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TIPNG Chairman attacks PNGexposed


PNGEXPOSED Blog
Recently PNGexposed has posted a series of articles that scrutinize the past of Rex Paki. Paki currently sits on the Board of the PNG Sustainable Development Programmed and the Bank of PNG, in addition to being the Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority.
These articles pointed out that Paki was slammed in two Commission of Inquiry reports, two Public Accounts Committee reports and an Auditor General report.
In response to these articles, the Chairman of Transparency International PNG, Lawrence Stephens, who is also a Program Manager at PNGSDP, defended Paki, claiming these reports amounted to mere “unproven accusations”.
PNGexposed took issue with this slight against PNG’s public accounting agencies and judicial organs, and our view was made known yesterday – TI dismisses Commission of Inquiry findings.
In response, Mr Stephens continued his defense of Rex Paki: “So where do we put a headline which points out that PNG Exposed is involved in astonishing displays of arrogant ignorance with its nameless correspondents insulting all Papua New Guineans through blatant disregard for the right of individuals named by commissions of inquiry to have their days in court”.
As TIPNG’s Chairman, surely Mr Stephens must recognize that dozens of carefully researched, well documented reports, where individuals were given a fair hearing, have been tabled in PNG, by judicial inquiries and other public accounting bodies, without any attempt to prosecute the named individuals. Surely, it is not TIPNG’s position that the failure to prosecute is tantamount to exoneration. It is not.
The RPNGC and Task-Force Sweep only have the resources to prosecute a small proportion of offenders. Moreover, often they themselves are subject to political pressure and internal corruption, which makes mounting prosecutions difficult. And when cases do make it to court, they have a notable tendency to be dismissed without reason. As the head of Taskforce Sweep, Sam Koim, has observed:  “Our files have been properly scrutinised before they were served, only to be struck out by the District Courts left-right-centre…The magistrates rarely publish their reasons for their decisions and so in most cases, there is room to conclude that justice was done without reason”.
There are many examples to support Koim’s allegation.
But lets look at some occasions, when Mr Rex Paki, was given his day in court – admittedly, these are not criminal charges, but nonetheless they involve serious accusations of impropriety and incompetence, which were scrutinised by senior PNG judges.
Example 1: Poya v Paki [2008] PGNC
A Director/Shareholder in the company Voco Point Trading Ltd, asked the court to remove Rex Paki as liquidator. The National Court found as follows:
“Rex Paki was appointed and consented to be a liquidator on 5th March 2004. Since his appointment, the liquidator has so far provided 4 reports to the creditors; 2 in March and May of 2005 and the other 2 in June and October 2008 following a direction by the Court.  The reports are unsatisfactory, for instance, the preferential debt due to the Internal Revenue Commission, which would rank before all the unsecured creditors, is not known. It is also not known why 6 monthly reports as envisaged by section 305 (2) of the Companies Act were not prepared and sent to creditors or shareholders of the company. Second, there is evidence of conversion and the explanation by Rex Paki is unsatisfactory. Two motor vehicles registration numbers LAD 538 and HAH 381 have been transferred to and registered in the name of Rex Paki without the authority or knowledge of Nathaniel Poya. Third, the evidence discloses that the liquidator has not reported the fire on the Voco Point property to the Police or the Insurance Assessors. Fourth, there is no evidence before the Court that every known creditor was notified of the meeting or a public notice to all creditors was given according to section 293 (2) & (3) of the Companies Act. There is a copy of a notice of meeting dated 13th June 2008 before the Court, but how the creditors were notified is not known to me. The evidence is that only 25 out of 89 creditors attended the meeting. The purpose of the meeting, which was to determine whether a new liquidator should be appointed, was not stated in the notice. Finally, a liquidator is required to have regard to views of the shareholders by whom a special resolution was passed for purposes of voluntary liquidation (see section 308 of the Companies Act). It was resolved at the shareholders meeting on 5th March 2004 that the liquidator is to give a report to the shareholders on any sale of assets. There is no evidence that the liquidator has given the shareholders interim reports of the sale of assets. I am satisfied and agree with Nathaniel Poya that Rex Paki be terminated as the liquidator forthwith
Example 2: Paki v Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd [2010] PGSC
Here the Supreme Court examined attempts by Rex Paki to avoid the process of discovery, after it was allaged he had overcharged a client. The court concludes:
It is clear to us that the appellant [Paki] was attempting to avoid giving discovery; the refusal was repeated, chronic and designed to conceal the true state of affairs. He was evasive and dishonest. He gave different reasons for not producing the invoices. He said copies of the invoices were available for inspection at Namaliu & David Lawyers, that the originals were in archives at Korobosea, that the copies on his computer have been lost because the computer crashed, that copies have been misplaced and he needed time to locate them, that copies were available at MVIL or at the offices of Mr. Kerenga Kua, a lawyer. He did not give discovery despite agreeing to Consent Orders of the National Court requiring him to produce the invoices for the entire period of the liquidation. Two (2) years after he verified a list of documents, the appellant was still looking for copies of the invoices. In fact, he never gave discovery. He was required by law to retain the accounts and records of the liquidation for seven (7) years (section 306 (1)(b) of the Companies Act). We agree with Mr. Brookes that the actions of the appellant have caused the respondent an enormous amount of wasted time, effort and money. We are of the view that the conduct of the appellant was improper, unreasonable and blameworthy.
So Mr Stephens, we are not talking about one Commission of Inquiry report, or one unfavorable court decisions. We are talking about two Commission of Inquiry reports, two Public Accounts Committee inquiries, an Auditor General report, a Supreme Court decision and a National Court decision. That is, seven separate occasions when Rex Paki was alleged to have engaged in misconduct. On all occasions there was convincing evidence to draw this conclusion, they were not mere unfounded accusations.
Surely this is enough proof to raises concerns when Rex Paki is appointed to the Board of a billion kina not-for-profit organization charged with the important duty of promoting the sustainable development and welfare of people in PNG?