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Prime Minister O'Neill wants probe into Namah’s election spending

Posted by Niugini Nius | August 19, 2014 | Posted in ,


PNG Prime Minister wants Opposition leader investigated.
Namah betrayed by MPs despite he spent K50m for their polls.
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has called on responsible authorities to investigate the K50 million spent on the 2012 General Elections by PNG Party and Opposition Leader Belden Namah.

Mr O’Neill raised concerns in relation to accountability on the part of the Leader of the Opposition who claimed that he spent K50 million helping members of parliament be elected.

He was responding to reports yesterday about Namah claiming that he had spent well over K50 million in campaigning for 91 candidates for PNG Party in the 2012 general elections.

"In respect of the K50 million he says that he spent helping members of parliament get elected, I am hoping that a proper authorities like the Ombudsman Commission should investigate where did he get that K50 million," said O’Neill.

"He did not have a substantial business until very recently. He did not have long number of years in business where he can have that kind of funds available to him so he can disperse it as carelessly and freely as he has done.

"We want to know whether he has declared all of this income, whether he has paid taxes for this income that he has been out there distributing around the country."

Mr O’Neill said regardless of the amount of money the Opposition Leader claimed to have spent, the people of Papua New Guinea proved that they will not be misled.

"Despite spending record amounts of money the people of Papua New Guinea have spoken, they returned him and his party with only six members," the PM said.

"That is a clear rejection to me. I hope he understands that the people have spoken."

Mr O’Neill instead suggested that the Opposition Leader should work with the Government to strengthen national policy instead of engaging with people outside the parliament to destabilise the government.

"He should work with the government that gave the mandate to the PNC party to lead this country for the next five years," the Prime Minister said.
 "They will judge us in 2017. So the more destabilising activities that he is trying, including using government agencies to try and target myself and other leaders in government, it is not going to work."
 
PNG Today / Post Courier

Madang Provincial Administrator arrested on Corruption and Misappropriation charges

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in , ,

THE former Madang Provincial Administrator Ben Lange has been arrested for allegedly committing fraudulent and corrupt practices whilst in office.

The announcement was made during a press conference yesterday at Madang’s Provincial Administration Office by National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate Officer in Charge Inspector Joel Simatab.

Mr Lange was arrested on three charges, namely; Abuse of Office, Official Corruption and the Misappropriation of approximately K452 000.

The former provincial head was arrested last week Thursday and appeared briefly for mention on Friday before Madang committal court. His arrest was the result of a joint investigation between the Office of the Auditor General and the Police National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate.

It was disclosed by a representative from the Auditor General’s Office that investigations into Mr Lange’s office were first spawned in May after the Public Accounts Committee’s Madang Inquiry turned up a few financial discrepancies within the Provincial Administration.

These financial oddities were found to be of substance by the Office of the Auditor General which led to the fusion of the two investigative entities and the eventual issuance of the warrant of arrest.

Mr Lange’s misappropriation charge was linked to a Madang based hire car company, one Izarahlambor Hire Cars that was alleged to have received K3.4 million from the Madang Provincial Administration.

Questions were raised about the rest of the K3.4 million that was misappropriated but Inspector Simatab stated that this information would be released to the public once investigations and a thorough examination of all the evidence was carried out.

It revealed that investigations are on-going and that other administrative officers implicated in fraudulent or corrupt practices would be brought to justice in due course. Mr Lange was reported to have been bailed out on K3000 but is expected to make an appearance in court this Friday.

Other questions were raised on matters that were unearthed by the PAC inquiry in February such as the mysterious, ’teachers paying for pay slips scheme’ that saw to teachers being robbed of over K150, 000 that remains unaccounted for.

Inspector Sinatab and his sweep team said that in this regard, they would be dealing with the larger misappropriation cases and that these matters would eventually be investigated and brought to closure.

PNG Today / Post Courier 

Information and Communications Technology sleeping giant in PNG

Posted by Niugini Nius | August 18, 2014 | Posted in

With the information and communications technology (ITC) growing in Papua New Guinea, more businesses are relying on such technology services to improve their services and products.

The Papua New Guinea Computer Society held their third quarter seminar for this year last week where members of high calibre IT companies such as Veeam and IBM attended.

Planning and operations executive officer, Auis Babalu said the society has been organising such symposiums and seminars to assist local ICT specialists network with other professionals abroad by airing and sharing ideas through discussions.

"We are still establishing links with other ICT organisations and groups like UN. It has been quiet for a while but I believe it is a sleeping giant," said Ms Babalu.

Veeam Software’s Matthew Harrison said the ICT environment in PNG is growing quickly, and many of the companies they have met are looking to providers like Datec and Veeam to improve their business continuity, backup and disaster recovery options.

"I think the PNG Computer Society does a great job at keeping ICT professionals updated with the latest developments in the industry, and I found it very worthwhile to network with a wide range of people from a variety of PNG organisations," said Mr Harrison.

Topics presented and discussed included back up and replication, end point management, business intelligence, software solutions and data centres, commonly known as servers and storage.

Newer software applications have been developed, while others are in development, for faster, cheaper and efficient running of data server management for business houses in PNG.

The PNG Computer Society has been running for over eight years and its vision is to be the voice of ICT in the country, updating ICT professionals with the fast moving technology in the virtual world in this world.

The society currently has over 200 members of ICT local professionals and is still growing.

To help stimulate the ICT growth in PNG and the Pacific, the European Union has taken the initiative to establish business clusters across PNG, in line with the country’s aim to become the Silicon Valley of the Pacific.

The ICT cluster industry is said to be a sector crucial to PNG in terms of providing opportunities for developing future pathway for the cluster’s progress, and is believed to play an important part in the economy of our country

MPs betray Belden Namah

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in , ,

OPPOSITION Leader Belden Namah yesterday said he felt betrayed by the 10 national parliamentarians who abandoned his PNG Party despite him personally spending over K50 million to fund their electioneering in the 2012 general elections.
But the Opposition Leader said he will not blame the MPs but the Government and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for not honoring their commitment to provide funding to the respective leaders.
"I am not surprised by the exodus of MPs from the Opposition to the Government," Mr Namah said. "It is not the first time this has happened and I have warned that my fight against corruption may leave me one-man standing in the Opposition."
"I feel betrayal, of course, you will feel betrayed and simply because to win a seat in a general election is very difficult," he told a press conference in Port Moresby yesterday.
"A lot of candidates look for political parties that will sponsor them to run under that party and then they look for funding. I spent a substantial amount of money but I don’t complain. I think in history since independence, I was the only leader of a party that announced how much money I was going to use or spend during the election and everybody heard and I declared it publicly and it was going to come from my own pocket."
Looking back at the 2012 polls, Mr Namah said he invested time and resources in the MPs and campaigning for them in their own electorates nearly cost him his Vanimo-Green electorate.
"I spent more time campaigning for my candidates then campaigning for myself. The guilt does not belong to me; the guilt belongs to them, so yes I do feel betrayed."
Mr Namah lamented the deterioration of PNG politics to "money politics" and said elections were becoming an expensive exercise.
The 10 MPs include his deputy Sam Basil, who has now joined Pangu Pati and Amkat Mai (Sandaun regional), Ross Seymour (Huon Gulf), Jim Kas (Madang regional), Francis Marus (Talasea), Francis Potape (Komo-Magarima), Lauta Atoi (North Bougainville), Daniel Mona (Goilala) and Lucas Dekena (Guinea) who have all switched to the PNG Party.
A number of the MPs, who switched parties and spoke on conditions of anonymity to the Post-Courier, singled out the leadership of Mr Namah as the reason for their departure.
Despite his surprising exit, Mr Basil maintained that he was still an Opposition MP and only moved because the Morobe people did not have a party leader.
The switch would also consolidate his position in preparation for the 2017 general election, according to the Bulolo MP.
 
PNG Today / Post Courier

PNG to reap major benefits from LNG

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in ,

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has given an undertaking that the government is committed to ensuring the country gets maximum benefits from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

Mr O’Neill, who was speaking at adinner last Friday to mark the conclusion of the construction phase of the project and the commencement of production and exports, described the LNG project as the most successful project ever undertaken in PNG since independence.

He said the government is committed to managing revenue flow in a transparent and sustainable manner and that it supports the government programs.

"Already discussions for the establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund is nearing conclusion and we will be able to take it to Parliament very soon. That will ensure that we are able to secure and stabilise our nation’s fiscal future and the future of our country," the PM said.

"We are now able to, at the back of this project, provide free education for every child in the country. We are also able to provide free basic health care for every citizen in this country.

"We are starting to improve the much-needed infrastructure such as roads, major economic highways and of course our programs are starting to reduce major crimes and making our communities much safer.

"I believe the completion of PNG LNG project marks a real "coming of age" for our country. The successful completion and delivery of the project, well ahead of schedule, earned Papua New Guinea two important accolades.

"First, we have shown to the rest of the world that our country is an attractive large investment destination and we are capable of delivering world class projects safely and to the magnitude of this PNG LNG Project.

"The second, the successful completion of the project and start of LNG exports has elevated PNG to that exclusive club of LNG exporting countries."

He thanked the leaders from Southern Highlands, Hela, Gulf and Central provinces and responsible government ministers for their leadership in getting the project off the ground.

"Seven years later the project has been delivered, and the first exports have begun. We can now proudly point to a massive resource development that has taken place. Infrastructure has been built, thousands of jobs have been provided for people and of course the revenue that will come as a result of this project.

"We must build on this success to deliver economic and social services that our country demands and our future generations demand," the Prime Minister said. 

PNG Today / Post Courier

Five judges to hear pending O'Neill arrest warrant case

Posted by Niugini Nius | August 17, 2014 | Posted in , ,

A FULL Supreme Court bench of five judges is expected to hear three constitutional references relating to several constitutional questions.

The questions relate to cases involving the pending arrest warrant against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

The three constitutional references were perused respectively by Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, Justice Gavara-Nanu and Justice Minister and Attorney General Ano Pala.

Most of the questions raised in the references were in relation to specific laws on the duties and functions of the police and the courts which required the Supreme Court’s interpretation.

The references were consolidated during the directions hearing before Chief Justice Sir Salamo, who presided as a single Supreme Court judge last week. The parties involved in the references were advised at the directions hearing to return to court on August 22 for status conference followed by the full hearing on August 29, 2014.

Some of the questions raised in the references that required the Supreme Court’s interpretation were;
 •
Whether the Police Com-missioner has standing or sufficient interest to seek leave for judicial review of the decision of the Chief Magistrate given of 12 June, 2014, to issue a warrant of arrest against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill following an application made by a member of the police force;
 •
Whether the Police Commissioner or any of the member of the police force has powers under section 192 of the Constitution to direct or control another member of the Police Force in the discharge of his/her function under section 197 or the Constitution to lay, prosecute or withdraw charges in respect of an offence or offences; and
 •
Whether the Police Commissioner has powers to make decisions or issue directions or orders in relation to members of the police force, whether, in appropriate cases, the function of the police force to lay, prosecute or withdraw charges in respect of offences may be subject to direction or control by the police commissioner.

These questions and others would be interpreted by the full Supreme Court bench first to clear path for the respective cases to proceed.

PNG Today/ Post Courier.

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Wynnum Manly Seagulls beat PNG Hunters 28 - 10

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in

THE Papua New Guinea Hunters went down fighting as their hopes of making the Queensland Cup finals were all but dashed by the Wynnum Manly Seagulls with a 28-10 loss at the BMD Kougari Oval yesterday in Brisbane.
The win did not come easy for the Wynnum team though as Michael Marum’s men fought until the last whistle, showing that they were certainly not out of their depth in this competition.
Competition leading try-scorer Gary Lo was denied a four-pointer on two occasions but scored in his third attempt early in the second half to bring his tally to 23 tries.
The sixth-placed Hunters’ (on 29 points) loss means their hopes for cracking the top five appear unlikely
even though the fifth-placed Tweed Heads Seagulls (on 31) were beaten by the Easts Tigers 40-4 and fourth-placed Ipswich Jets (on 32) picked two points for the bye.
Tweed Heads take on last-placed Sunsine Coast Falcons next round, while the Jets face a big challenge in minor premiers, the Northern Pride. The Hunters take on the Souths Logam Magpies in their final game of the regular season.
The Hunters were their own worst enemies as penalties mostly for slowing the play of the ball were given away.
This cheap territory and possession for the home side enabled them to establish a lead and hold on to it for the game.
The visitors looked likely to score early on with lock forward Brandy Peter breaking the line before offloading but the pass was called forward.
The Wynnum pack responded by surging down field and drew a penalty which got them to a good attacking set.
Hunters could not keep out the barrage, with hooker Jake Granville and halfback Matthew Seamark collecting runners and applying pressure on the Hunters defence.
Wynnum crossed the chalk but was called back for obstruction.
The Hunters defence was finally cracked when second-rower, Graham Clark slipped in for a try and Seamark converted in the 21st minute for a 6-0 lead.
Hunters centre Thompson Teteh got his side back in the game with an opportunistic effort against the run of play 10-metres out from the Seagulls line.
Skipper Israel Eliab missed the conversion to trail 4-6.
Marum made a positional switch, sending Albert Patak to fullback and Eliab at five-eighth but with the Hunters defending for most of the half the ploy did not have a chance to work.
Wynnum’s wave of attacks, saw No.6 Ben Cronin step past several flailing defenders to score his side’s second touchdown.Seamark converted for a 12-4 lead.
Seamark slotted another penalty on halftime for the Seagulls to take a 10-point lead into the break at 14-4.
The second half started disastrously for the Hunters as Wynnum fullback Daniel Ogden scored after only two minutes. 
Hunters replied through Lo eight minutes later, but his second attempt was disallowed after the final offload from utility Noel Zemming was called forward. The score was 18-10 at that stage.
Consecutive penalties milked from the ruck sapped more strength from the Hunters.
That was compounded with disallowed tries to Stanton Albert, Adex Wera and Timothy Lomai frustrating the Hunters, who were losing touch with the game.
Seamark stepped past Willie Minoga and raced 80-metres before being dragged down by Zemming.
In the ensuing play, Lawrence Tu’u was caught off-guard as Granville burrowed in to score a converted try at 24-10.
Jordan Kahu then scored in the corner to seal the victory 28-10.
 
PNG Today/ The National

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