Thursday, March 5, 2015

#PNG's Civil Society highlights Govt inaction on 5th Anniversary of K780 million Finance Inquiry


ACT NOW! MEDIA RELEASE

The Prime Minister must take decisive action to ensure those implicated in the K780 million Department of Finance fraud are brought to justice and the monies recovered, says community advocacy group, ACT NOW!

K780 million in public money was stolen through the Department of Finance between 2000 and 2006. But, despite a Commission of Inquiry that detailed who was involved and their methods, nobody has been prosecuted and none of the monies has ever been recovered. A court injunction that initially prevented publication of the Commission findings was lifted in 2013.
ACT NOW! is staging a “Birthday Bash” at the Holiday Inn in Port Moresby today to mark the fifth anniversary of the Commission of Inquiry Report being tabled in Parliament. The event will highlight the irony that while the public has suffered a huge injustice; those responsible for the theft will be celebrating their continued evasion of justice and having a ‘bash’ as the Inquiry recommendations have not been followed through.
At the event, a cake will be cut and cupcakes depicting the K780 million will be shared to illustrate how fast the huge sum of money has been consumed and forgotten.
“Nobody has been prosecuted for their role in this massive fraud, nobody has gone to prison and none of the monies stolen have been recovered,” says ACT NOW! Program Manager, Effrey Dademo.
“The Prime Minister needs to take decisive action. He should reinstate the Task Force Sweep and ensure it has the resources to address this huge injustice.”
ACT NOW! has calculated the K780 million stolen through the Department could have paid for 5,000 nurses salaries for 10 years or for 370 new double-story classrooms to be built or provided 7,800 new police houses. But instead the money has disappeared into the hands of a few lawyers and public servants who are freely walking the streets as if nothing happened, says ACT NOW!
“Task Force Sweep has already proved its effectiveness in investigating serious corruption and has a track record of putting white collar criminals behind bars. The Prime Minister needs to ensure it continues its vital work.”

For interviews: Effrey Dademo (+ 675) 7100 1834 [from 3pm] 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Western Province must demand a standalone LNG Project

 

Sunrise above the Star MountainsAbove: Sunrise above the cloud covered Star Mountains where P’ynyang is located

As someone from Western Province, I was absolutely disgusted to learn that the P’ynyang Gas field in the Star Mountains has been slated into the existing PNG LNG project. What’s worse is the fact that the lame Parliamentarians from Western Province haven’t raised a single protest against the move.

In 2013, I attended a press conference where Gulf Governor Havila Kavo rallied Kikori and Kerema MPs to stand by his side to block moves by InterOil to court Exxon. The MPs were concerned that InterOil’s Elk-Antelope project would either be integrated into the PNG LNG project or would be a floating LNG project. The politicians were adamant that Gulf Province had a standalone LNG Project.

Fast forward to 2015 and with the plummeting oil and gas prices, Exxon and the State have made some very irritating announcements in the New Year. (Some analysts believe prices will remain low over the medium term)

Oil Search (Exxon’s partner in the PNGLNG Project) is hoping to convert its Petroleum Retention Licence (PRL 3) over P’nyang into a Petroleum Development Licence. In doing so Oil Search hopes P’nyang will provide gas for a third train (3rd processing facility) of the PNG LNG Project (there are currently two trains).

I’ve been observing from the sidelines hoping to hear a squeak from my MPs but the silence has been deafening.

Back in 2013 when I asked Mr Kavo why he was opposed to anything but a standalone Gulf LNG Project, Kavo told me that a standalone project would create jobs for Gulf people and contribute to infrastructure development in the Province.

Western Province MPs should be screaming their heads off for a standalone LNG Project in the Province. The fact that P’nyang alone is capable of supplying one train means that Western Province is past the half way mark in terms of providing the gas reserves needed to justify a standalone project (If we use the two-train PNGLNG project as our yardstick).

Right now, many of the small players in the province are keen on selling out given the downturn in the resource sector. Talisman, the developers of the Stanley Gas Project have been bought off by Spanish interests.

Western MPs need to be working towards consolidating Western Province’s gas assets and attracting major oil and gas players to acquire these resources. This shouldn’t be something new to Governor Wobiro, since he would probably be familiar with similar efforts undertaken by the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) to consolidate the province’s gas resources.

The benefits of a standalone gas project in terms of jobs, training opportunities, business activities and infrastructure development would be immensely beneficial to the people of Western Province. These opportunities for the people of Western Province will be lost should gas from P’nyang simply be siphoned off to the PNG LNG Project.

To add salt to injury, I was sickened to learn that Exxon Mobil had signed a gas for electricity MOA with the state. Back in 2013, when supporting Governor Kavo, Kikori MP Mark Maipakai railed against Exxon Mobil for giving PNG a raw deal in the PNG LNG Project.

What Maipakai was referring to then, is supported by the fact that the Government has to sign another MOA with Exxon to supply electricity to Port Moresby. Exxon hates PNG but loves our gas that is why in the original PNGLNG Gas Agreement, Exxon didn’t want any clause for Domestic Market Obligations. Maipakai called the Gas Agreement a bad deal because the agreement doesn’t obligate Exxon to supply gas locally either for electricity or the creation of a local petrochemical industry.

In other words Exxon Mobil never wanted some black people in the city of Port Moresby to have access to cheap gas so they never wanted that to be included in the original PNGLNG Gas Agreement. That is why the Government needs a new agreement with this greedy monster in order to improve electricity supply to Port Moresby.

Since much of the Gas slated for the current PNGLNG trains has been sold on forward contracts, Exxon Mobil would have to cover up for its greed by sourcing extra gas to meet the requirements of the gas for power MOA.

Enter the P’ynang Gas Field owned by Oil Search.

By tying up the government in the Power Deal, Exxon Mobil hopes to skip away from a Standalone LNG Project in the Western Province.

Anyone who has lived in Lae, Tari, Angore, Hides, Omati and Port Moresby during the PNG LNG construction phase knows about the economic opportunities associated with the construction phase of a standalone LNG project.

The people of Western Province would be stupid to let their gas be siphoned elsewhere instead of being processed in the province and providing the economic benefits associated with a standalone gas project

In signing up to the gas to power MOA with Exxon Mobil, the State is forfeiting potential economic benefits that could transform Western Province. This is in direct contradiction of the spirit of PNG’s Constitution with regards to the Second National Goal and Directive Principle - Equality and Participation. A standalone LNG Project in the Western Province enables equitable participation by the People of Western Province in the development of the Oil and Gas industry in PNG. Siphoning P’ynang gas into the PNG LNG project promotes economic marginalisation of the People of Western Province whilst increasingly centralising economic activity in Port Moresby.

Yes, Port Moresby needs electricity. But P’nyang should not be used to cover up for Exxon Mobil corporate greed. Parts of the PNG LNG Gas Agreement need to be revisited to allow gas from the two trains to be used to power up the city.

The People of Western province deserve to enjoy the full economic benefits of the exploitation of their natural gas resources rather than being hoodwinked by greedy multi-national corporations.

PNG profiting from human misery on Manus

Abott meets emerging PNG LeadersIs Manus a question of how much rent we can collect on the sale of our sovereignty?

The legitimacy of what is happening on Manus Island hasn’t brought up the political, legal, moral, and religious debates that it deserves. What is certain though is that PNG is profiting from the exploitation of human beings. Fellow human beings are being held against their will so that this nation can collect rent from Australia.

We may not have a history of slavery but our people have been Black Birded and kept against their will to make profit for the sugar plantation owners in Queensland. The only way I can describe what is happening on Manus is that it is like a rape victim helping the rapist to rape other people and getting pleasure out it.

As black people with the collective experience of exploitation of blacks, we ought to be moral beacons of emancipation of humanity just like Mandela and Martin Luther King Jnr. Instead we collude with our oppressors to oppress others.

So how much have we made from these poor souls?

According to the Australian High Commission website, around 827 Manusians are employed at the detention centre at Lombrum and a further 120 work on construction jobs related to the detention centre deal. 25 businesses on Manus benefit from K1.2 million in purchases made each week by the detention centre.

Australia will be spending A$ 513 million to upgrade immigration related infrastructure in PNG. In addition, Manus Island will receive A$ 37 million in direct aid from the Australian government.

The Australian government will also be providing additional A$ 420 million in aid for the redevelopment of Lae ANGAU Hospital, deployment of Australian Federal Police, rehabilitation of infrastructure at the University of PNG and scoping and design work for the Lower Courts complex in Port Moresby and Madang – Ramu highway.

Papua New Guinea is promised over a billion Australian dollars in goodies in exchange for keeping fellow humans in unlawful detention against their will.

Papua New Guinea’s unlawful detention of people who never committed a crime on PNG soil at the first instance, can be viewed as kidnapping for ransom. However this sort of state sponsored kidnapping is aimed at making money from Australia.