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Somare’s attack on the justice system is sinister

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2010 by crimeandcorruptionpng

Papua New Guinea could be facing a Constitutional crisis as Prime Minister Michael Somare has launched a bitter attack on the Ombudsman Commision, questioned the integrity of the Chief Justice and issued a veiled threat to the police that he should not be investigated.

Somare’s is upset because two reports have been tabled in Parliament accusing him of wrong conduct over the clandestine escape of Julian Moti from police custody and the appointment of the Chairman of the Maritime Safety Authority.

Somare has described the Ombudsman Commission report in the Moti Affair as “stupid and disappointing” and has questioned the Commissions “integrity and objectivity”. He has also described the recommendation for a police investiagtion as “useless and futile”.

As Leader of the Opposition, Mekere Morauta has pointed out it is astonishing that Somare does not seem to understand the laws of PNG and the fact that he as Prime Minister is still subject to them. Morauta has described the PMs comments as “arrogant, shallow and improper” and accused Somare of a veiled threat to the Police Commissioner not to investgate him

This starts to reveal the truly sinister nature of the Prime Ministers reaction to the Ombudsman Commission report. If he has nothing to hide he would welcome a police investigation and  he would step aside temporarily while it is conducted. But he is clearly scared and believes he is above the law.

But even more worrying is the fact that the PM seems to have overlooked that the Moti investigation was headed by PNG’s chief judge – the Hounarable Chief Justice Gibbs Salika. It is the Chief Justice who penned the recommendation that the PM be investigated by the police and it is the Chief Justice who the Prime Minister is in effect calling “stupid and disappointing”.

If the Prime Minister has no confidence in the Chief Justice, no confidence in the Ombudsman Commission and believes he can intimidate the police not to investiage him then PNG is facing a Constitutional Crisis.

As commentator Paul Oates has said, “we now need to sort out who will defend PNG against those who seek to destroy the very fabric of our nation”.


Lawyer rubbishes ExxonMobil denial of responsibility for mass shooting

Posted in Crime - general, Uncategorized with tags , , on January 27, 2010 by crimeandcorruptionpng

A prominent lawyer in Mount Hagan, Papua New Guinea, has rubbished cliams by ExxonMobil that the death of 11 people in a tribal dispute has nothing to do with the company or its massive $15billion liquified natural gas project.

Papau New Guinea was stuned on Monday when news of the 11 deaths from a gun battle involving high powered rifles and the destruction of up to 270 homes emerged from the remote Southern Highlands region. The deaths reportedly occurred as a result of a tribal dispute over benefit sharing from ExxonMobils gas project.

However, ExxonMobil quickly moved to deny the deaths were in any way related to the company or its LNG project, saying instead that it was “a long standing tribal dispute”.

These denials did not impress a prominent human rights lawyer who works in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highland region and is well versed in large scale resource developments. “What a load of cr*p” she responded when told of ExxonMobils denials.

“The fact is that none of the killings would have happened if the developer [ExxonMobil] and the government had obtained the prior informed consent of the indigenous local people to the project going ahead”.

“ExxonMobil has failed to identify the resource owners. It has not resourced them to understand the dealings and developments that are proposed. They don’t have their own advisors or experts or even an advisory council.”

“If Exxon says its not their fault, that makes me sick”

ExxonMobil’s denial of responsibility was, rather bizarrely, backed up by the PNG police. Highlands police commander Jimmy Onopia could not confirm the number of deaths and said police had not been able to access the remote area, but he was able to state categorically “It is definitely not linked to do with the LNG project.” He was though unable to say how he came to that conclusion.

Corruption is well documented in the PNG police force and teams of officers often act as private security for foreign owned businesses.