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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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

PNG 'Suicide' Bomber Kills Policewoman In a Terror Attack


IN A suicide attack, a suspected criminal blew himself and a policewoman in the heart of Papua New Guinea's third largest city, Mount Hagen, capital of Western Highlands province on Friday.

And the city is in shock following the incident in which the suspect had a hand grenade detonated at the Wamp Nga service station opposite the main bus stop and the popular Mount Hagen market.

Assistant police commissioner and commander for Highlands Simon Kauba said the incident is the first of its kind for the police force where a terrorist like attack occurred.

"We got a terrorist like attack is the first time for the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary," he said.

Mr Kauba when talking to this paper yesterday morning (Saturday) said the body of the suspected criminal was still stuck to the vehicle as policemen and medical officers feared that there may be other grenades and refused to go near.

The police chief said the policewoman was trying to get off the troop carrier when the hand grenade went off blowing her about 25 meters from the vehicle, killing the suspect and seriously injuring the driver and three other policemen.

Mr Kauba said he was meeting with his senior officers in Mount Hagen and was also trying to get the bomb squad from Port Moresby to go to Mt Hagen and investigate the incident.

He said the suspect and now deceased has been identified as Pawa Moni, 35, of Kelua No. 2 village and was wanted for a series of crimes including an ATM machine robbery in Lae and the murder of a security guard at Konfarm outside Mount Hagen recently.

The assistant commissioner said police were informed of the suspect and they had him arrested from a PMV and were trying to get him into the vehicle when the grenade exploded.

Mr Kauba said the motive of the grenade attack is not yet clear as the arresting policemen are in the Mount Hagen hospital's intensive care unit, but they believe the suspect may have accidentally pulled the pin in the process of trying to escape from the arresting officers.

The commander said the city has come to a stand still as this is the first such incident for the police force and the country.

This he said is no longer a story heard in other countries but has come home and is shocking for the constabulary and the people of Mount Hagen and the country.

The policewoman is believed from the Mid Waghi area of the province and is a recent graduate from the Bomana training college.

Meanwhile, Mr Kauba has called on everyone to work with the police in endeavours to maintain peace and harmony in the society.

PNG on the brink of dictatorship rule

- Attorney General warns of immature politicians and powerful multi-national corporations colluding to interfere in the third arm of government.

- All ingredients for a maturing dictatorship are already present in PNG


JUDGES of the National and Supreme Courts in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have been told in no uncertain terms this week that the independence of the third arm of government is being question in the public arena and fears the last bastion of the country's democracy may become a joke within the next 30 years.

Attorney General, Dr. Allan Marat told a ceremonial court sitting in Port Moresby this week that "there are very serious issues being raised in court cases, the media and homes" about the independence of the judges relating to "conflict of interest" issues.

The Attorney General said: "Instances of conflict of interest and independence of judges are numerous. Some have been reported in judgments, some have been addressed administratively within the judiciary itself and some are tormenting the conscience of some judges."

"There are signs of maturing dictatorship in PNG and PNG has all the ingredients of corporatocracy, namely major corporations, international banks and colluding governments.

"The influx of mercenaries occur as a matter of course. Manipulation by outside political and commercial interests is increasing and mercenaries have been brought into PNG under the guise of consultants."

The Attorney General said, these developments are hair-raising and called on the courts to be wary of these developments and begin to design appropriate judicial attitudes to address them when they are presented in the court of law.

"There is a trend developing in PNG and the courts must be cognizant of it. More and more young, greedy and immature so-called leaders through their association with foreign economic hit men are becoming greedy and have sold this country to multi-million corporations," the Justice Minister said.

"There is now so much foreign interest at stake in this country. And unless the law enforcers, including the courts wake up to this development....our judiciary is going to be a joke to this corporatocracy in the next 30 to 50 years."

Dr Marat says, closely related to the issue of independence of the judiciary is the undue delays in the delivery of judgments in cases.

"When these young, greedy and immature so-called leaders are referred to the courts for obvious failures to observe the rule of law, their cases come before the courts and then, what happens?"

The Attorney General said judgments are delayed as dates are stretched out for far too long and these immature, greedy so-called leaders continue to govern a people who are crying for justice.

Dr. Marat said, a judge who delays a ruling, is responsible to some extent for additional problems emanating from delayed judgments. He says, such behviour will only entrench corporatocracy in PNG and erode the respect people have for the courts in this country.

"In these circumstance, your honours must take effective measures to defend the mineral, energy and other resources of PNG by handing down judgments as quickly as possible.

"Your decisions whether to reserve judgment for a long period of time or not must be inspired soley by the need to protect national interests and in the unrestricted defense of PNG's sovereign rights," Dr. Marat said.

PNG High School Funds Misused


MALE students at Aiyura National High School in PNG's Eastern Highlands province are sleeping in their classrooms because of the inability of the contractor, who was awarded K4 million under the controversial RESI program, to satisfactorily maintain their dormitories.

Assessment of the work done reveal shoddy and very poor work worth an estimated K35, 000 of questionable maintenance.

This sad state of affairs has prompted Obura-Wonenara MP, Hon. John Boito, to come out publicly and point the finger squarely at the Department of National Planning and Monitoring for its perceived underhanded and grossly irregular awarding of the K4 million to the dubious contractor.

A visibly angry MP told a media conference on Wednesday that all proper financial and project tender procedures were breached in the awarding of this contract. He said the contractor did not possess Project Management or building background. "They had no capital, equipment or machinery. All this calls into question their competency," he said.

He said before the K4 million payment the company's operating account had a balance of only K51. 83. With the K4 million payment, we have information that, the principal started buying plantations and real estate. This is the same company that was awarded a dubious contract to maintain footpaths in Parliament. They have links to some very senior politicians,' he said.

Boito revealed that his office was aware that the Department of National Planning drew two manual cheques on July 3rd last year for Infrastructure maintenance at Aiyura National High School (K4 million, BSP Chq# 001070) and Tairora High School (K2 million, BSP Chq# 001054).

Both cheques, drawn from the Education Sector Infrastructure Rehabilitation Trust Account (RESI) and payable to the Obura-Wonenara District Treasury Operating Account were never delivered.

Boito said the Department of National Planning withheld the cheques for safekeeping and to date their fate remains a mystery.

He said despite this a further K4 million was raised on November 26th, 2009 and paid out to a John Mauves Investment Ltd for Maintenance of Aiyura National High School infrastructure. "The manner in which the contract was awarded is highly questionable and is of a suspicious nature. Please correct me but this project was never put on public tender. The Central Supply and Tenders Board have no knowledge of the project," Boito said.

The Deputy Governor of the Eastern Highlands said the project documentation was based on an original scope of work prepared by Ramu Engineering Ltd, the preferred local contractor appointed collectively by the Aiyura National High School Board of Governors and School Administration, the Obura-Wonenara District Administration and JDP & BPC.

"The contractor awarded the contract had no idea of the required maintenance work for Aiyura. Only National Planning has the answers to why the whole K4 million was paid up front to John Mauve Investment Ltd," Boito said.

He said normally upfront payment of 10% mobilization costs are paid for contracts. The rest is released stage by stage after satisfactory inspection reports.

Boito said numerous attempts to get answers from the Department of National Planning were unsuccessful. "My letters to the Minister on this matter have not been responded to," he said.

The MP revealed that he would seek legal avenues to ensure that the monies are recovered. On January 2 this year I registered the complaint with the Police Fraud Squad, I will ensure that we get to the bottom of this and stop such fraudulent practices from happening again, he said.

The deputy Parliamentary leader of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) Party said these projects were in line with the undertakings of the 'Warongoi Accord' whereby Government backbenchers were told to submit project proposals for funding by the Government. PDM is a partner in the Somare/Temu Coalition Government.

Minister terminates projects


TRIBAL warfare and other criminal activities would cause termination of development projects in the in Papua New Guinea's Enga province.

Works, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye issued this stern warning when announcing the termination of developmental projects in his electorate worth more than K100 million.

Mr Polye told reporters on Wed that his people do not seem to want development.

The Minister said tribal fighting and any other criminal activities that hinder development would only affect the people themselves and the best way to tell them to stop their illegal activities is to terminate the projects until they are ready and willing to look after the projects and workers.

Mr Polye said villagers in his political support stronghold started a tribal fight three weeks ago over pandanus nuts.

This he said, resulted in the ambush and chopping of four women to death and two men killed during the warfare and burning down of three double classrooms at Kiripiso primary school.

A very disappointed Minister said people must take ownership of development and embrace them. He told reporters that when the people who are supposed to receive these services engage in tribal warfare, these services would be diverted to other areas.

Mr Polye said services are very hard to come and people must take every care in looking after what the government brings to them.

The projects in his area include two major roads from Kandep to Liagiam, phases two and three and Kandep Keapal. Other projects include three major roads, one of them is a lengthy road and bridge works across the Lai river known as the Wasa bridge, building of health centers, classrooms and library and computer room for the Kandep High school and the sealing of the roads at the Kandep station.

PNG Women leaders decry 'fruit pickers scam'


UNSUSPECTING mothers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have been victims of a scam that swindled hundreds if not thousands of their hard-earned cash.

A woman, named, established an entity known as PNG Mama Heart to Heart Foundation early last year and under the pretext of helping underprivileged mothers, proceeded to collect fees and other payments from them.

The fees and payments were purportedly for passports, visas, airfares and accommodation costs for the mothers to work as fruit pickers on Australian farms.

Every meeting the mothers attended they were asked to pay an initial fee of K100, which was later reduced to K50. The mothers were told at these meetings that all the necessary requirements were being pursued and that their travel was imminent.

However, the travel date has been deferred so many times that a couple of mothers become suspicious and demanded their money back from the named woman.

Prominent women leaders who have heard of this scam are angry and have called on the woman concerned to account for her shameful conduct towards the unsuspecting mothers.

Ms. Katherine Eremas, a women's advocate and committee member of Port Moresby YWCA's Membership and Program Committee who has been instrumental in exposing this scam is adamant that regulations should be put in place to deter such unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of the ignorance and illiteracy of our mothers.

Schola Kakas, the President of the National Council of Women, has supported her stand.

Ms. Kakas said such regulations would protect the less well informed. She issued a warning to small people not to be gullible. Check with the council to see if such groups are registered. "This simple action wills safe guard your money," she said.

Another Woman leader, Susan Setae of Papua Hahine, condemned the scam and its perpetrators. She questioned how such people could live with themselves. It is criminal to steal from the small people, she said.

Ms Setae who is also a volunteer with the Port Moresby General Hospital's Family Support Centre said too many such mushroom groups are very dishonest in their dealings with the ignorant and illiterate small people of this country.

Meanwhile, Sunday Chronicle has been reliably informed that a complaint was laid by some mothers against the woman principal of the PNG Mama Heart to Heart Foundation on Thursday. The source said the mothers confronted the woman at the Waigani Police Station and demanded their money back.

She has reportedly told the angry mothers that she will refund their monies today.

Mass walk out planned

Air traffic controllers threaten to resign


PAPUA NEW GUINEA Air Traffic Controllers' Association (PNGATCA) members unanimously agreed to walk off their jobs over disparities in the awarding of individual contracts which they deemed illegal.

They have given their employer and the management of the newly established state-owned enterprise, PNG Air Services Ltd (PNGASL) 48 hours notice to respond to list of demands or face mass resignation.

In a signed petition written to the acting managing director Tars Bola, the PNGATCA members throughout the country have expressed disgust and frustration at the manner in which the company opted to award individual contract packages.

The members are former Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) employees but have been transferred to PNGASL in 2008 under a new department restructure.

They noted that this is in direct conflict with CAA Act under section 334 clause on assets transfer. It stipulates that in assets transfer all working conditions and remunerations will remain until and when a new agreement is made.

They said what the management has done is not in the interest of the workers. There were no consultations and discussions made to effect the decisions. All was done in isolation.

The PNGATCA said the individual contracts that are being offered now are depriving, discriminating, disparity in nature and unfair.

The workers further claimed that PNGASL being the young offspring of CAA lacks sufficient data or none at all for its use. This has resulted in management making ill-informed decisions and having to use outdated CAA salary schedule to draft the contract employment offers which are recognized to be not competitive to the current and ongoing market rates.

The association has therefore in its list of demands called on the PNGASL to:

* Nullify all present and past individual contracts offered;

* Unions, employer (PNGASL) and other relevant parties to re-negotiate the contract packages as per the HR manual section 22 provisions;

* All positions (including management) to be advertised on the open market;

* Organisational structure plus the salary structure to be made available as soon as possible; and

* Immediately call for negotiations by Enterprise Bargaining for a more current Enterprise Agreement.

Failure to comply with these set of demands the association will result in the association applying certain provisions of the PNGASL HR manual which include mass resignation.

It is believed the move is likely to create havoc on air traffic and pose safety risk on all domestic and international flights including loss of business for all commercial airlines in the country.

It is also understood acting managing director Mr Bola has been delivered the copy of the petition which was signed by 90 disgruntled officers of the PNGATCA around the country.

Mr Bola could not be reached for comments at the time when this paper went to print but it is understood he verbally told the association executives that he will respond soon.

The association members planned for a meeting today to decide on the next cause of action.

PNG adopts latest Japanese technology


PAPUA New Guinea this week became the first country in the Pacific region and the world to embrace and trial out a new and pioneering piece of Japanese electrical technology that is deemed to serve the bulk of the people nationwide through a simple and reliably affordable electricity system.

This new technology has never been used or exported anywhere else in the world since its invention and PNG is now the pioneering host of its trial and the eventual import for usage by the people.

The new product is the world’s first small hydro-power generation system called by the maker by the name ‘ Small Hydro Stream ‘ and is quite unique because the stream uses the movement of large mass of simple free flowing water current to spinning energy for power generation. It is manufactured by one of Japan’s rising technical actors, The Seabell International Cooperation Limited (SICL).

The biggest benefit of the system is that there is no need for dam construction because it is small machine( 2x2x2 m ) and conveniently portable where it can be moved from one location to another following water sources such as creeks, large drains, small streams and rivers where there is constant flow of water.

It can also be installed at sea to convert running water and waves into electricity that can generate approximately one to 10 kilowatts of power and can generate enough electricity to light up to 30 houses for over 20 year period.

The five kilowatts system is the world’s first invention of dual axis turbine, opposite rotation accelerating gear system form reducing friction loss with the mechanical parts always staying above water reducing risk-factors of durability and cost factors on manufacturing and maintenance. The technology is different from solar power, wind power or conventional type of head hydro power ( Yonki / Sirinumu type ) and only provides reliable new energy power generation by water current, a stable power for consistently 24hours in 365 days a year unless there is a mechanical need.

The advantage of the system is that the environment around the installation site will not be disturbed/harmed and the weather ( wind/sun ) has no effect on the operations because water is a renewable resource which is constantly available to generate electricity.

The presence of the technology in the country is the initiative of Education Minister, James Marape who searched the globe for the most reliable and affordable electrification for all educational institutions in the country.

In his hunt, he bumped into Dr. William Tongamp from Western Highlands province who is a post doctoral researcher with the faculty of engineering at the Akita University in Japan.

Dr. Tongamp then introduced Mr Marape to his close Japanese friend who happened to be, Nobuchika Ihara, the managing director for the Seabell International Cooperation Ltd, the manufacturer of the new hydro-power system.

From then on, collaborations among the three gentlemen started with Mr Marape representing the people of PNG with close assistance from Dr. Tongamp, our elite son.

After numerous negotiations, Dr. Tongamp brought Mr. Nobuchicka to his native village last year and the Japanese was stunned that his mother was still living in a grass thatched hut without complete electricity.

This particular visit to the one of the most remote parts of the world deeply moved the inventor of the world’s hydro-power who from then on made a solemn commitment to bring the hydro system to PNG first before the rest of the world.

In a press conference this week at the State Function Room in Parliament, Mr Nobuchicka Ihara presented the technology to politicians and representatives from the corporate, public and private sectors including the media.

Mr. Ihara told the conference in the presence of Mr Marape and Dr. Tongamp that his company plans to build a plant in PNG for creation of employment and also to supply smaller Pacific Island countries and neighbouring Asian region with electricity.

Mr Marape thanked Mr Ihara on behalf of the government and the people of Papua New Guinea for choosing our country for the trial of the first ever technology. He further stated that he went out looking for a technology that will meet our electricity needs and we have found one that is relevant, applicable and environmentally friendly that will compliment the Government’s rural electrification policy.

He said that as the Education Minister, he is excited about this new technology that can provide power 24hrs for our children to have access to library, internet and the world.

The Minister assured the country that PNG is about to see great changes in their livelihood through the tapping of the latest global technology. Otherwise, this piece of technology is believed to have large potential to become one of the major renewable energy sources on earth in the near future and Papua New Guineans should be proud because we will be the pioneering country on earth to use the technology.

PM must sideline implicated ministers: Tekwe

Vice Chancellor of the Assembly of God (AOG) Jubilee University, John Tekwe has called on Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to immediately sideline state ministers who have been implicated in alleged criminal and leadership charges.

Mr Tekwe said it was incumbent on Sir Michael to put the interest of the over six million Papua New Guinean citizens ahead of personal, party and parochial interest.

He said: "The PM must take stop being arrogant and take serious heed of the calls from all sectors of the PNG community to take lead in fighting corruption by cleaning his own backyard."

"He must act in PNG's national interest and immediately decommission all ministers who are implicated in the various high-profile scandals to allow for relevant state law enforcing agencies proceed with their investigations unimpeded.

"The father of the nation must live up to his words to uphold the virtues of good governance, transparent and accountable leadership by him (Sir Michael) stepping aside pending the outcome of major scandals created during his reign over the past seven consecutive years.

"It is high time the PM takes serious heed of the conventions of ministerial responsibility. Not only should the ministers implicated be stood down, the PM must also accept that he is responsible for the misconduct and wrongdoings of any member of his cabinet.

"The PM and all implicated ministers implicated in any scandal or are under investigation must immediately step aside to allow the process of law to take its course. The investigation should proceed without any undue influence and interference to protect the integrity of these important public and taxpayer funded offices, the Office of the Prime Minister being the highest," Mr Tekwe stressed.

National Broadcaster launches Central FM

"KIBI Gadona" the voice of the conch-shell can now reach all the remote parts of Central Province through the newly launched satellite 95.5 FM band.

PANGTEL CEO, Charles Punaha officially handed over the FM radio station broadcast license to the Minister for Communications, Patrick Tamur at the March Girls Resort outside Port Moresby on Friday.

This paved the way for National Broadcasting Cooperation (NBC) Central to broadcast through the first direct satellite service donated by the Australian Government.

"Central is the last province to switch to FM band, but you are the first to have the direct satellite service," Joseph Ealedona, NBC Managing Director told the gathering.

He said that NBC will soon do away with its short and medium wave (S/MW) replacing them with the crystal clear FM bands.

The Minister for Communications, Patrick Tammur challenged the Central Provincial Government to take ownership of the NBC FM station in funding and supporting its operations.

He said that radio plays vital role in informing, educating and entertaining the majority of the people and thus need provincial government support.

"Radio still is the most effective means of communication, reaching majority of the people in this country, regardless of our geographic settings," Minister Tammur said.

The minister said that the NBC rehabilitation programs were a government initiative since 2008 and wishes to upgrade and renovate all its existing provincial stations in the country.

"I challenge the board to take NBC to the next level. You should tap into the regional challenges," Tammur said.

He said the National Government in its 2009 allocated K21 million and asked the NBC board to continue its work in rolling out the television program launched in 2008.

The launching coincided with the NBC board meeting which was also held at March Girls Resort where its 2010/2015 corporate plan was discussed.

NBC board chairman, Paul Reptario said that the organization was tasked to establish a nationally own television station and to improve the 20 radio stations in the country.

"A corporate reform program is being established. Twenty FM transmission stations launched and a TV station established," Mr. Reptario said.

The Central Provincial government committed K50,000 to maintain and up-grade communication networks for the Central FM station. The provincial government also pledge annual assistance.

Meanwhile, Minister Tammur and minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Paul Tiensten pledged jointly build 100 houses for their staff.

Minister Tiensten officiated at the ground breaking ceremony in Port Moresby on Thursday. He said that 100 houses would be constructed at 5-mile and 6-mile areas of Port Moresby.

Sir Arnold told to be more useful

THE ousted Governor of Madang Sir Arnold Amet is reminded not to be involved in shallow media statements that affect the law enforcement agencies because he himself is facing the Courts of Law.

Prominent Madang businessman, former MP and founding leader of the Peoples Labour Party (PLP) Peter Yama said this in response to a media statement in a newspaper this week in which Sir Arnold call on law enforcement agencies to be "diligent and thorough" in carrying out their duties.

Mr Yama pointed out two aspects.

"Sir Arnold must be careful in making insinuating comments to influence the judicial element of the law enforcement agencies because he is firstly facing the Supreme Court resulting from the petition I put through the courts to contest his win for the governor's seat in the 2007 elections in which I successfully removed him in the Court of Disputed Returns.

"Secondly, sir Arnold's own carelessness and undue behaviour has placed the judicial panel hearing this case into some difficulty so the former Chief Judge cannot be seen to be making insinuating comments or trying to preach to the judiciary," Mr Yama said.

He said Sir Arnold is a highly respected senior PNG citizen and he is respected in Madang but his very behavior and cheap political outbursts are out of character for him and the law enforcement agencies realise that.

"He has no stay order from any court to remain in office and if he believes he can contribute anything to PNG nation building then it should be through the overall legal system to seal loopholes so similar de-facto governor situations like Madang's present case do not happen in the future," Mr Yama said.

He said law enforcement agencies, the Government and the public must question why Sir Arnold should still be call governor and be allowed to decide on sensitive matters like the provincial budget and major resource developments like mining in Madang.

Aust envoy praises Eastern Highlands

PAPUA NEW GUINEA Eastern Highlands province last week received most needed acknowledgement by the Australian Government for championing the nation's development policies.

Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish and Head of AusAID Stephanie Copus-Camphbell expressed this to Governor Malcolm Kela-Smith, his Provincial Executive Council, Provincial Administrator Munare Uyassi and senior managers.

Mr. Kemish commended the government and administration under Mr Kela-Smith and Mr Uyassi for providing a strong leadership in moving the province forward.

"Eastern Highlands is the province that has provided a strong leadership from both the political and administrative level with good ideas to move forward in term of development and service delivery," he said.

"Long dispela tasol na mi hamamas long kam long Goroka fest taim mi stap long PNG olsem Hai Komisina (Therefore I am happy to come to Goroka in my first tour outside of Port Moresby since being in the country as High Commissioner."

The High Commissioner led a high level delegation including Minister Counsellor for AusAID PNG Ms Copus-Camphbell, Ms. Lousie Baker, Second Secretary Foreign Affairs, and wife Ms. Rokanne Martens were on the familiarisation visit to the province. This was his first visit outside of Port Moresby after staying in the country for three weeks.

Mr. Kemish said Eastern Highlands was doing well by adopting the developments strategies of the government and development partners like AusAID and progressing well ahead to practically implementing them.

"Eastern Highlands is a leading province this is doing very well in implementing government directives and development policies and has a good understanding with us, AusAID, so we choose to come here first," said Ms. Copus-Camphbell.

The Australian heads in PNG praised the province for strong political stability, good governance, proper management of public funds, improved public service performances, effective service delivery and development of new initiatives and ideas.

Governor Kela-Smith thanked the High Commissioner and Head of AusAID for recognising his government and administrations effort in managing and improving the service delivery magnesium in the province.

He also thanked them for the support given by Australian Government through AusAID to partner the developments of the province.

After a lunch hour briefing with the Governor and the Provincial Administration, Mr. Kemish and his delegation went on air with NBC Radio EH, then drove to Bihute Jail Camp and later to PNG Institute of Medical Research to see AusAID funded projects. He also had dinner with the Goroka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The High Commissioner also launched a four-year coffee project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research with the PNG Coffee Industry Corporation.

The delegation later met with NGOs, Care International, Save the Children, Clinton Foundation, Oxfam, Appropriate Technology Projects, Eastern Highlands Family Voice that were funded through the PNG-Australia development partnership to discuss the challenges on HIV-AIDS in the province.

They also visited the Asaro Health Clinic outside of Goroka that is run by the Clinton Foundation and departed for Port Moresby on Thursday morning.

New TV tower for Henganofi

Words and picture by HENZY YAKHAM
IT WOULD soon be a thing of the past for people in Henganofi district of Eastern Highlands province to travel some 30 kilometres into their provincial capital Goroka to see their favorite television programmes.

Henganofi MP Ferao Orimyo has paid a Highlands based company, Highlands Cable Television K200,000, to erect a communication tower to transmit television signals.

Mr Orimyo said people in the coverage area would be receiving television signals by May this year.

The transmitter, to be erected at Menehave in the Fayantina Local Level Government area, will cover the whole of Henganofi district as well as parts of neighboring Okapa, Lufa, Kainantu and Ungai-Bena districts.

This is new and important service which the people, particularly those with television sets, will not have to make the one hour trip to Goroka just to see their favourite programmes such as rugby league and other games on TV," Mr Orimyo stressed.

He said currently, many public servants and others have to travel all the way to Goroka to see a game of Australian rugby league (NRL) games.

"The new service will enable people to receive EMTV and Kundu 2 signals and enjoy news and current affairs, educational and entertainment programmes," Mr Orimyo said.

Polye angered over non release of funds


THE Department of National Planning and Monitoring should come directly under the Prime Minister's Department and not a separate ministry.

Minister for Works, Transport and Civil Aviations Don Polye said this when expressing disappointment and anger at the National Planning Department for not releasing funds for road maintenance.

The Minister told reporters on Wed that without funds to maintain the major roads, Works and Transport Department could not do much.

He said everyone thinks his departments are at fault when in fact, the department responsible for making budget allocations and releasing funds is sitting on the requested and budgeted funds.

Mr Polye also said that the Department of National Planning should know the importance of road maintenance and appropriate enough funding for it.

The Kandep MP said if he was responsible for budgeting, he would appropriate K400 million for transport maintenance, K250m for roads and K150m for jetties and wharfs.

The National Planning office was an implementing agent and should come directly under the Prime Minister as he is the chief executive officer of the country.

The Prime Minister thinks that the Department of National Planning is implementing the budget but when it does not release funds, it is frustrating for other departments to perform.

Mr Polye called on all departments to go in tune with the budget and government policies and have them implemented.

He said he was getting tough on the National Planning Department because he has had enough and could not wait for the department to release the warrant.

Meanwhile, there were already creditors with bills amounting to K30 million and that basically leaves the Works Department with no maintenance funds for the remainder of this year.

Both the secretary and Mr Polye said their submissions for a separate emergency vote in the budget were not appropriated.

This paper understands that K20 million was released on Thursday.

Senior BSP manager to stand trial

SENIOR BSP Bank Manager John Maddison has been committed to stand trial in the National Court for misappropriation while senior lawyer for Gadens Lawyers Erick Anderson has been exonerated of all charges by the Waigani Committal Court this week.

Mr Maddison was not present in court because of medical reasons and Committal Court Magistrate Sinclair Gora adjourned to May 17 for the Defendant to be dealt with under section 96 of the District Courts Act and to be committed to the National Court.

Erick Anderson was discharged and his bail monies of K10,000 was ordered to be refunded forthwith.

Both men were arrested and charged by police after a complainant was laid by Madang businessman and former politician Peter Yama. They were charged under separate information with 50 counts each of conspiring to defraud and 45 counts each of misappropriation. John Maddison was further charged with one count of falsifying a document.

Magistrate Sinclair Gora in a 17 page ruling on sufficiency of evidence , discussed in detail the charges, the role of the Committal Court, the issues, facts and evidences including written statements of 14 witnesses and 13 documentary exhibits put forward by the police prosecution.

The witness statements included Peter O'Neil who was once the Chairman of PNGBC Alex Tongayu and Ian Augerea. He also discussed the defence submission in detail.

In his analysis of both the prosecution evidence and the defence submission Magistrate Gora said: "On the charge of conspiring to defraud I find that the prosecution evidence lacks credibility to show existence of conspiracy to defraud between Erick Anderson of Gadens Laywers and John Maddison of the BSP. Their meetings were purely on a solicitor/client basis and in the presence of and witnessed by the other bank officers such as David Bakau, Stubbs Vele and Reo Ainiu as stated in their statements. Therefore the evidence supporting this charge is NOT sufficient to warrant committing the both accused to stand trial in the National Court. Accordingly I order that the both accused be discharged as to the information containing the charges of conspiring to defraud.

"On the charges of misappropriation there appears to be questions as to the legal basis or authority under which bank debited the account of NIESENEL No. 77 Limited to pay legal fees to Gadens Lawyers. This is a legal issue which the bank and John Maddison in particular should answer. Although I note defense counsel had made appropriate submissions on law in this issue relating to the bank's authority under the Fixed and Floating charges or other interlocking securities but this is not the right forum to address issues of law which appear to be contestable. The proper forum would be the trail court. Hence on that basis I find that there is some evidence which is sufficient to support the charge of misappropriation against accused John Maddison and to warrant committing him to stand trial in the National Court.

"But the same cannot be said about accused Erick Anderson. All that he had his lawyers did was to do legal work on instructions from BSP. They then raised invoices. How the invoices were paid was none of Mr Anderson's business. In any case legal fees were paid to the firm and not to Erick Anderson personally and therefore he could not have misappropriated monies to his own use. The evidence is therefore lacking and is not sufficient to warrant committing the accused Erick Anderson to stand trial in the National Court on the charge of misappropriation. Accordingly I order that the accused Erick Anderson be discharged as to the information containing the charges of misappropriation and his bail monies of K10,000 to be refunded forthwith.

"On the charge of falsifying document under Section 414 (B) (ii) and (iii) as in the case of John Maddison I note that the accused has been charged with furnishing a document. This provision does not talk about furnishing a document. It rather talks about making or producing a document. So I agree with the defense submission that this charge is not known in law hence defective."

Outside the court room police investigators stated that they will be studying the whole ruling.

Complainant Peter Yama declined to comment, saying it is a police matter and they are the once who decide on the next course of action.

Central Bank warns of inflation


THE national government's unrestrained drawdown of funds in the trust accounts coupled with the demand for cash by the initial development of the multi-million kina Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and weakening PNG kina against major trading partners is creating unease in the economic circles of rising inflation.

This means, if the current trends continue throughout this year, there are fears that prices of goods and services may be forced to increase this year and the years to come if the national government does not take heed of the warnings of the Central Bank.

In a public announcement in the newspapers this month, newly appointed Bank of PNG Governor, Loi Bakani said there is a high level of liquidity in the economic system. There is too much money circulating in the economy. The Central Bank will continue its tough monetary stance to absorb this liquidity and bring the inflation to a manageable level. As part of its attempts to manage the economy, the Central Bank has requested the government to transfer its numerous trust accounts to the mother bank. But the government has ignored this request igniting fears of increase in inflation.

Since 2008, the Central Bank has made great strides by reducing inflation from 13.5% that year to 6.7% in the last quarter of 2009. While it is expected to continue a tight monetary policy in the medium term, the Central Bank is calling on the national government to manage the economy prudently by maintaining close coordination between the fiscal and monetary developments of the economy to maintain price stability.

As part of its monetary policy, the Central Bank is expected to continue its Kina Facility Rate (KFR) at 8% throughout the medium term subject to reviews in the first quarter of this year which is due next month.

HIV does not kill, tuberculosis does: Advisor


Tuberculosis has been a major killer in Papua New Guinea over the years together with malaria prior to the advent of HIV/AIDS.

While both malaria and tuberculosis still contribute significantly to the country's mortality rates to date, their importance on the health and development agenda has faded into oblivion as the country's major health priority is on HIV/AIDS.

But slowly, this silent killer is getting back on the country's health and development agenda with the realisation that "HIV is not killing people but TB and Malaria does."

"We cannot fight against HIV without addressing TB. HIV does not kill. TB does and we must improve our collaboration between TB and HIV," said Clement Totavun of JT International, a medical advisory group in PNG.

"Fifty percent of AIDS mortalities are directly from tuberculosis. People don't die from HIV. When people are treated with TB, they can live long lives with their HIV status," Mr Totavun reiterated.

The paradigm shift back to this old time killer disease comes amid discontent within and outside the National Aids Council Secretariat, the body tasked to manage and coordinate efforts towards addressing HIV/AIDS in PNG that the secretariat is not longer functioning.

Chairman of the National Aids Council Secretariat, Sir Peter Barter has expressed concern that funds earmarked for this cause in the past have been squandered.

But the worrying trend in administering tuberculosis drugs is that patients are not faithful in taking their drugs. This is making the tuberculosis disease becoming more resistant to treatment and can become fatal.

Kopkop imparts business tips

PROMINENT women leader and owner of Kopkop College, Maria Kopkop said for a woman to do well in business, she must be aware of and acquaint herself with basic knowledge found in business principles and in business codes and rules.

Speaking at the inauguration of the National Women's Forum - Equality And Participation For Women: A Better Future For PNG at the State Function Room, Parliament House, on Feb 15, Ms Kopkop said in the case where there is a lack of processed knowledge, practical knowledge and skill, experiences can be also very beneficial factor - which women have in abundance. She said women have it because it is chiefly women who have to carry the burden of raising the family in PNG society.

"When it comes to commercial business, I believe that the obstacles that keep us from being good in business are rooted in the emotional, psychological and spiritual conditions that have shaped our thoughts. It is very much a cultural thing. We have been too long conditioned to do only certain tasks. In such things like business we have been conditioned to be seen but not heard.

"My own approach has been different. We have a dream and we are endeavouring to achieve our dreams, but following our instincts and our own natural hunches. For me, this is the cornerstone of my approach to personal finance, and it is with this that has brought my thoughts and wellbeing to have fun in learning all about business and wealth," Ms Kopkop said.

She said life in itself is a mega business and with self-knowledge and emotional clarity, a life of abundance is within reach for all in commercial business.

"In commercial as well as non commercial business, it is important to know what it is that you want you to do in business. One must have a vision. To do business, the idea must come from your mind, heart and soul. It must become your passion and as part of your well being.

"To be disciplined, l use devotion, honesty, and humility to energise my mental and physical energy in order to take the college through its role and responsibilities in support of human resource development for nationhood building," she said.

Ms Kopkop said to have money to start a viable business is a major obstacle. She said PNG women have yet to learn of the tremendous strides women have made in India and South East Asia through the benefits from micro-finance institutions.

She said women in these countries have grasped these advantages because they are disciplined and better money-managers, having to eke out the pittance that their cash-rich husbands dole out to them.

She said in Papua New Guinea today, many of women are confused about where to turn for reliable business information. Often women are confused about whom to ask for financial advice, bank loan facilities and maybe other unplanned questions.

"Often, when we do get answers to our questions, we are confused because we want to be sure those answers are correct. The answer is in better education for young women in schools," Ms Kopkop said.

She said the times are slowly changing. Many of the female students in Kopkop College are not content to be simple down-trodden housewives any more.

"They do not want to join the growing ranks of single mothers destined for a shackled life. They want to be doctors, chief executive officers, engineers, pilots and scientists. They want to share the benefits of higher standards in life.

"My philosophy and conviction is that women must learn the basic arts of business practices to do well in business," Ms Kopkop said.

PNG HIV/AIDS Care Foundation


THE CHAIRMAN of a newly established NGO has called on the Government to seriously take stock of its efforts so far in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Peter Tulu Aro, Chairman of the PNG HIV/AIDS Care Foundation alleges that the Government pumped millions into the National Aids Council Secretariat (NACS) for its 'Condom Awareness Campaign' and it has not stemmed the tide of new infections.

He said the current media debate over the efficacy of condom use as a safeguard against infection reveal that more people were probably infected because of belief in this fallacy.

Tulu said because of the lack of basic services in rural areas urban drift was on the increase and this has led to the increase in prostitution. "These people are really vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections," he alleged.

Tulu has further called on resource companies and big business houses to support small NGOs, such as PNG HIV/AIDS Care Foundation and Churches to combat the AIDS epidemic. "These companies have taken so much of our resources and it is time they showed some civic responsibility and help in this fight," he said.

He said his foundation will concentrate its activities to the Southern Highlands and Hela Provinces." Every human being regardless of how you die or what they die of deserves a decent burial. We intend to look after HIV/AIDS victims and assist them become useful members of community," he said.

He said AIDS sufferers were stigmatized and there were instances were some had been buried alive. "We will need all the help we can get to ensure that everything humanely possible to ease the suffering of these people is done," he said.

Villages not paid yet for destroyed cocoa


OVER 10,000 villagers in the Kamkabe area of Bogia District in Madang Province are still awaiting payment for their cocoa trees destroyed to stop the spread of the cocoa pod borer disease in mid 2008.

Waiting time for a K1.3 million payment for the destroyed crop has now extended into a second year and still there is no firm commitment from former Agriculture Minister and Bogia MP John Hickey and Department of Agriculture and Livestock Secretary Anton Benjamin.

The cocoa pod borer (CPB) disease was first discovered in the Boroi village in April 2008 and later at Kayan, Gamai, Damur, Garik and Kabuk villages.

Upon discovering the disease which was by then also prevalent in the Gazelle Peninsular, government agencies decided to cut down all diseased trees as well as all other cocoa trees and indigenous fruit trees.

In the process, 146,000 cocoa trees were chopped down and the villages' primary source of income was taken away.

They were promised:

* K1.3 million compensation for the loss of trees (to plot owners) and loss of business (to fermentry owners);

* Replacement hybrid seedlings for all trees cut;

* School fee assistance in 2008 and 2009; and

* Medical supplies to aid posts in the area.

The K1.3 million was arrived at by counting the number of trees and the number of bags produced by each cocoa dryer in a year.

All these were to have been settled in a year but that never happened. A submission was made to the DAL office in Madang and after more than a year, no response by concerned government agencies was given to the Kamkabe people.

The villagers confronted their local MP and Agriculture Minister John Hickey on two separate occasions in the electorate and he told them to "go see Anton Benjamin (DAL Secretary) because I don't know anything about it."

Following a meeting of villagers, spokesman Bobbies Karbain took it upon himself to travel to Port Moresby to see the Secretary.

Mr Karbain arrived in the city on January 28 but has been given a run around by the Secretary's office and had to spend almost a month in Port Moresby and was finally able to see Mr Benjamin on February 23.

Mr Karbain had also been to the Prime Minister's office which in turn directed the DAL to address the villagers' claim.

"I have no relatives here but fortunately, a friend of mine has provided me accommodation. I was living on bread and water these weeks," Mr Karbain told this reporter.

Secretary Benjamin said he was aware of the villagers demand for payment for loss of income. He also told Mr Karbain that there was money allocated for it but the process to get it was long and slow.

Mr Karbain has been directed to consult the provincial DAL office in Madang to follow up on the case.

He said however, that there was also an option to go to court over the matter if the department was slow or reluctant to pay.

"We have approached our MP who was Minister for Agriculture but he was not very helpful; maybe he took us as simple, ignorant people," said Mr Karbain.

The Secretary's office did not respond to questions regarding the matter faxed to his office on Wednesday.

Havelawa dismisses K6m contract allegations

THE Acting Director of National Libraries and Archives has dismissed allegations by one-man, self-styled Millennium Governance Organization that it illegally engaged a security firm at the cost of six million kina annually without following proper procurement procedures as stipulated under the Public Finance Management Act.

This week, the Acting Director of Libraries and Archives, Jacob Havelawa said, the security firm in question was engaged as a matter of urgency after guards of the previous security firm engaged were believed to have stolen from the Waigani Library.

Mr. Havelawa said based on the quotations received, the security firm currently engaged is the cheapest - at K1.179 million. However, he did not say who the other security firms were who bided for the contract.

The Office of Libraries and Archives is still in the process of completing proper tender documentation before tenders are called in compliance of Public Finance Management Act.

Government must compensate for Tari town land - mayor


THE GOVERNMENT must seriously address compensation demands by the customary landowners of the Tari before further developments associated with LNG project in Southern Highlands province take shape in the town.

Tari town mayor, Ken Arawi pointed this out recently following what he termed as 'outstanding demands' by the Tari "papagraun" to the government for the occupation of their land.

Mr Arawi said landowners from nine council wards in Tari urban council have submitted their demand for land compensation to the government but are still waiting for a response.

The nine council wards in Tari urban include Piripu, Papiali, Kikita 2, Tulupate, Tan 1, Tan 2, Kupari, Pai and Kikita 1.

Mr Arawi stated that Tari town would be the centre of all business activities as well as the host of major service facilities such as the airport, banks, hospital, educational institutions and even other major infrastructure.

However, with the issue of compensation demands by the landowners still to be addressed by the government, it poses a threat to the future.

"To avoid disruptions to services in Tari town, especially those associated with LNG, the government must seriously look into the matter regarding compensation to Tari town customary landowners," Mr Arawi said.

Mr Arawi clarified that although the local people from within the Tari area would not be immediate beneficiaries to the LNG project, their land is where the township is and where business activities would be concentrated.

He further stated that the argument by the local landowners of the Tari town land is that their fathers and forefathers were not properly compensated by the colonial administrators or government representatives during that era.

"People still argue that they be paid compensation for the land Tari town occupies," Mr Arawi said.

"They claimed their fathers and forefathers were paid with steel axes, pieces of cloth and salt, which in modern times are absolutely very less in monetary value," he added.

The mayor did not specify the amount demanded by the landowners.

Democracy at stake: Olga

                                                                                                             By ALPHONSE BARIASI

A SECOND court-ordered recount of ballots for the Western Highlands regional seat seriously undermines the integrity of the government agency responsible for the conduct of fair elections, the Electoral Commission.

The recount also raises suspicions of foul play by those entrusted to conduct the election, Western Highlands Governor Tom Olga said on Friday.

"Our democracy is at stake," the governor said.

Governor Olga was commenting on the electronic recount of votes for the Western Highlands regional seat that commenced at the National Research Institute in Port Moresby on Wednesday.

The recount centre was closed to the public but independent observers were allowed to witness the proceedings.

Mr Olga said at the press conference that it appeared from the election petition by rival and former governor Paias Wingti that the Electoral Commission and its laid down procedures had been hijacked by corrupt officials.

He described the election petition and the resultant recounts now into the third year an abuse of processes and a waste of tax-payer's money.

"As a matter of principle, I accept the election petition. We have gone through the process fairly. Now we are going beyond the limits "(referring to a second recount when a first National Court ordered recount had already declared him winner).

He said the problem was not with the Electoral Commission but corrupt individuals who had been entrusted to do a honest job.

"People are taking advantage of the processes...this is a real threat to society. Now there is another recount. What does that signal to other democracies like Australia, New Zeland and the United States?"

In a letter to the returning officer for the Western Highlands seat, Mr Olga analysed the results of the 2007 election results and the recount of 2008 and stated why believes the results were manipulated.

"Despite the fact that total allowable ballot papers for 2007 were intact when counted in 2008, notable discrepancies were recorded in the elimination process. This leaves only one explanation and that is, unscrupulous officials may have manipulated the elimination process by playing around with ballot papers or figures to advance one candidate and disadvantage the other. Whatever it is, it will be determined in the second recount..."

"I'm not worried about the outcome; I am concerned about the integrity of the system. This has gone too far."

The protracted election petition and the void in political leadership at the Mt Hagen provincial headquarters have also derailed government service delivery in the province.

Mr Olga, however, said despite the absence of permanent political and civil service leadership in the province, Western Highlanders have coped well.

"The people are resilient; they work for themselves."

The recount results will be declared by the National Court after March 14.

Mayor calls for total liquor ban in Tari


THE COMPLETE break-down of law and order in Tari, the proposed capital of Hela province is mostly related to liquor, according to the town mayor Ken Arawi.

The town mayor in an exclusive interview with Sunday Chronicle, has called on elected national members of parliament (MPs) from Hela region demanding a total ban on the sales of liquour in Tari town.

Moreover, the mayor has called for a meeting where the Members of Parliament from Hela region, local level government presidents and even the developer ExxonMobil would engage in a round-table discussion to seriously look into the problem and other related matters and discuss how best they could solve them.

"Law and order has completely deteriorated in Tari, most of is related to liquor" Mr Arawi said.

"Beer is sold openly in market places and people are drinking public and are later cutting each other without any care at all," he stated.

He even mentioned that liquor is sold publicly as food items in public places. Moreover, people are drinking openly and without any care. It is from there that arguments over petty issues begin and fights erupts which usually result in people being wounded or killed.

He stressed that with the LNG developments taking shape in the Hela region, the problem could become worse if the issue of liquor is not seriously addressed.

A prominent youth leader from Kupari council ward in Tari, Timon Henry, in supporting the town mayor, stated that proper awareness needs to be carried out in the Hela region, especially in the LNG project areas.

He also called on the Hela transitional government and all Hela MPs and the developer ExxonMobil to immediately allocate funding for the awareness.

"I want law and order to be maintained because the situation if definitely getting out of hand," Mr Arawi said.

He also stressed that police in Tari must be seen to be doing their job. This is because most of the time the mobile unit based there is usually seen to be working for the interests of the LNG developer and not overseeing the general law and order issues in Tari town.

The mayor has therefore called on the police hierarchy at Konedobu to deploy more police personnel to Tari

Mr Arawi has also appealed to all chairmen of resource areas of Juha, Hides, Anogre and the pipe-line areas to assist, a million each from the respective parties to help combat law and order problems in Tari town.

In clarifying on the call for funding, Mr Arawi said because Tari town will be the headquarter of the Hela region, most of the services and facilities would be built in the township.

Mr Arawi said the funding is to assist set up a work-force or committee to be resourced with office facilities and vehicle to help in making awareness to help curb law and order problems in Tari.

Status report on road safety launced


It has been revealed in a recent road safety report that generally people between the ages of 10 and 40 years die as victims of road accidents in the country.

Most of these deaths are caused through excessive speeding, alcohol and drugs use, fatigue, vechicle factors, defects in road signs and simple carelessness of the drivers.

It is sad to note that most of these tragic accidents on record occur on national highways and major roads, a situation the National Government notes as a matter of seriousness. Statistics showed that 39 per cent of deaths were pedestrians, 10.6 per cent drivers of four wheel drives, 49.3 per cent passengers of four wheel drives and 0.8 per cent cyclists. traffic accidents in the report showed 39 per The proportion of the Road Traffic Deaths statistics shows Pedestrians 39%, Drivers of 4WD vehicles 10.6%, Passengers of 4WD 49.3% and cyclists 0.8%.

In a seminar held on Friday at the Granville Motel, the 2008 Global Status Report on Road Safety in Papua New Guinea was presented by the Departments of Health and Police. The Road Safety Survey was facilitated by the two departments in 2008 with the assistance from stakeholders which are the Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd, St. Johns , National Road Safety Council, Traffic and the Land Transport Division.

The purpose of the seminar was to launch the Global Road Safety Report and hand over the report to the Works and Transport Minister.

In the seminar, the National Road Safety Council CEO, Frank Aku, said according to the revealed statistics, there is a serious problem in the country regarding road safety. He said that there were road safety laws in the country for the last 20 years or so but no one or agency is seriously enforcing them.

He said that his establishment is trying it's best to enforce the rules and strongly urged other partners and sakeholders to do likewise. " It is time now for all partners and stakeholders to work in partnership and constantly collaborate to decrease the road accidents," said Mr Aku.

" Those who register vehicles, issue licences and enforce the laws must collaborate now for the interest of the lives of our people or else all matters regarding transportation would be done corruptively."

There was also suggestions made to build more over-head bridges for major cities, station traffic lights near major schools, separate lanes for cyclists and introduce sub-ways and train systems among others to decrease road accidents as much as possible.

Iwei questions RESI funds use


THE MEMBER for Telefomin, Hon. Peter Iwei has called on the Department of National Planning to fully explain the use of the RESI Funds.

Mr. Iwei wants the Department to reveal how the funds were used and the specific schools and provinces that benefited from the funds.

Speaking at a media conference in support of fellow PDM colleague, Obura-Wonenara's John Boito's call for an explanation to the awarding of K4 million to a dubious contractor for maintenance of Aiyura National High School infrastructure, the outspoken government backbencher said question must be asked on who had manipulated the system. "Is it the politicians or the bureaucrats? Most of us put in submissions after submissions and ended up with nothing," he said.

He said as the mandated State Leader representing the 40, 000 plus people of Telefomin he is entitled to some answers. We must not let this matter rest. There must be a proper investigation carried out into the use of these funds. Why some MPs got more than their fair share while the rest of us missed out, he said.

He said Telefomin High School, one of only two high schools in his electorate should have been considered for funding under this program because it is really run down.

"Instead I had to assist the school with K20, 000 from K300, 000 budgeted under my district's Education sector allocation. A further K30, 000 was paid to UPNG for students from my electorate," he revealed.

He said the K300, 000 was for Telefomin students studying in the various educational institutions throughout the country.

Monday, February 22, 2010

PNG's New Finance and Treasury Minister Tipped

...Timothy Bonga likely to replace Pruaitch

WHILE Papua New Guinea awaits the new cabinet announcement by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare in a major reshuffle to be conducted soon as promised recently, there are indications that moves have already been made.

Member for Nawae and National Alliance Momase die hard Timothy Bonga is tipped to take on the Finance and Treasury ministry - the portfolio once held by the party's deputy leader from the Momase bloc, Patrick Pruiatch.

Reliable sources close to government say Mr Bonga was happy about the appointment but could not comment when contacted last night as it has not been officially announced.

It is not known whether Mr Pruiatch will be given another portfolio but in recent weeks serious allegations of misconduct in office laid against him by the Ombudsman Commission could have caused him his job. It is understood Prime Minister's son Arthur Somare is likely to take over the deputy leadership reigns for the NA Momase faction.

Similarly, the NA deputy leadership tussle and in-fighting in the New Guinea Islands recently has seen a major rift and calls to dump Minister Tiensten over allegations of misconduct in office by island leaders could have the Prime Minister's backing in order to uphold his commitment in fighting corruption in the country.

Bougainville regional MP Fidelis Semoso has been tipped to act on the ministry until such time a permanent appointment is made.

The re-elected Works, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye and deputy NA leader from the Highlands faction is hinted for the Deputy Prime Ministers post, while his counterpart from the Southern region Sir Puka Temu gets back to his Mining, Lands and Physical planning portfolio. 

The move could see a split in the huge Works, Transport and Civil Aviation ministry. The Civil Aviation ministry is expected to merge with Tourism and Culture and would be administered by Minister Charles Abel who is tipped to remain.

Heads will also roll for several other non-performing ministers including Inter-government Relations Minister Job Pomat, Health Minister Sasa Zibe, Agriculture Minister John Hickey, Labour Minister Mark Maipakai, Police Minister Sani Rambi and speaker Jeffery Nape.

With all the chaos experienced within the NA led coalition government, the opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta has reportedly said they are intact and he is more than ready to change the government, but awaits the Supreme Court decision on the validity of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates before making a move.

Meanwhile, certain MPs from the Opposition have alleged an Asian mining giant has given a senior government minister huge sums of money (K40 million) to conduct what they termed as "under the table deal" in a bid to muster numbers on the government side.

The MPs said such huge monies should be put to go use rather then playing dirty politics and will be on alert to expose such corrupt practices when they are confronted.

Papua New Guinea Forest Minister refutes reports


PNG FOREST Minister, Belden Namah, has refuted reports by the Public Accounts Committee that K100 million disappeared without trace over a three-year period and that more than K8 million in royalty payment vouchers for the years 2001-2004 and 2007 were missing.

Minister Namah, responding to last Thursday's local media reports on the missing millions in the two dailies, told reporters that, it was unfair for the National Forests Authority and its Management to be ridiculed by the press when, the matter had already been death with in 2008.

He said the issue of K100 million 'lost' or missing from the NFA is not a new issue. The Post- Courier first reported the matter on Tues, Sept 23, 2008. As far as the PNGFA is concerned, it is a dead issue.

"The MD provided explanations to re-state the facts on the next day in the same newspaper. And the fact is the K100 million is an aggregate or total of the NFA's National Budget Appropriations for the five years from 2000 to 2005,"the Minister stressed.

He stated the Auditor General (by its appointed auditors, Tengdui & Associates of Mt. Hagen) had audited the financial accounts for the five years and that all payment vouchers and records are kept by the PNGFA in accordance with the requirements of the Public Finances (Management) Act 1995.

Mr Namah said if such amounts of money had been pilfered or mismanaged, the entire NFA would have had serious operational problems. 

He said, however, the Forests Authority was one of the most transparent organisations in the country.
"We have carried out major reforms in the industry and have developed one of the best Forestry Management Acts in the world and we should be commended," the Minister stressed.

He said Parliamentary Committees and any other group sensationalising issues should be mindful of the use of words such as 'misappropriation' as it harms the reputation of qualified people.

"These Committees must realise that they have to present their reports to Parliament before they can present it to the public," he said.

On the missing K8 million in royalty payment vouchers, Minister Namah said the process for collecting and accounting for royalties involves not only forests officers but landowners as well. 

Minister Namah said the landowners as the resource owners know their basic right to receive royalty at the agreed intervals and they themselves ensure that the system is effective.

"It acts as a check and balance and nobody, not even the FA would mismanage these funds as the landowners would shut down logging operations if such were true," he stressed.

Five State entities did well by PAC

A STATE enterprise which went to interim liquidation in 2001 has bounced back, not only making profits but meeting all the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act.

Post PNG was one of five entities commended and recognized by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in its first hearing for 2010 on Wednesday.

Post PNG managing director Peter Maiden said, "Indeed, the failure of the Post PNG Board of Directors and Management to provide Financial Accounts on a timely basis for audit by the Auditor General's Office was the significant factor in Post PNG going into Interim Liquidation effective 23 August 2001."

Mr Maiden said a critical success factor in the performance and compliance of an entity are the governance processes.

"Key to good governance is the preparation of the annual financial accounts and their audit each year by the Auditor General's Office," the managing director told the hearing.

The other institutions recognized were the hospitals of Goroka and Alotau, the Bank of PNG and the Institute of Public Affairs.

These are five of 1,000 government institutions that the PAC had inquired into. The PAC also commended the Auditor general's office for their efforts in auditing the government's institutes.

Plus for gender, minus for MDGs: Clark

PAPUA New Guinea is heading for the right direction in having 20 appointed women representatives in parliament.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister and now United Nations Development Program Administrator Helen Clark gave this commendation at a gathering dominated by women on Monday in the Parliament State Function room.

However, on the contrary the country is not ready to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Miss Clark said the appointment of women representatives and is going in line with the world's vision of having 30 per cent of the parliaments represented by women.

She said PNG may not be that close by 17 percent though that is good and the approach is one many countries in the world are taking to address the gender equality issue.

At the inauguration of the National Women's Forum on Equality and Participation for Women; a better Future for Papua New Guinea, which Miss Clark co-chaired with the Minister for Community Development, Dame Carl Kidu, the discussion focused on the need to increase women's voice and participation in politics as a critical means to promote democracy, advocate gender equality and achieve sustainable and inclusive development.

She said women in decision-making has been a critical issue in PNG against a backdrop of high level of gender-based violence, coupled with high rates of HIV among women and girls between the ages of 15-29.
PNG has only one woman parliamentarian and efforts are underway to reserve 22 seats for women in Parliament.

Meanwhile, on the MDG's the United Nations general assembly will host the World Summit on the MDGs this September. PNG would not be on track to achieve any of them.

Ms Clark said said with the resource development in the country, PNG can make huge changes in human development.

She told the gathering that the UN Development program could assist where possible.
Miss Clark and her delegation left Monday afternoon.

Sepik ready Expo

Words and picture by CYRIL GARE

THESE 10 East Sepik women represent SWIT or Sepik Women In Trade who this week were caught preparing their ID cards at Wirui Press in Wewak. They were preparing to travel to Lae, Morobe province next week to participate at the PNG Women in Business Expo to be held between Feb 26 and27.

SWIT led by East Sepik Provincial Advisor for Commerce, Elizabert Kaprangi (pictured above back row), is one of the four East Sepik women groups that will travel to Lae. Other Sepik women groups include FOWIAD (Foundation for Women in Agriculture and Development) led by Ms. Monica Otto, Mrs. Sumanop will lead East Sepik Florist and Horticulture group while Mrs. Donna Hukaku Balamus will lead the Sepik Meri Self Reliance Business Foundation.

PNGWIB President, Janet Sape told NBC national radio that Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare will officially open the Expo which will be hosted by Morobe Governor, Luther Wenge.

Mrs. Sape said the expo aims at promoting business ideas and opportunities for Papua New Guinean women and to raise consciousness and exhibit women skills and talents in the various products and activities displayed and build confidence in women as equally important partners in nation building.

Yama threatens to sue newspaper

Papua New Guinea businessman and former politician Peter Yama has directed his lawyers to assess a possible defamation law suit against the Post-Courier for publishing alleged damaging statements against him in two consecutive front pages this week.

Mr Yama said from Madang that in what seemed to be a peculiar professional exploit rarely seen elsewhere, he was made to look like a villain in a genuine process of law that involved his fight to gain what has been awarded to his company by the highest courts on the land, one National Court and two Supreme Courts.

Yama Security Services (YSS), a subsidiary in the Yama Group of Companies, had successfully taken out a claim against MVIL to pay a judgment debt owed for a breach of contract in Jan 1999. However, Bank South Pacific, where MVIL has its account, has refused to pay the judgment debt of nearly K7.6 million plus interest and cost and instead want to take the money to cover a part of a questionable figure of K35 million loan which they claim the Yama Group owes to BSP.

Mr Yama had successfully laid a complaint with police alleging conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by certain MVIL and BSP officers. While three senior BSP officers had been charged, police were working to interview PNG Law Society President Kerenga Kua and Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited managing director Dr John Mua. But it was alleged that the duo fled to Chimbu, resulting in the Post-Courier stories, implying that Mr Yama was involved in claims that K100,000 was posted on the heads of Dr Mua and Mr Kua.

It was also alleged that Dr Mua and Mr Kua returned to Port Moresby after their representative, Blake Dawson Lawyers, successfully took out National Court orders which granted leave to apply for judicial review of the decision of Waigani District Court magistrate Fred Tomo made on Jan 15 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 MVIL to pay Yama Security Services an amount of K7,303,115.85 but instead the said money was diverted to Deloilte Touch Tohmatsu as an agent of BSP.

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

Mr Yama said the Post-Courier passionately reported about the threats on Mr Kua and Dr Mua over their handling of the case.

He described the articles as a deliberate and calculated attempt to discredit him and tarnish his image and reputation.

Mr Yama said he had been a policeman for 10 years while his wife Agatha Yama, who had also been one of the first PNG policewomen, have both been in businessman for well over 30 years.

He said during these years from a humble beginning till today, he has never set out to break the law, or kill or injure other people in connection with his work or business.

"How could I place K100,000 on somebody's head when I have been on the winning side in the court decisions? I have been fighting these cases for over 10 years and now I am just happy to receive favourable decisions. How could I possibly be upset and angry and want to take somebody's life? These allegations are just baseless, unfounded with no substance and clearly defamed my name," Mr Yama said.

He said that because he is going against the big "fishes" or the elite group who have been collaborating and conspiring for far too long in business. That is why their friends are speaking out for them.
"It's not like me coming the hard way to be what I am," Mr Yama said.

Mr Yama said the news articles have done great damage to him. They portrayed him as a man who was out to kill someone. They portrayed him as someone who would place a bounty on the head of another person, and hire a gang to go after and kill them.

"The imputations are that I am a bad person, someone who will stop at nothing to get what I want.
"My integrity and reputation have been seriously damaged by these articles. I and my family have been ashamed. I cannot accept this. I have done nothing to deserve this. The newspaper and the perpetrators of these articles have no basis to publish the stories," Mr Yama said.

Mr Yama said he has given notice to the Post-Courier last Friday to apologise or the paper would be sued for defamation.

K50 million to upgrade Hoskins airport


THE National Executive Council meeting in Kimbu has approved K50 million to upgrade the Hoskins airport and three major roads.

The NEC also appointed three chief executive officers for three institutions and a new board for the Madang Hospital.

Works, Civil Aviations and Transport Minister Don Polye told this paper from Kimbe on Friday that the CEOs include a new Air safety Commissioner, an administrator for Milne Bay province and a CEO for Kimbe hospital.

While details of the other individuals were not ready, the Air Safety Commissioner is veteran pilot, David Inau.

This paper understands Mr Inau, can fly both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

Meanwhile, Mr Polye said the K50 million would be drawn down from a K1.8 billion loan facility with the Asian development Bank.

He said Kimbe is one of the major tourism destinations and the airport is given priority and work will begin this year.

The Minister said he had a consultative meeting with the governor and the provincial executive council and landowners of the site of the Hoskins airport.

The roads he said are the Kimbe-Kandrian, North-South in Talasea and the New Britain Highway linking the East and West New Britain provinces.

Mr Polye also said work is being done now on three bridges that were washed away by floods between Biala and Kimbe.

He said it would cost about one to three million kina. The NEC in Kimbe ended on Thursday and Ministers returned on Friday.

Opposition leader provides school desks

                                                                              By WATSON GABANA

OPPOSITION leader and member for Moresby Northwest, Sir Mekere Morauta secured K8 million from an outside source to build more classrooms, teachers' houses and ablution blocks for schools in his electorate. 

He revealed this whilst delivering 104 desks to Hohola Demonstration Primary School last Thursday. The desks valued at K31,000 were handed over to the school in a short presentation at the school ground. They were purchased through his District Services Improvement Program funds approved by the Joint District Budget Priorities Committee (JDBPC) last November.

Sir Mekere said that more than 5,000 desks would be presented to schools who have requested for his assistance. The JDBPC approved K1.5 million to purchase 5,000 desks for schools in the member's electorate.  Hohola Demonstration became the first recipient of this educational assistance this week.

Other schools that will receive similar assistance will be St Paul's Primary, Morata Primary, Boreboa Primary, Carr Memorial Adventist, Sacred Heart Elementary & Primary, Kay Primary, June Valley, Eki Vaki, Waigani, St Michaels, Ted Diro, Ororo, Tokarara, St John's Primary and Red Cross Special Educational School.

 "I want to see every child in my electorate to have a desk.  Education is the future of this country and our children deserve decent learning environment.  Education is my priority," Sir Mekere said.

"My plan is also to build more teachers' houses, classrooms and ablution blocks for identified schools in the electorate," the opposition leaders said.

"A plan to secure K8 million from an outside source will cater for this," he said.

He said education was the most important investment and urged the students to work hard.
"You owe it to your parents and yourselves to work hard.  You have a very long way to go but step by step," he said.

Head girl, Ethel Doruba and head teacher Homoka Boge commended Sir Mekere for taking time off from his busy schedule to make the presentations.

Kerema High badly needs funds to remain open

ONE of the oldest high schools in the country, and one that has produced some of the country's top brains is in dire straits for funds to remain open.

Kerema Coronation High School which produced former Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta, late Governor General and first Papua New Guinea writer Sir Vincent Eri and others was condemned by health authorities and needs more than K5 million to maintain its infrastraucture which has been falling apart since.

According to the board chairman Jack Narrie pictured above, health authorities condemned the school around October and issued eviction notices when a female student fell from through the rotting floors and sustained severe injuries.
Mr Narrie told reporters on Friday that the school which was opened when Queen Elizabeth was coronated in 1956 has never had any maintenance since and the buildings are falling apart.

The Chairman said the transportation of materials is becoming a nightmare with shipping cost going upwards of K50,000 on charters as there is no scheduled shipping into Kerema.

The Provincial Government gave K350,000 and committed another K300, 000 and  four classrooms.
Mr Narrie commended the provincial government for the help which he said was the first time ever for any government to give any such amounts.

However, the school would still need more to fully maintain the old buildings and or replace them.
He also told the reporters that four grade nine classrooms had since collapsed and the new classrooms would replace them.

The chairman said there is no science lab for a school which is situated right in the township of Kerema and the school needs one as science is a core subject.

He has called on parents to understand the dilemma he is going through and called for support from every person that would want to contribute.

The school he said could not close because it is the only centrally located school.
He also announced that the school has started classes last Monday, a week or two later than the rest and called for students to return if they were at home.

Diplomatic corps reassures Secretary Mawe

MEMBERS of the Port Moresby based diplomatic corps recently met with the newly appointed Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade Michael Mawe at a luncheon hosted by the Apostolic Nuncio at the Ela Beach Hotel.

Dean of the diplomatic corp and Solomon Islands High Commissioner, Bernard Bata'anisia, said the foreign diplomats were deeply honoured to have Secretary Michael Mawe as their guest of honour.

During the luncheon meeting, the diplomatic corps took the opportunity of exchanging views on issues of common interest between their respective countries and organizations and Papua New Guinea.

He added that the diplomatic corps also used the occasion to congratulate Ambassador Mawe on his new assignment as the Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

They also pledged to work closely with the Secretary, his Department and the Government of Papua New Guinea in advancing their bilateral and multilateral relations.

Secretary Mawe also assured the diplomats of his keen interest and that of his department to work closely with the diplomatic corps in advancing their bilateral and multilateral relations.

Ambassador Mawe was PNG's ambassador to Japan before being appointed Secretary.

Girls secondary school closed indefinitely


THE ONLY all girls secondary school in the Western Highlands province has been forced to close for an indefinite period after landowners demanded hefty compensation for the use of water.

Notre Dame Secondary school, a Catholic agency school was closed by the Archbishop Young of Mt. Hagen, this week after a round table discussion with the landowners and concerned education authorities in the province.

Landowners from the vicinity of the secondary school have demanded for compensation from the school for the use of a water well in the last 42 years.

The main water valve has been turned off two weeks ago, leaving the school and other facilities in the area without water posing a health hazard for the students and staff.

Bishop Young said the Church was providing essential service to that part of the province and if people could not appreciate the tremendous contributions the church was giving them then it was better for him to withdraw the services.

He says compensation will be the last resort but in the meantime the church and education authorities in the province will work around the clock to seek other avenues to fix the problem.

Bishop Young added that they had to close the school and send the 700 plus students home, adding that there was no water into the school and this has posed a health hazard for both the students and the staff.

Bishop Young said the only way to let the government listen to this problem was to withdraw such services, adding that the Catholic Church, as partners in development, does not have any money to meet the compensation demand.

The downhearted bishop also said that other facilities such as a primary school, a health clinic and an elementary school were also closed down as they all come under the Catholic agency and are all affected by the situation.

Meanwhile, the assistant secretary for Education Division, Mr. Hans Gima expressed dissatisfaction over the way landowners have taken up the matter with the school administration and the agency.

A frustrated Mr Gima said students have a right to education and such action by disgruntled landowners will now affect the future of the innocent students.

He also acknowledge the partnership role that churches play in providing basic services such as education, health and others in remote areas where the government cannot reach, adding that the education department supports the move in the closure of the school while they work on other options to settle the matter.

Mr. Gima urged the staff to remain in the school premises while the situation is dealt with by authorities concerned until some solutions are reached.

Sir J warns of revolt

NEW IRELAND Governor Sir Julius Chan has warned of a revolt by the People of New Ireland, if the National Government continues to strangle its advancement, by holding back hundreds of millions of kina, which rightfully belongs to the province by legally binding agreement.

Fed up with the National Government's attitude, Sir Julius announced in Kavieng on Friday the New Ireland Provincial Government was referring to seven of the nation's top public servants to the Ombudsman Commission for insubordination and defiant disregard of Political Leadership directions as the province steps up its "Give Back Our Money" campaign.

And Sir Julius has called on all New Irelanders to support the moves by the Provincial Government to seek all legal avenues available to direct the National Government to restore their rightful benefits.

More than K400 million in share benefits under the Lihir Mine Memorandum of Agreement, much of which have been pre-assigned to fund major economic, social and infrastructure development projects and programs under the Malagan Declaration are being withheld by the National Government.

Noting protracted power outages in Kavieng, strained medical service and government cash flow constraints since the start of the New Year, a disgusted Sir Julius directed his anger at the Prime Minister, the relevant Government ministers and the senior public servants "accusing them of negligence, lying, misappropriation, misconduct and corruption."

The New Ireland Governor further accused the National Government and the state bureaucracy of deliberate sabotage of projects clearly planned and outlined in the Malagan Declaration and the last three provincial budgets.

"We cannot allow the National Government to continue to insult and exploit our people. No more must we allow government ministers and bureaucrats to divert and misappropriate our inheritance," he said.

"These people are in direct violation of the National Goals and Principles of derivation in forcing us to our knees to beg them for what is rightfully ours, derived from our soil. How can they in their right mind, be so inconsiderate in not remembering the suffering we have gone through; the cultural destruction, increased social disruption and invasion of our rights to peaceful existence that once exist."

The Provincial Government has consistently over the last three years petitioned the National Government for the funds to be released as the planned major projects to impact the province's development and the lives of the people are being delayed beyond acceptable limits.

The Prime Minister himself promised during the an official visit of the province, a year ago in February 2009 publicly announced before the Provincial Assembly that he will honour and release K92 million from the outstanding Lihir MOA funds to support the province's budget to allow work to commence on major development and infrastructural impact projects. These projects are incorporated in the Lihir MOA but have been neglected since 1997."

Sir Julius pointed out that while Sir Michael did in fact direct the various arms of government to facilitate the payment of K92 million of the 14 years outstanding benefits, he and his government must accept culpability for the diversion and misappropriation of the New Ireland people's money to buy the expensive government toys such as the personal Falcon Jet and other dubious expenditure.

"Sir Michael's failure to deliver on his promise resulted in a deficit of K65 million in the 2009 provincial budget. This is political assassination of the worst kind. I have never isolated any province or groups during my reign. In fact the Sepik provinces had received special consideration in my time from roads to schools, agriculture and health services. Why now should he choose to belittle New Ireland, the hen that lays the eggs?

The National Government's attitude is tantamount to direct violation of equal distribution and derivation of wealth. And I am calling their integrity and competence into question under section 27.4 of the National Constitution. It is a smear of the constitution, it is wrong of virtue and creates a vacuum of suspicion and incitement, pushing the people to start thinking of their future in a united, dominated political entity where the small are discarded and their wealth robbed."

"I have lost all patience trying to follow the law. We abide by the constitutional laws but our patience is running thin. What more can the provincial government and my people do? We are exhausted being treated like small kids knowing we produce over K600 million each year for PNG.

"As one of the founders of this nation, I am forced to agonize over the thought of autonomy or even total separation. Most certainly, small provinces like New Ireland will never have the democratic strength to reach its destiny.

"We need to govern ourselves. Never doubt that New Ireland can stand-alone. We will be ten times better."