SOUTH PACIFIC POST
FORMER businessman and now minister for Finance and Treasury Peter O’Neill “definitely benefited from proceeds of the NPF Tower Fraud,’’ the final report of the NPF Commission of Inquiry states.
The report says the commission made a thorough study of Port Moresby First Real Estate’s accounts and traced all monies paid in and out on account of Mr O’Neill.
“This conclusively showed that Mr O’Neill had definitely benefitted from the proceeds of the NPF Tower Fraud,” it said.
“It also shows that despite his denials, Mr O’Neill is the beneficial owner of Port Moresby First Real Estate.”
The report says it is clear that there is a relationship between Jimmy Maladina and Mr O’Neill whereby they have benefitted jointly from the NPF Tower Fraud.
The commission traced payments made from Carter Newell lawyers to Port Moresby First national Real Estate’s interest bearing deposit account with Nambawan Finance Limited.
It highlighted an amount of K500,000 from Carter Newell on January 18, 1999, another K100,000 deposited on February 25, 1999 and “ when Mr Maladina’s K300,000 of NPF Tower fraud money was added on 16th March 1999, both of these deposits became a single IBD — Deposit No. C08541 of K914,616.00”.
The report states the various amount of NPF Tower fraud money known to have been transferred from the No.1 Trust account to the No.2 Trust Account are listed as well as amounts of the Tower fraud money paid directly into the No.2 Trust Account and amounts paid in from the Nambawan finance deposit (see 12.4.1).
Each payment was traced by the commission, which determined which amounts were credited as “off-book” and which amounts were credited to a numbered ledger.
The results were that K100,000 cheque No 266929 transferred form No.1 Trust Account to No.2 Trust Account on May 14, 1999 (on the same day cheque No 263729 was drawn to cash which was cashed and collected by one Dick Yanda).
In its concluding comments on the second acceleration claim, the report states:
“The investigation into the spurious second acceleration payment has clearly demonstrated that it involved a carefully planned fraud on the NPF, instigated and carried out by Mr Maladina, with the active involvement and support of Mr Herman Leahy. Mr Leahy’s wife Ms Angelina Sariman played a supporting role as a principal offender. Mr Ken Yapane was also involved, at least as an accessory and receiver of fraudulently obtained money. The two managers of Kumagai Gumi were reluctant participants and are also principal offenders. Mr Fabila had knowledge of what was occurring. He failed to stop it and signed documents which helped to perpetrate the fraud.
“The tracing of the NPF money, paid as six progress payments by Kumagai Gumi, plus the K150,000 personal commission for Mr Maladina shows quite clearly who the beneficiaries of most of the Tower fraud monies were.
“These included Mr Maladina and his wife and companies, Mr Leahy and his wife and companies and Mr Ken Yapane.
“Substantial amounts were paid into PMFNRE accounts and substantial parts of these monies were paid for the benefit of Mr Peter O’Neill.”
This finding was vigorously denied by Mr O’Neill, who argued that although it appears on paper that payments for his benefit came from ledgers containing NPF Tower fraud money, he in fact had other monies of his own in other PMFNRE accounts, which were the true and “innocent” source of monies paid out to himself, his companies and his family company.
“To assess Mr O’Neill’s claim the commission made a thorough study of PMFNRE’s accounts and traced all monies paid in and out on account of Mr O’Neill. This conclusively showed that Mr O’Neill had definitely benefitted from the proceeds of the NPF Tower fraud. It also showed that, despite his denials, Mr O’Neill is the beneficial owner of PMFNRE and that Messrs Sullivan and Awela are his nominee shareholders.
“It is quite clear that there is a relationship between Mr Maladina and Mr O’Neill whereby they have benefitted jointly from the NPF Tower fraud.”
Among the many findings made against Mr O’Neill, the commission has found that Mr O’Neill had concealed his interest in Nama Coffee Exports Ltd, which had borrowed K4 million from PNGBC while Mr O’Neill was executive director of Finance Pacific which was owned/controlled by PNGBC.
The commission also found that a payment of cheque number 263604 for K100,000 was made by Port Moresby First Real Estate for and on behalf of Mr Peter O’Neill to secure his 25 per cent shareholding, held in the name of a Mr Jack Awela, in Nama Coffee Exports Limited.
The commission recommends that Mr O’Neill be referred to the Ombudsman Commission:
(a) to consider whether he has breached the Leadership Code by receiving the benefit of money derived from the NPF Tower fraud and by concealing his interest in Nama Coffee Exports Ltd; and
(b) consider whether Mr O’Neill had breached the Leadership Code when executive director of Finance Pacific when PNGBC extended loan facilities to Nama Coffee Exports Ltd in which Mr O’Neill had an undisclosed interest .
The report also highlights the use of NPF Tower fraud money totalling K960,000 for the purchase by Bluehaven No 42, of the Manamatana Flats.
The commission has found that Bluehaven 42 was owned by Mr O’Neill (with shares being held on trust for him) and that on March 8, 2000, it was owned by LBJ Investments — a company set up for Mr O’Neill’s children.
The balance of the purchase price for the Manamatana Flats was paid out of PMFNRE in April, 2000, at which time Bluehaven No 42 was owned by Mr O’Neill’s children’s company, LBJ Investments.
“After the Commission of Inquiry was established on April, 11, 2000, attempts were made to hide the source of the funding by fabricating an agreement between Global Halshaw and Property and Investment Consultants Ltd (Mr Maurice Sullivan) shown as dated June 24, 1999, lending funds to purchase investment properties in Port Moresby. This document is clearly false and ignores the fact that Property and Investment Consultants was not a shareholder in Bluehaven No 42.”
The report states it is clear that Mr Sullivan, Mr Barker and Mr O’Neill have been involved in this cover up and that Ken Barker and Mr O’Neill committed perjury.
The report states that:
(a) At the time of the purchase by Bluehaven of the Manamatana flats, Bluehaven was beneficially owned by Mr O’Neill.
(b) K150,000 receipted by receipt No. 70547 used in the purchase was derived from the NPF Tower fraud.
(c) K160,000 of the funds receipted by receipt No. 70546 was derived from Nambawan Finance IBD which included K300,000 derived from the NPF Tower fraud
(d) The K600,000 paid to complete the purchase was derived either from monies fraudulently obtained by Mr Maladina from the sale of the Waigani land or from Niugini Aviation in Hong Kong.
(e) Messrs Maladina, O’Neill, Sullivan and Barker are well aware of the true facts concerning these moneys and this transaction. Each of Mr O’Neill and Mr Sullivan have not given evidence which can be accepted by the Commission.
(f) The evidence of Mr Barker in relation to what occurred with this K600,000 is clearly false and knowingly false.
Although Mr Ken Barker committed the crime of perjury before the commission in relation to what occurred with this K600,000, the commission believes it would be a waste of resources to refer him to the Commissioner for Police as he has departed PNG permanently. He should be referred if he ever returns.
(g) On the October 28,, 2002, the commission directed counsel assisting to refer Mr O’Neill to the Commissioner for Police to investigate whether he should be charged with perjury concerning his evidence on this issue.