yama was also accused of using his official position to "obtain a private bank loan to purchase a ship that was then leased back to the government".