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

Local News

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



Saturday, January 16, 2010

K10 000 REWARD

Bounty for information to recapture Kapris

By EDDIE MOSES

A K10 000 reward has been posted for information leading to the arrest of notorious bank robber and prison escapee, William Kapris (pictured below).

Acting Police Commissioner, Tom Kulunga, announced this at a media conference on Friday as police stepped up their efforts to apprehend Kapris and his fellow escapees as soon as possible.

The escapees were held in maximum security at the Bomana Correctional Institution and escaped earlier in the week.

Acting Police and Internal Security Minister, Sam Abal, reassured the general public that the perceived siege mentality that has become apparent since the escape should not be allowed to settle in as police are doing everything possible to recapture these criminals. A male suspect believed to be the driver of the vehicle that picked up Kapris is already in police custody.

The Government has committed K3 million towards police efforts to recapture Kapirs and the other escapees. A 24 hour manned command centre has been set up and the public can call any of these three numbers if they have information on the whereabouts of the escapees. The numbers are 3413941; 3413942 and 3413944.

The Minister revealed that the recapture of the escapees will be a joint operation between the Police and Correction Services with the details of how each force is to be deployed being worked out.

"They can be anywhere in the country but they (the escapees) know that police is also everywhere in the country and it is only a matter of time before we capture them," he said.

The Minister extended his appeal to the community at large, and especially to the family, relatives and ethnic group of Kapris to assist police and convince Kapris to turn himself in. "The fact that you were in jail means you did something wrong. The community and the Government do not accept this (the escape). You have to accept and surrender," he said.

He said the community is very concerned and is assisting the police. "With the community's assistance the police can and will do their duty," he said.

He also commented that CS Commissioner, Richard Sikani's revelation in the media that Kapris was in Madang does not help the police efforts. "In my opinion he shouldn't make comments like that. Its police business. It doesn't help," he said.

The media was also cautioned to refrain from speculations and to consult the Police Media Unit for clarification of any suspect information.

The Minister also dispelled rumors that the cancellation of US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton's, five hour visit to Port Moresby was because of the prison escape. He said the magnitude 7 earthquake in Haiti in the Caribbean which left 100, 000 dead was the reason for Mrs. Clinton's cancellation and that the Prime Minister and Mrs. Clinton will reschedule a visit to a mutually convenient time at a later date.

Wig men prepare to seek apology



A DELEGATION of Hela people offended by a doctored poster of President Barack Obama in traditional Huli attire and labeled an African with doctor are traveling to America to seek an apology.  Chairman of the Hela Gimbu Association Yalirima Damien Tipawi Arabagali makes a point at  the launch of the "No Huli Wig man" witchdoctor poster while Agibe Kenge and a wig man witness  the launch. Details on the previous post. Picture by  JOE IVAHARIA

Sir Michael sad over Clinton's cancelled trip

PRIME MINISTER, Sir Michael Somare says he's sad the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had to cancel her visit to the country.

Hillary Clinton was due to spend Friday afternoon in Port Moresby before flying to New Zealand then Australia.

But she cancelled the trip to concentrate on the response to the Haiti earthquake disaster.

Sir Michael says a lot of effort went into preparing for Ms Clinton's visit, but he's extended an invitation for her to come again another time.

"And I spoke with Mrs Clinton this morning and she conveyed here sincere apologies. She assured me that she will make another attempt again to call in our region."
Nonetheless Sir Michael earlier on said in a press statement that if Ms Clinton had come this will be the first time for any senior US government official to visit PNG and hold formal meetings with the Heads of Government and State since PNG established diplomatic relations with US in 1975.

He said: "It is important to note also that in recent years our total trade (import/export) with the largest economy in the world, the US has gone from of 619 million Kina in 2004 to a record total trade volume of 2,156 million Kina in 2008.

"Through the establishment of our LNG projects and the recent Foreign Direct Investment of US3 billion Dollars the US is now PNG's second largest trading partner.

"This is a significant achievement for PNG with this high profile visit to the country. We have always been a people that welcome visitors with open arms and I urge everyone to once again ensure that the State Secretary's visit is successful and memorable, said Sir Michael.

Moroi made Goilala chief

By ABBIE COLLACO 

THE GOVERNOR of the Central province Alphonse Moroi was initiated as the chief of Goilala in a rare ceremony at Tapini last Friday.


The people of Goilala also took the time to apologise to him for not giving him the due recognition during the recent opening of the Goilala Highway where the Acting Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu and  MP for Goilala Mathew Pioya were both given the status as chiefs of Goilala by wearing Bird of Paradise plumes headdresses.

A spokesman selected by the Goilala Council of Chiefs apologised for the oversight and did the full honors by crowning him the Chief of Goilala. He was also presented with gifts the included five pigs, two  sheep and a huge decorated shelf of food.

The celebration also saw four pigs being slaughtered and cooked using the earth oven and distributed among the people of the 10 Local Level Government wards in the Tapini District.

Governor Moroi thanked his people and the Goilala Council of Chiefs for  the recognition and exchanged rice bags, cartons of canned food and cash of K15,000 with the people. The goods were  worth about K5000.

PNG to host regional water conference

PREPARATIONS are well underway for PNG to co-host the Pacific Water and Wastes Association conference early this year.
   
This will be the first time the annual water conference for the Pacific Region will be co-hosted following the successful win of the bid by PNG Waterboard and Eda Ranu at last year's conference in Tonga.

The Current Pacific Water and Wastes Association President is Mr Patrick Amini from PNG.

The Pacific Water and Wastes Association conference is an avenue through which water users and managers in the region can share ideas, challenges, and find solutions to address the growing concerns of managing water resources in a sustainable way while remaining commercial viable entities that provide a basic necessity of life.

The conference will also bring together suppliers of water products and infrastructure.

One of the main issues that will be discussed at the conference is the ever growing global concern on climate change and its impact on the mere three percent freshwater resources of the world.

Suggestions are being made for the theme to capture 2010's World Water Day theme of "Communicating water quality challenges and opportunities".

The conference is set to be hosted in September in conjunction with the Hiri Moale festival to give a taste of PNG culture to visiting guests.

An interim working committee consisting of PNG Water Board and Eda Ranu senior staff has been established and will be responsible for the initial ground work before setting up sub-committees to finalise arrangements for the major Pacific water conference. 

PNG Waterboard draws down ADB fund

PNG WATERBOARD is seeking approval from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to draw down approximately K600 000 for the continuation of the second phase of the Kundiawa-Gembogl pipeline relocation in Simbu province.

In a recent meeting with the ADB team, the PNG Waterboard's executives from the development division said the relocation is required to be done as part of the road widening and upgrading on this section of the highway which is prone to landslips.

Work started early last year when the ADB released a K400 000 funding and has been continuing since.

Principal Engineer Luke Thomas revealed that the meeting with the ADB team was a follow-up of a recent field trip to Kundiawa and meetings with the Simbu provincial administration on the major road project.

The team 'strongly recommended' that the second phase of the pipeline relocation be done during the road construction stage which Mr Thomas said will ensure road slopes are stabilised and widened for excavation for the pipeline relocation.

Mr Thomas however said issues such as land acquisition, crop compensation, land registration and compensation must be sorted out first to ensure the project is not stalled as the land is traditionally owned.

Currently, work is on-going and a total of about 2.5 kilometers from Kundiawa to the Ur water intake will be relocated.

Meanwhile, Member for Kundiawa Joe Mek Teine recently funded a feasibility study for the Mongoma to Kundiawa alternate water source which was carried out by Waterline - a private water supply consultant.

UK Govt to support the preservation of Carterets culture

Below: A Carteret Island family - What does the future hold for them?


THE British High Commission in Port Moresby is funding the documentation of the Carteret Islands' unique culture to prevent and minimise loss, as well as to assist the islanders maintain their cultural continuity across all relocated groups.

The project which will cost more then K129, 000 when complete will document distinctive aspects of the islanders' culture including songs and dances, ceremonies and traditions, myths and legends. This information will then be made available to future generations of Carteret Islanders and others. The culture of the islands will also be documented in a film, which will be made in close cooperation with local NGO, Tulele Peisa Inc. and in consultation with the Carteret Council of Elders.

David Dunn, the British High Commissioner said, "As is everywhere in the world, people identify themselves with their culture, the Carteret Islanders been no exception, and with their island sinking and the relocation exercise in place, it is important that their culture is captured for the identity of the next generation and beyond." 

The Carteret Islands are sinking due to geological reasons associated with their volcanic origins. Overlaid on top of this are the effects of sea level rising and storm surges, which are accepted as deleterious consequences of Global Climate Change.

Police partner with govt to enhance law and order

THE New Ireland Provincial Government and Police would step up their cooperative efforts to ensuring peace and harmony on the communities.

And they will be seeking the continued support of the senior citizens, village elders, leaders and ex members of the discipline forces and family units.

Provincial Police commander Chief Superintendent Ephraim Tomonmon and New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan agreed to this after reviewing the result of police operation during the Christmas/New year period.
Chief Superintendent Tomonmon reported a generally quiet festive period in the province, but expressed concern at the rising spread in the production  and  consumption of the illicit liquor commonly referred  to as " home brew" which resulted in two knife  fatalities.

Special mention was made of the contribution of former disciplined forces officers and the extra effort of village leaders on the West Coast and in the Central, Namatanai and the island areas which saw a very quiet festive period but the men pondered the increased prevalence of "Home brew" related activity, particularly among the young people in Kavieng Urban and the East Coast Tikana areas.

In a joint statement, Mr. Tomonmon and the Governor expressed their gratitude to village leaders, elders, church leader and the community at large for helping to ensure a relatively peaceful atmosphere in most areas of the Province, describing the police operations as successful.

The police chief thanked the New Ireland Provincial Government for funding the police operations and requested the continued help of the Provincial Government to set up police presence and monitoring in the communities, focusing on controlling the increased production of illicit liquor and drugs.

Sir Julius and Mr Tomonmon agreed to introduce interactive law enforcement presence between police, village leaders and the communities, beginning at Ungana on the West Coast, Murat and New Hanover this year.

Also police with the support of the Provincial Government are to conduct specifically targeted operations, four (4) times a Year to monitor and control production and use of illicit liquor and drugs.
But the "No liquor ban" policy applied during the festive period will be upheld in the province.

"We must believe and encourage our people to become responsible. We have to respect them and ask them to reciprocate by changing their attitudes to the use of liquor."

PMV driver comp to start

By LEIGH BOIN
 
FEB 1 will see the start of the MVIL PMV driver competition, which is open to every licensed class six PMV driver and will provide 15 drivers an all expenses paid trip to attend the 2010 NRL grand final in Sydney, Australia.

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

The competition is set up to encourage good driving practice and driver responsibility for passenger safety, and in turn rewards responsible driving. It is directly aligned with the new MVIL initiated campaign ROAD SAFETY - it's not a GAME.

So be sure not to pass on this once in a lifetime opportunity to be hosted by NRL stars Paul Aiton and Neville Costigan at the 2010 NRL grand final in Sydney. The clock is running and there will be no extra time.
The first 5000 drivers to register will each receive a specially designed "it's not a game" players' shirt, as well as football logo stickers, vehicle flag and passenger limit stickers to be fitted on each registering driver's vehicle.

 Conditions of the competition are:
  • The competition will be open for PMV driver registration from Feb 1 to Feb 26 and will commence from March 1, 2010 through to Aug 31, 2010.
  • To be eligible to be in the draw for the NRL grand final prize, drivers must not incur any driving infringement notices during this time.
  • Drivers caught drink driving, speeding, overloading or driving in a manner dangerous to the public will be removed from the competition by a special task force set up to monitor and police the PMV drivers. Task force members will each be equipped with breathalisers and speed radar guns and will carry infringement notice books to issue written notice to rule breakers.
  • Drivers caught breaking the rules will not receive fines but will be removed from the competition at the first notice, as will any driver who fails to stop at any roadblock set up for the NRL Driver Competition.
  • All drivers that remain in the competition at the end of Aug will be placed in the draw to be one of 15 to attend the 2010 NRL grand final. Winners will be flown from destinations within PNG to Port Moresby and depart to Sydney for the grand final on Sat, Oct 2. 
  • All winners are required to hold or be able to obtain passports valid for minimum one year from date of departure.
  • The 15 drivers will witness the grand final from premium seats and will have all meals and accommodation provided, travel in Sydney on an air-conditioned coach and stay two nights at a leading Sydney Hotel.

Lutheran Synod opposes homosexual clergy

By PANU KASAR in Lae

THE 27th ELC-PNG Synod held at Martin Luther Seminary in Lae Morobe province finally clarified the Church's stand on the issue of homosexual clergy.

The Synod attended by over 2,000 participants from the 17 districts of ELC PNG passed a number of historical resolutions.  The resolution on homosexuality was one of them. After hours of heated debate by the synod's theological committee, a final resolution was passed on the issue to be presented to the synod.

The resolution was passed with a majority voice against homosexual clergy in ELC PNG. The stand came in the wake of concerns raised by Papua New Guinean Lutherans on the Church's position in response to the legalising of gay clergy in parts of the Lutheran Church of America (LCA). 

The resolution eased tensions among the Lutheran population and gave new insights to how ELC PNG will respond to global issues in the future.

Albert Horick a delegate of the ELC's Papua district said: "Anything that is classified as sin in the word of God cannot be allowed in the Church. The church must also clearly state its stand to its partners, even the LCA". 

The Synod further resolved that homosexual marraiges will not be recognised in ELC-PNG. Homosexuals will be excommunicated and dealt with following the process of counseling and reconciliation.

Apart from this issue the Synod passed ELC-PNG's new constitution as well as its corporate plan and the election of the new head bishop.

Resources owners urged to prepare

NEW IRELAND Governor, Sir Julius Chan has urged resource owners on the gold-rich LIHIR Island to plan for life after the mine and not allow the windfall takings and the good life to cloud their judgment about the real need for sustainability into the future.
"There are no benefits from a mine if those benefits only last as long as the mine lasts and disregards the future generations of Lihirians and New Irelanders."

"We have learned we need to prepare for the end of the life of a mine. We have learned we need to make good investments, sustainable investments throughout the life of a mine if our people are to live better, not only for the next ten or fifteen years but for many, many years after the mine has closed," said Sir Julius.

This is the underlying concern of the Governor conveyed to Lihirians recently in his address at the launching of the Health Infrastructure Improvement Project by the Lihir Sustainable Development Programme, LSDP, which is the arm of the Lihir Mine Area Landowners Association.

Under the project, the LSDP has decided to extend the benefits from the mine to Lihirians outside the mining lease area in the form of funding maintenance and improvements to all health centers and aid posts and ultimately to the mainland of New Ireland Province. 

To affirm his message, SIR JULIUS related his experience during his visit of Virginia City in the United States, which was one of the largest silver mines in the world.

He said "at one time in the late 1800s Virginia City had the highest per capita income of any city in the United States, which means it had the highest per capita income of any city in the world."

"But what is it today?"   "It is what Americans call a ghost town full of ghosts of people who were once rich but who died poor and destitute."

SIR JULIUS said "all the millions, the billions of dollars that went through that town made no difference in the long run."

He said for this reason, LSDP is more than just a programme.   "It is more than just a series of projects."   The LSDP is potentially the vehicle by which we ensure that the people of Lihir, the people of Namatanai and the people of New Ireland really, really benefit from the mine."

 "As one of the last frontiers in mining development with riches not fully determine, PNG must give resource owners the full benefits and I had put this before the National Parliament to effect under proposed amendment of the Mining Act 1992.

"They are the people who will suffer the consequences of the mining activities and must be fully equipped and resourced under law to plan their future.

Sir Julius said the benefits sharing arrangement proposal is the only tangible vehicle so far that promises greater responsibility and autonomy for resources owners and the provinces to manage their affairs without the dictates from Waigani and foreign operators.

Tapini district LLG gets fourth vehicle

Below: Governor Alphonse Moroi giving the new vehicle key to the Local Level Government President Tumai Eri during the presentation ceremony hosted in Tapini by the Tapini LLG.


TAPINI Local Level Government in Central province has added a brand new Toyota land cruiser to their fleet of vehicles.

The vehicle would be used to help the people of the electorate to make electoral runs and move vegetables and local produce to markets in the National Capital District.

Central Governor Alphonse Moroi in presenting the keys of the new landcrusier said his purpose of the visit was to see the administration because for so many years services to the district was slow.

He told the people that the vehicle was given to the LLG for their benefit and not for public servants and LLG councilors to use for drinking sprees.

“When handing down the 2010 budget in Nov 2009, the government said the budget was to empower the rural population. The new vehicle is inline with this,” Mr Moroi said.

He thanked  Goilala MP Mathew Poiya for enabling the maintenance the Goilala highway and promised that he is committed to supporting him in the delivery of services to the people of Goilala.

The Governor committed K371, 000 for the Guari and Arerimu road and another K300, 000 for the Kerau road upgrading. He told the people to dirty their hands and to use the road service to bring money into the district.

Meanwhile Mr Moroi accepted the apology of the youths from Ivani village who damaged the Government vehicle after an accident on the highway and advised them to unite with the people of Goilala in building the district.

The Governor also presented K15, 000 to the 10 wards of the district.    

Fresh water to Australia must be processed here, say locals

By ABBIE COLLACO

PLANS to pipe fresh mountain river water to Australia may face some  opposition from resource owners in two separate areas of Southern Highlands Province.

People who own the water resource from Mendi and Lai rivers have questioned why Australia was interested in piping water from when it had ample river water in its north.

They have further questioned why the Australia was so interested in its PNG's natural resources but not as much in its human resource development.

A spokesman of the group Mr Jei Wai said, according to plans,  the fresh water will be also piped parallel to the LNG pipeline to the Gulf and into Australia.

He said Australia has big rivers in Cairns, Brisbane and Townsville that can supply the whole of Queensland and neighboring states for general purposes.  Drinking water has to be processed here as a finished product , adding to PNG's exports, he said.  He said the set up of the processing plant will allow people can be trained to supervise and can in return creates more jobs  for Papua New Guineans and the Government tax can be used to bring in services to the rural communities.

He called on the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to stop any Australian interest in piping fresh water from Papua New Guinea .

"We need more exports to strengthen our kina;  the more Papua New Guinea exports the stronger our kina becomes."

Mr Wai also called on the National Executive Council to reject the submission of the Australian Government to pipe the Mendi and Lai River water to Australia.

Murder attempt on MP for rejecting illegal claim

By GENO NAU BUGA

THE MEMBER for Okapa, Bonny Oveyara and the Okapa district administrator, narrowly escaped a murder attempt on their lives by certain individuals after the duo blatantly refused to sign an unjustified claim for government funds.

Mr Oveyara, who is still recovering from  the shock following the nasty encounter  in revealing this to  exclusively to Sunday Chronicle on last week, said the incident happened on December 11 when he and the district administrator refused to sign on an unjustified  claim of K250,000 submitted by these culprits.

"I almost lost my life along with the administrator. We were lucky to escape," Mr Oveyara said.
The MP described the attempted murder encounter on his life and the district administrator as the first of its kind made to political leaders in Eastern Highlands province and the political history of Okapa district.

The culprits, whom he described as opportunists had also damaged a number of vehicles, including a police truck, an ambulance and his official vehicle that were purchased through the Okapa District Support Improvement Program (DSIP) funds. The cost of the damages, according to Mr Oveyara is around K100,000.

He described the claim by these individuals as without justification and an attempted 'daylight robbery' on government funds.

Mr Oveyara has strongly condemned the action of these individuals who have tried to kill him and the administrator.

He said reports of the incident are with police and he has urged police to make a thorough investigation and severely prosecute those responsible.

The MP claimed that the culprits could be instigated by certain losing candidates and those intending candidates for 2012 general elections.

He added that whoever those people with vested political interest to refrain from such action and also create illegal pressure groups to go against the work he is going in the district.

Ship with 400 hit reef outside Kimbe

A PASSENGE ship with more than 400 passengers on board plunged onto a reef near Kimbe Bay on Wednesday afternoon.

No casualties have been reported but all passengers on board the vessel were evacuated out of the ship by a tug boat.  The eviction exercise lasted more than eight hours and involved local police and a security company in the province.

The 78 meter boat, MV Solomon Queen was heading for Lae after picking up passengers in Rabaul and Kimbe when the captain lost control of the radar reading and plunged into the reef some 800 meters away from the Kimbe wharf.

A tug boat was called in to salvage the ship out of the reef with the passengers on board but could not do much due to a low tide.

A shocked captain of the ship told this reporter that due to heavy rain coupled with fog and darkness he could not read the direction well and laid the blame on his first officer who was directing from the outside.  He said he would no t read the radar clearly and advised his first officers to control the direction of the ship from outside. 

He was however, directed to steer the ship directly onto the reef thinking the direction he took was to the open sea.

This would not be confirmed as most of the crew and the first officer locked themselves up in the cabin in fear of their lives.  Angry passenger, Kerene Anton said that had the captain and his crew not locked themselves, they would have been attacked.  Fortunately for them also, the police arrived in time to take charge of the situation.

"You are dealing with hundreds of human lives and somebody, the captain or the engineer must come out and tell us what actually happened and we hit the reef," another passenger said. 

The shaken passengers complained that the vessel was overloaded beyond its capacity of 200 passengers. A head count after the mishap confirmed there were over 400 on board.

This reporter asked the agent to confirm the number of passengers on board.  The lone woman who supervises the operations of the shipping company in Kimbe said she would check the manifest and confirm the actual number of passengers.

Attempts to get comments from the owner of the shipping company were unsuccessful but an investigation will be carried out by the PNG Maritime Safety Authority to verify the cause of the accident. 

Meanwhile, those passengers who traveled in from Kavieng, Rabaul and the Solomon Islands were told to fight the cold night at the wharf area while those in Kimbe and Bialla were asked to go back home and come the next day to book on the next ship which was already on its way after learning about the mishap.
It was also confirmed that the ship was also tugged out and is anchored at the Kimbe wharf.

PNG Power issues K3.5m in rebates

PNG POWER Ltd is issuing K3.5 million worth of electricity units free to its customers who were affected by poor reliability of electricity supply in 2007.

This announcement is in line with the company's undertaking to compensate its customers for not meeting the reliability standards as required under the Electricity Regulatory Contract.

For 2007, Zone 1 and Zone 2 are eligible for rebate payments while all the isolated diesel centres met the reliability standard and therefore were not eligible for rebate.

Zone 1 includes Port Moresby, Rabaul, Lae, Madang, Yonki, Kainantu, Goroka, Kundiawa, Mt Hagen, Wabag and Mendi and Zone 2 includes Wewak and Kimbe.

Customers on Easipay may have realised that rebates have already been paid in the form of additional units equivalent to the rebate amount being issued on purchase of power.

The credit meter customers have had deductions equivalent to the rebate amount made against their accounts which will be shown on their monthly bills.

The rebate payment and the 2010 electricity tariff reduction are exercises undertaken by PNG Power to accomplish its regulatory obligations required under the Electricity Regulatory Contract. PNG Power is taking measures to minimise rebate payments by putting in place strategies to improve reliability of electricity.

A lot more resources have been allocated for maintenance, refurbishment and augmentation of power supply facilities and new capital expenditure projects will also be undertaken to improve reliability of power supply and to effectively meet the ever increasing demand for power.

These developments will take time to accomplish but we want to assure our customers and the general public that we know what the problems are and we are doing something about them.

Nokondi Investment makes profit

EASTERN Highlands Governor Malcolm Kela-Smith has recently said that people of Eastern Highlands should be happy that their provincial government's business arm is now a multi-milion kina company.

Governor Kela-Smith said the entity, Nokondi Investments Corporation, has made a healthy profit of K200,000 for the last three years.

Mr Kela-Smith cleared the financial status of the provincial governments businesses when Goroka MP Thompson Harokaqveh demanded stringent measures to control the province's public funds and prudently manage its resources.

According to recent reports from Goroka, Governor Kela-Smith said Nokondi Investment's recent profit of K200,000 been tied to sealing the town road to the water treatment plant.
He added that Nokondi Investments has won private works contracts ... and trading with a liquid value of K15 million.

The governor, who is chairman of the business arm, says he had to give a K350,000 personal guarantee to
Westpac bank to stop Nokondi going into receivership.

One Eastern Highlands Development Corporation, a public business that manages major transport projects  and infrastructure services ... the governor said the EH Development Corporation only pays contractors and service providers on completion of projects, and, in this manner save the province millions of kina, which in the past were lost through the Works Department function.

Governor Kela Smith's government has tightened monitoring and reporting of all national and provincial projects.

Digicel customers win over K850,000 in prizes

Digicel, PNG's Bigger, Better Network has congratulated winners in two separate mega draws.
The two Digicel draws were made 'live' on NAU FM with the fantastic prizes going to a 33-year old father from Port Moresby, who was winner of the "Win a Truckload of Cash" draw valued at K200,000, while a villager from the Enga province was announced as the winner of the "Top Up and Win a Toyota Landcruiser" promotion worth K115,000.


Both winners received the big news on Friday. Kathy, who won the top of the range Toyota landcruiser, is a former preschool teacher who now lives in the Suringi village.

As a devoted Seventh Day Adventist Kathy's only son Ben told Digicel that his mother was thankful to God for the blessing bestowed upon her.

Meanwhile Simon, who will be driving away a new Toyota Hilux and the K100,000 prize money, said his family lives in Chuave, Simbu province and although he has no immediate plans on how to spend the prize money, Simon intends on flying his family to Port Moresby.

Digicel PNG CEO John Mangos said the "Win a Truckload of Cash" promotion which ran over 11 weeks, was by far the biggest promotion Digicel has run in 2009.

"Over the duration of the promotion, Digicel's giveaway prizes to the value of more than K744,700 to hundreds of lucky customers. The total value includes K124,500 worth of K3 flex credits that lucky customers received by sending text messages with the word 'Digicel' to 7878 (to enter the draw at a cost of K1).

"In addition, we also gave away more than 400 Nokia 6500 phones, collectively valued at K420,200 and of course the additional K200,000 came from the major draw for the truck and overall cash prize," he said.
He added that Digicel continues to bring the best communications in terms to better coverage, new products and services to the most remote parts of PNG.

Mr. Mangos congratulated both winners and their families, stating that it was a great way to start the New Year and announced at the same time, that there would be bigger and better promotions during the 2010 calendar year.

Digicel has started the year off with launching the "Back to School" promotion, which offers handsets with a SIM card, free K3 credit and a Free Digicel School Pack for your child. Offer valid while stocks last.

Senior PPP executive supports Tiensten's removal

THE move in East New Britain to dismiss the Open Member for Pomio, Paul Tiensten, from his National Alliance party executive position has been welcomed in New Ireland Province.

Describing the action as appropriate and timely, a supporter of the People's Progress Party Didimas Didim, alleges there are complaints in New Ireland about distribution of large sums of public money to unauthorized people who are his supporters and selected candidates for 2012.

Mr Didim claims the undercover cash handouts expose the obvious intentions by Mr Tiensten to build a base to secure National Alliance leadership in 2012 using public money and this is scandalous and outright bribery.
He claims people are being registered for a fee of K25 and given cash handouts of varying amounts for projects by agents outside the normal government stream and this is causing questions in the minds of the population about the existence of such source of funding.

In fact some accounts are known to exist, he says, and investigations currently underway into government spending over past years should include the illegal scheme.
Mr Didim says public funds irrespective of the sources, should be channeled through transparent systems of the Provincial Government rather than employing undercover agents that manipulate the funds for their own ends.

He says the people support the Provincial Government's policies to develop the social and economic sectors at the village level and the unauthorized agents are trying to duplicate the activities of the government and people must know if these allegations were true, they would be receiving unauthorized and illegal public monies which will only last until the elections.

Mr Tiensten won the Pomio seat in Parliament the first time in 2002 as People's Progress Party candidate but jumped the Party for the ministerial post.  

"The East New Britain Members are right to keep him in check," Mr Didim concluded.

NGOs seek combine force

By OMAE KOAKE

THE second Melanesian NGO Centre for Leadership facilitated national civil society organisation capacity building forum ended on a high note this week as sector leaders nominated  an interim board  to push forward its agendas.

The weeklong forum workshop was held at  March Girls Resort at Gaire village, Central province.
The forum, facilitated by the MNCL, provided the opportunity for the strengthening of the NGO networks in the country due to the absence of the national focal point.

The forum included churches and other NGO sector leaders and managers participating. The others were Susan Setae (Papua Hahine-NCD), Margaret Sete (Executive Director MNCL-NCD), Mary Kamang (HIV/AIDS Advocacy-Madang), Maria Linibi (Women in Agriculture-Morobe), Miriam Layton ( Appropriate Technology-EHP), Naomi Yupae (Human Rights-EHP), Tweedie Malagian (CUSO- Madang), Ken Mondia (Eco forestry Forum-SHP), Gail Edoni ( Churches-NCD), Kia Dama (Youth/Rehabilitation-NCD), Laeko Bala ( Women-NCD), Julie Raba (Volunteer-NCD), Moale Vele( MNCL-NCD), Brown Kapi (PNG Disable Association), European Union Representatives and the facilitators were Emele Duituturange ( Lead Facilitator-Fiji ) and JosephineNou( Co-Facilitator-NCD).

In the forum that is now known as the Kisere 2, the participants opted to have in place urgently an interim board which would take up the NGO's agendas and be considered at the major regional forums to be convened between April-Oct this year. The formation of the forum saw Susan Setae( Papua Hahine) elected as the chairperson, Laeko Bala(NCW), Brown Kapi ( Disable ), Kali Sete ( Churches ), Margaret Sete ( MNCL ) and Moale Vagi ( Prison Fellowship-PIANGO ) nominated  into the board.

The Kisere 2 forum was held purposely to nominate the interim board and to produce vision and mission goals. On the 27th of this month, the CSO is set to lodge their proposals to the European Union for deliberations and in Feb, there would be donor roundtable presentations and the meeting of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organization (PIANGO).

According to senior board members, there are many NGO groups in the country and all of them do not have the same agendas so many a time objectives are not achieved, therefore, it is about time all NGOs come together as a strongly established unit and push forward concerns because by then they would be recognised as a legitimate body in the country.

A visibly happy chairlady of the board, Ms Sete expressed satisfaction and gladness that the forum had ended successfully as planned despite minor hiccups. She said she was prepared to lead the organisation and requested cooperation from all working partners so that all aspirations are realised.

Farmers seek diversion of funds

THE Highlands Farmers & Settlers Association Inc (HFSA) has called on the Government to change its decision to park the NADP funds with Members of Parliament under the Districts and Joint Districts Budget Planning and Priorities Committee.

Despite the good intentions of the government to rejuvenate and promote agriculture and livestock industry in 2006, the monies that had been budgeted and disbursed over the years had minimum impact on smallholder farmers.

This and other concerns were echoed in a special general meeting organized by HFSA between various agriculture agencies located in EHP such as DAL, Fresh Food Development Corporation, Livestock Development Corporation, Livestock Development Corporation, Coffee Industry Corporation, National Agriculture & Quarantine Authority, National Agriculture Research Institute, Ministry of Culture & Tourism and Department of Lands and Physical Planning and Provincial government counterparts on Jan 6, 2010  to discuss various issues on agriculture, livestock, research and quarantine as well as culture and eco tourism at the DAL Highlands Regional Conference Room in Goroka. 

The farmers are concerned that with the NADP funding directly to districts, many districts might engage in ad hoc funding schemes that might not coincide with the National Government objectives in various sub-sectors of the agriculture and livestock industry. For example, the districts might fund livestock projects which could not be feasible as the district might have land limitations to cater for 200 cattle or also due to geographical and altitude climate.

Further, some farmers are engaged in farming in other districts than they districts they originate from. For example, a bee farmer from Okapa district has bee hives in Kainantu and Lufa districts. The farmer is a voter and resident in Okapa but his projects are in another district with economic benefits spreading between various electorates. Furthermore, the NADP funding could well benefit only voters and supporters of the chairman of the JDBPPC, who is the Member of the electorate while genuine farmers might miss out.
Sir Sinake Giregire (President) and Wilson Thompson (Secretary) of HFSA said that the coffee industry has been the industry promoted by HFSA since 1956 had cautioned the CIC that the coffee production targets are attainable as no new coffee planting has been undertaken in the last 10 years due to many problems such as land disputes, customary land tenure system where farmers do not own large tracts of land, law and order, infrastructure and communication problems. This problem is compounded by fact that the plantation sector which catered for 85 percent of coffee production has collapsed and the emphasis is now on the smallholders to meet 95 percent of all coffee production.

They said the current coffee trees in smallholder firms and coffee plantations were planted between 1950-80s and are between 30 to 60 years old and the trees are going senile, old and are susceptible to disease and cannot produce as anticipated hence the CIC should look at wholesome nursery development and distribution program to replace ageing trees and to cater for infilling or dead and old trees. This could be achieved by encouraging schools to involve in nursery development and seedling distribution whilst HFSA called on CIC to appoint HFSA to engage in this project where it has land in Goroka, Daulo, Anglimp South Wahgi and North Wahgi and the farmer network to ensure this is executed.

Navi Anis, CEO of CIC acknowledge the HFSA, Goroka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and farmers representatives call for dialogue and open communication and willingness to work together with him and the CIC and stated that he would look into concerns and address them as he occupies the position.

Mawe. Gonapa, representing the National DAL acknowledged that coffee industry needs to be revamped due to the old ageing coffee trees and need to meet the National Government production and export targets.
He said that DAL would not work with the organisations and associations to engage in productive relations between government, CIC, provincial governments and farmers to encourage small farmers, who in most instances are left out sue to infrastructure and communication problems.

He encouraged farmers to be realistic and to work hard on the land and the government would not assist with finance directly but through various programs and intervention projects initiated under NAFP and other DAL programs such as Food Security and integrated Farming Projects.

The farmers and HFSA appreciated the meeting and commended DAL for its support to farmers over the years and in particular to HFSA to network and dialogue with farmers and the National Government through various initiatives over the years. The HFSA stated that it will conduct similar meetings in EHP and in Simbu and Jiwaka in the coming months.

Floods displace Dei villagers

Right: The family had to pack and leave their house and seek shelter with friends as their house was under water.


By PIUS MON

WELL over 2,000 people had to evacuate their homes while food and coffee gardens, domesticated animals and permanent buildings and kunai thatched homes and church buildings in the Dei district were flooded after heavy down pour on Tuesday night.

 According to the PNG Christian Church Pastor, Ps. Timothy Gemeng, the heavy rain that started at around 11 pm on Tuesday night had resulted in an early hour flooding, around 2 am early Wednesday morning, of the Polie, Gumanch and Ulgimi rivers.

Ps. Gemeng said most of the affected family members were taken by surprise as they woke up to the noise of rushing flooded water into their homes.

And he said most families had to grab hold on to whatever they could and leave their homes and seek refuge at their neighbours' as the water level rose steadily towards the early morning.

The mostly affected tribes, he said, were the Komblas, Kulkas, Eltis and Minimbis who live along the Dirtywara area in the Dei District.

Ps  Gemeng said food shortage and water borne diseases will be a major problem in the area after the water level subsided as most of the food gardens and homes were underwater and filled with the debris from the flooding.

The affected people were now calling upon the concerned authorities, especially their local members of parliament, the National Disaster Centre and the Provincial Government for relief assistance as soon as possible.

A visit by media and provincial disaster representatives to the affected area early yesterday morning revealed that most food and coffee gardens and homes were still underwater while affected families remove most of their households and moved to settle with relatives.

Provincial Disaster representatives said they will compile a report and submit to the National Disaster Centre for relief assistance as they do not have any funds to assist with the relief operations at the moment.

With the wet season rains  hitting hard in Western Highlands Province, there has been similar scenarios' in other districts of the province a part from Dei district.

Early last month over 50 houses and a large number of food gardens belonging to the Mogie tribe were flooded by the Kum River in the Hagen Central district while the Kopi tribes lost similar properties as well as a new foot bridge to the flooding Mintinga River.

It is anticipated that more of such disaster will be taking place in the Highlands with the continuous heavy rain being experience at the moment.

Association to support assassination probe

THE China-PNG Friendship Association has vowed to support Papua New Guinea government and police in investigations into the assassination attempt on prominent Port Moresby businessman Jason Tan on Jan 2.  

Mr Tan, who is managing director of J Mart, is also Honorary President of China-PNG Friendship Association Inc. He was shot five times by gunmen as he was driving into his home at Paga Hill in Port Moresby. He escaped with injuries to his arm.   A statement from the association said as the largest Chinese association in PNG, it vehemently condemned this kind of cowardice violence.

"Papua New Guinea needs a safe, peaceful, harmonious environment. We will fully support the government of PNG and the police in the investigations into the case to ensure law and order are maintained. No triads (if any) or any sort of mafia activities should be tolerated in the country," the association said.

It was reported that after shooting at Mr Tan, the gunmen fled in a car. Mr Tan immediately alerted police and a mobile squad intercepted the suspects at Baruni. Two semi-automatic handguns and ammunition were found in their vehicle.

Two Chinese nationals, Changjiang Gao, 36, and Xue Zhufu, 38, one from the Fujian province and the other from Do Bay province, have been charged with attempted murder and are in custody.

Police are continuing their investigations that involve the questioning of some Chinese and PNG nationals but no other arrests have been made. The investigation team is trying to establish both men's employment, how they are in the country and other information about them.

Police have linked the assassination attempt to an alleged underworld Chinese triad operation in PNG. "This latest incident confirms the existence of Asian triad operatives in Port Moresby," Acting Assistant Commissioner Awan Sete was quoted in the media after the attack.

Mr Sete described the hiring of criminal assassins as an "ugly trend" in Port Moresby. Metropolitan police superintendent Fred Yakasa told the media that "it is a frightening situation. It is involving Asians against Asians, or Asians using Papua New Guineans to kill".

It could be linked, he said, to "business jealousy". Mr Tan, was brought up in Malaysia but has spent 30 years in PNG. On Saturday, only hours before the attack, he had opened the country's newest and grandest hypermarket, the J-Mart in Erima, near Port Moresby's Jacksons airport, redeveloped following a fire caused by an electrical fault three years ago.

His eldest son, Justin, was reported in the media saying that Mr Tan had been targeted for some years by business rivals who had hired assassins.

Former PNG police minister Bire Kimisopa warned that "Chinese mafia" had bought bureaucrats "throughout the system" in PNG.

The assassination is already prompting renewed expressions of anxiety. But PNG and its neighbours appear to lack answers, or the political determination to implement them.
  

New Australia High Commissioner for PNG

AUSTRALIA has appointed Ian Kemish as Australia's new High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, to begin his post in February.

Mr Kemish replaces Chris Moraitis who has been High Commissioner since December 2006. He is expected to take up his appointment in February.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs says it is committed to assisting Papua New Guinea to achieve sustained development and alleviate poverty.

Development cooperation to PNG topped $A414 million (K1.1 billion) in 2009-10, representing over 70 per cent of the country's development aid.

Mr Kemish was most recently Australian Ambassador to Germany, and his overseas service includes Vienna, Brunei and New Zealand.

He speaks Indonesian, German and Tok Pisin.

Marus presents X-mas and New Year gifts

It was all jubilation and celebration during the Christmas and New Year periods for the people of Talasea in west New Britain province as local member and Deputy Speaker of National Parliament Francis Marus presented cheques totaling 13.4 million kina as Christmas and New Year gifts to his people.

Three government and mission run institutes in the Talasea districts of West New Britain Province were proud recipients of the money from the National Government through the member whom with his JDP & BPC members personally presented the money to the people at Hoskins and Kimbe town.

Kimbe General Hospital received the highest amount of 7.4 million as a new year present from the member for the construction of a new maternity ward, an Operating Theater and a nursing quarter for nurses and sisters.

United Church Malalia High School in the Hoskins area received 4 million as a Christmas present while Hoskins Secondary School received 1.8 million for the rehabilitation and upgrading of its existing facilities for the premier secondary school in the province.

Not only were the monies were presented to the institutions, a registered and well established cooperative society at Voloka also in the Hoskins LLG received two hundred thousand kina from the member to expand their business operations.

While presenting the money to the institutions the member told the cheering crowd that it was a first time for a National Government to recognize the people of Talasea and West New Britain by giving more money to the people in a short period of time.

Marus said the government's millennium development goal was to alleviate poverty and increase the standard of living in the communities. The MP said the government under the leadership of Chief Somare was doing everything to bring our standard of living to the next level.

He said within the next few years a lot of changes will take place and urge the people not be lazy and wait for the government handouts. He said people must work extra hard in order to get government services, "Get together and come up with ideas where you can change your community. If you develop and come up with constructive ideas" then you will get my help" the member said.

He said the government comprises many young vibrant leaders who put the country first and with the best captain it was lucky for him and Governor Peter Humprey to be part of the crew. The member also acknowledges some tireless professionals from the province who put in a lot of time and effort to scope and develop project documents for each project. He said without them this won't be possible.

Finschafen leaders applaud help to Brown health centre

COMMUNITY leaders in Finschafen, Morobe province have expressed their gratitude to parliamentarians from the province who last month provided financial assistance to the operations of the Brown memorial rural centre in Finschafen.

The rural health centre had in the last the five decades prominent in providing medical assistance to the rural communities.

Brown rural health centre early last month celebrated its 50th anniversary marking its valuable contribution to health services to the people of Morobe.

Brown rural health centre received over K350,000 from the Morobe provincial government and K100,000 from the MP for Tewae-Siassi, Vincent Michael, MP for Kabwum and Defence Minister, Bob Dadae and MP for Huon Gulf and Health Minister, Sasa Zibe respectively.

Bongas Gango, a youth leader and former front-man of the popular music group from Finschafen, Rex band said the community was very appreciative and expressed their heartfelt gratitude towards the worthy assistance.

Mr Gango said most of the community leaders and generally the community around Brown rural health centre stated that the financial assistance will greatly boost the work of the staff at the centre to providing medical help to the masses in the Finschafen and neighboring districts, including Tewae-Siassi and inland Kabwum.

Morobe Governor, Luther Wenge who was present at the ceremony spoke highly of the contribution to health services by Brown rural health centre over the years.

The governor also thanked foreign medical staff who had given their valuable time to helping the sick in providing medical assistance.

Governor Wenge publicly stated that he salutes the wonderful work of the foreign medical staff at Brown rural health centre.

EH tightens up funds monitoring

THE BLOCKADE of the provincial budget and re-adjustments of project funding has fired up Eastern Highlands provincial government to tighten up the monitoring of millions of kina in national and provincial projects.

Governor Malcolm Kela Smith has written two circulars recently to district administrators and treasurers on the new projects money control and acquittals processes.

Mr Kela Smith stated that the people of Eastern Highlands have not got value for money for all the millions in DSIP and provincial projects for the last six years.

He further stated that about 25 million kina on national and provincial works projects have gone missing in the last six years.

He said despite the normal treasury and national planning control measures.  A lot of money in the form of project funding is disappearing into thin-air in some scheme of perusal between contractors and public servants.

The governor said the rot will stop this year because the provincial government is taking a direct hold of the physical project monitoring and assessment overviews.

He said the national MPs DSIP funding will also be monitored and reported to the Provincial Assembly in the first instance and documentation forwarded to the Office of Rural Development.
Mr Kela-Smith said the monitoring committee will start visiting projects sites by February and by end of this month all DAs will submit their project assessment and funding acquittals to the provincial administrator. 

The EH provincial government has allocated K8 million kina of its 17 million kina internal revenue to projects mainly roads and transport infrastructure in the 2010 budget.

The provincial budget of about 85 million kina was eventually passed just before Christmas.

Delivering a stern message in a friendly way


RIGHT: Acting ESP police commander Chief Inspector Parinjo with the billboard

"POLICE will come on you like wind, rain and fire!" This was the blatant message to the public in East Sepik prior to the festive period. The aim was to achieve a safe and peaceful festive season celebrations. But the medium through which the message was delivered was somewhat friendly. Police used of a large billboard fitted on the back of truck carrying the Royal PNG Constabulary crest with the message "with the people for the people". Children chased after the vehicle as it visited all communities in Wewak town in pursuit of candies and cheese pops. The style of such police Public Relation during Christmas and New Year period in the province was widely commended and already the public and business communities alike were throwing their support behind police work in the province.

Bekeepers urged to make good use of harvest season

BEE-KEEPERS, especially smallholder farmers in Eastern Highlands province have been urged to make good use of the current honey harvesting season experienced in the province to earn an income.

Moreover, they have been urged to harvest the honey and sell them in order to make enough money to help them pay for their children's school fee for this year.

Chairman of the Isten Hailans Beekeepers Association, Jonah Buka encouraged the farmers to utilize their time properly in harvesting the honey from their hives and sell them to earn monies to support their children as the commencement of the 2010 academic is a couple of weeks away.

Eastern Highlands is currently the leader in leader in honey production in the country, and with the peak of the harvesting period in December and January, farmers would be busy during that time.

Mr Buka said the industry at the beginning of last year was faced with the problem with the spread of a varroa mite, which affected queen bee, however, the problems was somewhat contained through trainings and a number of surveys in the province by Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) officers in the middle of last year

The objective of the survey was to determine the level of infestation and spread of the varroa mite in honey bees in the province as well as the current status of the honey bee production, processing and marketing system. The EHP, believed to be the core centre of the honey bee industry, was not covered during the national varroa mite surveillance and awareness conducted early this year.

Mr Buka said the survey was of vital importance to give the government authorities a clear picture of the status of the industry. The data collected will also provide in-depth information required for future planning and development of the industry.

He said previously in response to the outbreak of varroa mite, a provincial task force and a technical working committee were formed in the EHP and at the national level, a national task force was established. The response activities included a workshop conducted in EHP by Australian Quarantine Inspection Services, a scoping study on the impact of varroa mite on the pollination of major agricultural crops by NARI and ACIAR, and NAQIA-led nationwide varroa mite awareness, and now the latest survey. For the first time the outbreak has united all respective government agencies to work together to aid the honey bee industry.

'Major fraud' uncovered in use of Kikori MOA funds

A MAJOR fraud involving office of the Minister for National Planning and District Development, chairmen of landowner associations in Kikori, a foreign company and a contractor has been uncovered according to Mark Maipakai, MP, Member for Kikori Open and Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations.

The fraud involves the funding of K220 million for 10 Gulf major projects in Kikori. The projects were approved in a Special NEC Decision No. 199/2008 dated Sept 18, 2008 and initial funding of K60 million was appropriated in the 2008 Supplementary Budget. An additional K30 million was appropriated in the 2009 Development Budget.

The Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations and Member for Kikori alluded to copies of documents to his office from the Department of National Planning and Monitoring and the Ministry of National Planning and District Development.

Mr Maipakai in his statement to the media called on the Minister of National Planning and District Development, Paul Tiensten, to explain to the people of Kikori, Gulf province, and the nation, as to what criteria he used to authorise payments for MOA funds to chairmen of landowners associations in Kikori ignoring directions from the office of the Prime Minister and requests from brother ministers to have the MOA funds transacted through the JDPBPC.

The documents reveal that the chairmen of four landowners associations received the approximately K35 million of the MOA funds.

"The question is why have funds been released without proper project submission, status reports, proper accounting and acquittals?" Mr Maipakai queried.

The money was to fund:
  • Kikori to Kaiam road project - K40 million;
  • Kaiam bridge project - K12 million;
  • Kaiam to Baina road project - K30 million;
  • Kopi to Wouwobo road project - K25 million:
  • Kikori to Omati to Koumaio road project - K25 million;
  • Kikori Airstrip Redevelopment project - K35 million
  • Kikori Hospital Redevelopment project - K15 million;
  • Kikori Port Development project -K10 million;
  • Kikori Ferry and Marine Livelihood project - K8 million; and
  • Kikori housing project - K10 million.
Mr. Maipakai said that "no funds paid to landowner associations have been expended on any of the major development projects in Kikori".

Mr. Maipakai said the Kikori District Joint Planning & Budget Priority Committee (JDP & BPC) approved funding for Kikori to Omati to Koumaio road, Kopi to Wouwobo road; Kikori Airstrip Redevelopment; and Kikori Ferry and Marine Livelihood projects.

Minster Maipakai further alluded to a copy-and-paste tactic exercised by landowner associations and the contractor to lure the Minister for National Planning and District Development into approving the release of further K5 million from the MOA Trust Account, for the signing of License Benefit Sharing Agreement (LBSA), and related activities.

He said: "This is daylight robbery Minister Tiensten must explain to the people of Kikori. In fact the landowners associations who have received funds from the MOA Trust Account are not signatories to the 1991 Kutubu MOA, nor do the funds have any relevance to the Gas Pipeline or the License Benefit Sharing Agreement Forum, recently held in Port Moresby.

"We have in no uncertain terms conveyed to the Department of National Planning and Monitoring not to release MOA funds to anyone in Kikori district without any consultation with me as a Chairman of the Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities  Committee, a body that has been mandated to approve projects for funding under the new MOA guidelines. This was further instructed in a letter from the Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.

"I have acquitted expenditure reports to the Department of Treasury and Finance and the Department of National Planning and Monitoring on funds released through the Kikori District Planning & Budget Priority Committee to fund several of the development project in the district under the MOA.   

"I have been waiting for six months and these landowner associations have not submitted their acquittal reports yet funds are released to them. What motives and interest are applied here?

"This is not a fight against leaders. It is a fight against corruption. If there is corruption, we must weed it out. There is a major conspiracy and fraud involved in the payout of MOA funds to these named landowner association, then it becomes a case of investigation by Ombudsman Commission and police for justice to prevail."

New road and coffee factory for Okapa district

By GENO NAU BUGA

ORGANIC coffee from remote villages situated between Aiyura and Okapa in Eastern Highlands province will soon be making its way to central markets for sale following the upgrading and maintenance of the Aiyura-Aviana road.

Member for Okapa, Bonny Oveyara has committed K2-million for the re-opening of the road from Aiyura through to Aviana and eventually to  Okapa station.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the work to commence will be conducted on Tuesday, January 12 at Obura-Wonenara district station at Aiyura.

The MP clarified that in the colonial era there used to be a road linking Aiyura to Okapa that served rural villagers. During those times the local people traded amongst themselves and the patrol officers and other government services reach the people to conduct their activities.

Moreover, the fertile valleys and hills situated between Aiyura and Okapa are known for producing some of PNG's good quality coffee, most of which are organically grown. However, over the years, the problem facing farmers in these areas is transportation of the produce to the markets.

Mr Oveyara stated that the re-opening of the road and maintenance would be carried out in order to assist the rural farmers transport their coffee as well as have access to other government services and movement to town to do business.

The MP also revealed that the National Development Bank would be assisting to establish a coffee factory at Okapa station to assist farmers process their coffee right in the district.

He said the establishment of the factory by NDB would be at a tune of K2-million.
NDB's presence in the area is significant as last year it has allocated funds to the Okapa district for the micro credit facility, especially for rural farmers.

Wewak MP presents Vehicles


GIFTS are an integral part of Christmas, and Wewak MP and Vice Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Jim Simitab proved this to be so. He presented two brand new Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to Wewak police which came at no better time than Christmas to help with police operations in the province. Mr. Simitab was happy and congratulated Acting East Sepik provincial police commander, Acting Chief Inspector Charles Parinjo for his part in fighting crime in the province, adding that he will continue to assist police work even if it means buying guns and bullets for East Sepik police to crack down on crime in the province. BSP Wewak branch, Garamut Enterpises Ltd, and other business houses in Wewak have all contributed with fuel, biscuits, coffee, sugar and in cash and kind, in a show of confidence and support in police work so far. 

Sir Michael and Family donates Cholera medicine


LEFT: Lady Veronica presenting boxes of Cholera medicine donated by Somare family to East Sepik provincial advisor Health, Mr. Albert Bunat.

CHRISTMAS is time to consider and helping the sick and poor. Likewise East Sepik regional MP and Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, wife Lady Veronica and family had special thoughts for the Cholera affected population of East Sepik this festive season and donated cartons of medicine to the East Sepik Cholera Task Force.
Provincial Advisor Health, Albert Bunat received the gifts and further handed it to head of provincial Cholera task force, Dr. John Sairere.
In a brief to Sir Michael before the presentation, Dr. Sairere revealed total Cholera cases in East Sepik so far at 433 with 11 deaths. One new death was reported from Marienberg health center. He said Cholera cases were on the rise at an average of five new cases a day and urged the Prime Minister to put down the money if the province was to stand against and contain the deadly disease.
PM's own Murik Lakes recorded 21 cases, Kambaramba 228, Moim 84, Angoram 52, Biwat 9, Marienberg 3, and Wewak 32 of which 16 came from Nambatu Basis settlement where most Murik people lives. The Somare family acknowledged the executive chairman of the City Pharmacy Group of Companies, Mahesh Patel who responded to their plea.