MASSIVE CORRUPTION IN WESTERN PROVINCE. WILL THE PM INTERVENE?

By TUGIRI REIDA

The government of PNG has demonstrated that it is incapable of safeguarding the funds of Non CMCA villages’(South Fly affected villages who didn’t sign the CMCA Agreement) being part of the compensation moneys paid by BHP/Oktedi, as a direct result of the Court case in Melbourne by Fly River Landowners. 

Certain funds being dividends from Oktedi were parked as part of the compensation package for the Environmental destruction in two trust accounts (totalling several hundred Million Kina) under the principal care of the Governor of Western Province Hon. Ati Wobiro and the Secretary for Department of Mines and Geo-hazards, Mr. Shadrach Himata.

Ati Wobiro, a man with double Masters in Economics, a former Provincial Planner of Western Province in the 1990s, former Acting Administrator of Department of Western, former country Manager of World Vision, former Church Elder of the Evangelical Church of Papua, former employee of PNGSDPL, and former 2 time loser for the Western Regional Seat, finally made it into the hot seat, unseating another son of the Church from Gogodala, Dr Danaya.

Ati Wobiro was elected because we (the people) found Dr Danaya unreliable, untrustworthy, egotistical, and did not do much. Wobiro was elected instead because the people felt he was close to the ground and trustworthy.

But, is Wobiro really close to the people, and is he truely worthy of their trust? 

Upon being elected, he sacked William Goinau the Provincial Administrator and appointed a fellow “bushman”, fellow devoutly religious, and fellow economist Dr Modowa Gumoi , to be the Provincial Administrator. No other Province in PNG has such highly qualified persons as Governor and Administrator- the Dream Team.

But how are they perceived on the ground? What practical things have the Dream Team achieved so far?

Some of their achievements have been aired in the media this last week by Mr William Goinau, playing the role of whistle blower. Admittedly there is an element of sour grapes in Goinau’s revelations. But his revelations are so serious, they cannot be dismissed offhandedly. So far no party named, including the Governor, has objected. Everyone has gone into hiding.

Goinau alleged that:

1. Wobiro & Gumoi circumvented normal tender processes and corruptly misused K36 Million Kina of the people’s moneys held in trust.
2. There was no tender by the Western Province Supply & Tenders Board to award K36 Million worth contracts. All normal tender processes for transparency were not followed. This is against the Public Finances Management Act.
3. K3 Million Kina was paid into KBB Oceania Ltd, owned by associates of Wobiro & Gumoi from whom they may have had a kick back.
4. K2.6 Million to May Fuels Distributors Ltd, (May brothers) for Daru Beautification Project. 

May brothers are like family to Wobiro. They supported him during last election in kind, cash and logistics. Wobiro’s family connection with the Mays go right back to when (the brothers were toddlers then) their old man RON May as official signatory to the giant Wawi Guavi Timber project siphoned off Millions of Kina of landowner royalty and premium payments, and Wobiro as Provincial Planner and a short time as Administrator covered for him. Wobiro has since been a close family friend, and business advisor at various times to the Mays. 

Very little, in fact, nothing has been done on the ground by way of beautification of Daru town by the Mays. Instead the Mays have been busy buying up properties in Australia, Port Moresby and strengthening their strong grip over Daru township.

5. K2.287 Million to May Fuels Distributors Ltd for Daru Sanitation & Garbage.

Very little actual garbage or sanitation work has been done by the Mays. The council does its bit but not always effective. The Mays boast about the new properties they bought in Australia and Port Moresby, and appear in the bars of Port Moresby as the noveau riche of Western Province, while the people whose money they siphoned wallow in utter poverty.

6. K5.5 Million Kina paid to Niugini Aviation Services Ltd for aviation services to Western Province.


Niugini Aviation Services Ltd is owned by Mr Roxon Undi and his wife Mrs Ruth Undi, of Southern Highlands Province. 

Mr Roxon Undi and Mrs Ruth Undi met Governor Wobiro in Port Moresby in isolated hotel rooms and restaurants where the Undi’s grand plan was slowly and carefully revealed and blessed. Prior to their meeting the Governor, their company had one small plane that they leased. 

The Undis are financial backers of Governor Agiru of Hela. They benefited to the tune of Millions of Kina from Governor Agiru’s road contracts in the Southern Highlands. Even though the roads were not completed, the Undis company Kana Constructions always got paid the full tender price anyway, thanks to a very flexible former CSTB Chairman, and happy Works Department staff.

It was Governor Agiru who urged Wobiro to meet with Mr Undi and his wife Ruth Undi, whose other company Kana Group is also a contractor to Oktedi Mine and to Southern Highlands Province during Agiru’s time. Agiru and Wobiro are also both first born sons of the Evangelical Church of Papua, and currently working together on the new Nomad gas project.

After agreement in principal, a bold proposal was cooked up whereby K5.5 million was to be paid by Wobiro from the trust. Roxon and Ruth Undi will then look after Governor and cover the Provincial Administrator (whom the Undis met separately). As planned the Undis sent the proposal up through the Administrator. The Governor pretended ignorance, went along and approved it. The payment was made without any tendering. The papers were signed off and witnessed between the Governor and the Administrator. Everyone involved to draw the funds was looked after.

The Undis with just one small leased aircraft at that time, proposed in writing to supply Aviation services to 53 rural Airstrips in Western Province. There is a bound submission at the Governor’s office that looks and sounds like a con job. The numbers proposed showed flying hours between these 53 airstrips. This was impossible for one small aircraft to acheive. There is also another problem- there is only less than 10 strips open currently, and of these only half are serviceable. Everybody including the Undis (being contractors in Western Province) know which airstrips are open. They knowingly made false proposal and the Governor too should have known.

As time revealed, Roxon & Ruth Undi used the K5.5 Million to buy themselves new airplanes. They had no intention of flying to airstrips that don’t exist. It is obvious they didn’t care. They were looking for free money to benefit themselves.

Clearly this is a “CON” job on the people by Governor Wobiro and Dr Gumoi, and by Mr Roxon Undi and Mrs Ruth Undi. It is clearly an illegal and corrupt payment because the proposal is not genuine and the money does not belong to the Governor and Dr Gumoi. 

Responsible authorities should investigate and criminally prosecute such people. The Accounts of Niugini Aviation, Roxon Undi, Ruth Undi and all their companies should be examined to see what happened to the K5.5 Million that was fraudulently and improperly obtained, and how much of it has been laundered off shore, and how much, if any, paid as kick backs.

The Undis, have also been transferring funds to Australia and New Zealand just like the Mays. This situation is no different from what Mr Eremas Wartoto and Paul Tiensten have been accused of. Only the names are different, but everything else is the same.

7. K2.996 MILLION PAID TO SOUTHERN CROSS ASSURANCE LIMITED AS INSURANCE PREMIUM.


This is another company owned by Mr Roxon Undi and his wife Ruth Undi. 

It is yet another bogus proposal prepared by Mr Lohia Samuel the GM of Southern Cross Assurance Ltd, a newly set up insurance company. The proposal says that this company would provide individual life, health and other insurance cover for 65,000 people of Western Province. 

There is something wrong here because Western Province population is not 65,000. It is less than that. The people don’t know they have health or life insurance cover. Nobody has told them. No individual has seen a medical or life policy from the company. No person of Western Province has consented to be covered. No one has signed any policy. There are no procedures to claims. There are no names of the individuals covered. The money has been paid out but the people are dying every day from curable deceases. 

This bogus insurance proposal was prepared by Mr Lohia Samuel. The company has not covered anyone in truth. This is yet another fraudulent , deceptive and corrupt payout of the people’s funds.

It is believed Mr Roxon Undi and Mrs Ruth Undi put this proposal to the Governor at the same time as they put the Aviation proposal to him. Together they have benefitted illegally to the tune of K8.5 Million Kina from the people’s trust so far. An investigation by a Police Task Force or the Fraud squad, would reveal the whole truth.

8. K 4.0 MILLION PAID TO POSMAN KUA AISI LAWYERS. 

Posman Kua Aisi Lawyers were paid K4 million which is a lot of money! 

What big work did these guys do to deserve to be paid so much money! At a time when we are seeing and hearing so many law firms in this country being branded as corrupt and ripping the government and small people off, with the Attorney General in the forefront of the counter action, we need to hear how this money was earned by the Attorney General’s law company. 

Mr Goinau says this firm did not do any work for Western Province during his time in office. He says that this law company in fact acted for the Governor during his recent election petition. 

Mr Goinau also believes a previous payment in the Millions was also paid to this firm out of the same fund. The Governors legal fee payment, if true, would also be an illegal payment from the people’s Trust funds. The Governor’s election petition is a private matter and a private expense. It is not an expense of the Provincial Government, or that of the affected Non CMCA Villages. 

For this payment(s) the law company needs to be fully investigated, and funds recovered and those involved prosecuted, and jailed. The Police and the courts must be allowed to do their jobs properly, without interference from the Attorney General or any other Politician.

9. PRIME MINISTER’S RESPONSIBILITY.

Mr Kerenga Kua is the Attorney General fighting the case of the State retaining control of landowner funds. It is his law company that is implicated as possibly taken over K4 Million of the Western People’s moneys from the Trust fund for defending the Governor Wobiro’s election petition. Will he move to protect his colleagues and his name that is still on the company? Kua has a serious conflict.

While these revelations in the press have caught the Prime Minister off-guard, what is he going to do about it?

Will the PM move to cover up for Mr Roxon Undi and Mrs Ruth Undi, his relatives and voters of his electorate, thereby cover up obvious corruption, or will he set up a Task Force specifically to look into these allegations in the interest of the nation? PNG will now know if the PM is serious about fighting corruption or not. All eyes are on him.

Ideally, the Western Provincial Government should be suspended, and investigations should commence into these allegations. Will the Prime Minister move to suspend Western Province?

Again it is up to the Prime Minister to ultimately protect the small people of Western Province and their funds. A police fraud squad task force, is the ideal way to go to investigate, interview, and if necessary, prosecute:
1. The May brothers.
2. May Fuel Distributors Ltd
3. Roxon Undi.
4. Ruth Undi.
5. Niugini Aviation Services.
6. Southern Cross Assurance Ltd.
7. Mr Lohia Samuel.
8. Posman Kua Aisi Law Company.
9. Governor Wobiro.
10. Dr Gumoi.
11. Shadrach Himata.

It is the wish of Western people for the Police to investigate and prosecute them, just like Tiensten and Wartoto, and let them tell the court what they did with the funds and who else benefitted. 

The Police should ask the Australian and Zealand authorities if they could help us bring back funds sent overseas by the May brothers, Roxon Undi, Ruth Undi, Lohia Samuel, and their companies. All funds should be fully recovered and the trust funds should be repaid.

If the PM fails to suspend Western Province and institute a task force and prosecute these people, then he will have failed the long suffering people of Western Province. What hope is there for the rest of the country if this Prime Minister cannot help the people of Western Province at this time? And what hope is there for PNG if this PM is not serious about corruption that is so obvious?

In the meantime, the trust funds should be released to the people’s own management. They are compensation funds for environmental damage. The people have suffered long enough. They are entitled to the funds. The people’s needs in health and education must be addressed now with these funds. They must decide what they should do with these funds without government interference.

The State cannot be trusted with the funds anymore. Kerenga Kua as Attorney General cannot fight the case pending because he is tainted by K4 Million. The State (and the Prime Minister) must let the funds go to the people who deserve and need the money most, than to drag the people through the courts.

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