PETER O’NEILL’S FOREIGN FEMALE FRIENDS DOING BUSINESS IN PNG WITH IMPUNITY

by MICHAEL J PASSINGAN

Incredible as it may seem, existing evidence with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) indicates that three foreign female friends of the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill have falsely claimed to be Papua New Guinean by Nationality or they have knowingly allowed false information regarding their Nationality to be wrongly registered with IPA – perhaps deliberately for the purpose of carrying on certain activities in Papua New Guinea - without due regard and compliance to existing laws and regulations; and possibly for the avoidance of paying certain fees such as high work permit fees (per annum) to the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations in Port Moresby.

Under the Investment Promotion Act 1992 consolidated to No 3 of 2004, ““foreign enterprise" means an enterprise which is not a national enterprise or a citizen; and “"national enterprise" means an enterprise more than 50% of which is owned directly or indirectly by a citizen,…”. This means that if foreign ownership of an entity such as a company or business operating in PNG exceeds 49% then the shareholders or owners of such an enterprise must obtain certification with IPA as a Foreign Enterprise. The bottom line is that foreign nationals operating business in PNG require certification - whether it be for a “foreign enterprise” or a “national enterprise”. In certain cases exemptions can be applied for and obtained such as for charitable purposes.

Laws applicable to foreigners doing business in PNG are indeed very strict. Foreigners who provide false or misleading information (without reasonable excuse) should be prepared to pay up to K50000 if caught and found guilty under Section 43 of the Investment Promotion Act. Making a false statement in the form of a false Statutory Declaration is also an indictable offence in PNG and any offender if caught is ‘liable to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for four years’. Non-compliance or failure to comply with PNG’s Investment Promotion laws may result in very high fines and or jail time being imposed on offenders.

For example: ‘A foreign enterprise and an officer or owner (however described) of a foreign enterprise which or who—carries on business without a certificate’ may incur a Penalty of “A fine not exceeding K100,000.00”; or a Default penalty of “A fine not exceeding K10,000.00 for each day the offence continues”. There is also a General penalty whereby: “An enterprise which or who commits an offence against this Act for which no penalty is provided elsewhere in this Act is liable to a penalty of a fine not exceeding K25,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and imprisonment, and where the offence is a continuing one, is further liable to a default penalty of a fine not exceeding K2,500.00 for each day during which the offence is committed after conviction.”

Remember, in August this year, when the news broke that a foreign owned company Think Creative Management Limited had been awarded a massive sum of K50 million to organize the 40th Independence Anniversary Celebrations on September 16th? How much public funds ended up being paid to Think Creative Management Limited? And how exactly is Think Creative Management Limited linked to the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill? Here are some facts: Think Creative Management Limited is registered with the Investment Promotion Authority as a company with 3 shareholders. IPA records show: Director & Shareholder 1, Ni Cragnolini, is registered as holding 40 shares (40 percent) and her Nationality is registered as “Chinese”. IPA records show that Director & Shareholder 2, Sylvester HUTA, is listed as holding 20 shares (20 percent) and his Nationality is registered as “Papua New Guinea”; and Director & Shareholder 3, Michelle Monsour is registered as holding 40 shares (40 percent) and her Nationality is registered as “Australian”.

As per a search with IPA, Think Creative Management Limited, a company with a total number of 100 shares, which was incorporated under the Companies Act 1997 on the 5th of October 2013, of which Michelle Monsour is also the Secretary, is not registered with IPA as a Foreign Enterprise. Both Ni Cragnolini (54 years old) and Michelle Monsour (48 years old) consented under the Companies act 1997 to be shareholders of Think Creative Management Limited on the 1st of October 2013 when they signed Form 4 which clearly stipulates their Nationality as “CHINESE” and “AUSTRALIAN” respectively. So what exactly is Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s “relationship” with Ni Cragnolini and Michele Monsour? On Saturday the 3rd of August 2013, “PM O’Neill Foundation” threw a big “Charity Gala Dinner” at Dynasty restaurant - “in front of 550 people” - at which Australian singer Tina Arena and Australian TV commentator Richard Wilkins entertained the crowd to help raise funds ‘to build over 1000 wash houses throughout PNG’.

O’Neill’s dream and legacy to PNG was his ‘Haus Was Was’ (bath house) project.  “It is my dream to create a clean and healthy environment for our people…Project WASWAS is my Legacy”…Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is quoted as saying on his website at http://www.pmoneillfoundation.com/. The website also claims “This Foundation has no political links, no political funding and more importantly, it is all about one mans desire to give back to a nation that has given so much to him...Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.” “The night raised K3.868 million Kina to go towards helping the people of Papua New Guinea.”

No political links and no political funding? O’Neill’s own political party People’s National Congress was listed as a sponsor on his website: Many State Owned Enterprises (Statutory Authorities) were also listed as sponsors as well as private sector companies and one diplomatic mission – such as:  National Gaming and Control Board, Telikom PNG, Air Nuigini, PNG Power, MRDC, PetroMin, Motor Vehicles Insurance Limited, NBC, BSP, Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation, Institute of Business Studies, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Inter Oil Corporation, Oil Search Limited, L& A Construction, Curtain Bros, Hebou Construction Limited, JJ Construction, Global Constructions Huawei, Papindo, Freeway Motors,  SP Brewery, Trukai Rice, Lae Biscuit Co Ltd, Steamships Trading Company Limited, Starland Freezer, Digara, JMart, WR Carpenter (PNG) Group of Companies, Remington and People’s National Congress Party.

“The PM O’Neill Foundation” was not even an officially approved registered entity at the time! And wait for it! The ‘Registration Date’ for the association “The PM O’Neill Foundation” shows ‘2 October 2013’ and the person who applied to register it as an association is none other than Australian woman Michelle Monsour - however this time her nationality is listed with IPA as “Papua New Guinea”. She is twice listed as being “Papua New Guinea” by Nationality - as the Person submitting Notice and as the Applicant in 2013. Remember, Michelle Monsour signed on the 1st of October 2013 attesting to being AUSTRALIAN by Nationality when she consented to be a shareholder of Think Creative Management Limited. Evidence with IPA (Filing Date 23-May-2014 08:44:41) shows that Michelle Monsour also certified to being a Papua New Guinean by Nationality when she answered “Yes” to the following: “I certify that all the information entered and/or uploaded is true and correct.”

Michelle Monsour also swore to a Statutory Declaration – “Declared at Boroko NCD This 10th day, of March, 2013” before a Commissioner of Oaths by the name of Christopher Kup-Ogut (Lawyer No. 1404): “All the information contained in Form 2 – Application for the Incorporation of an Association dated 9th December, 2013 (PM O’Neill Foundation) under the Association of Incorporation Act are in (sic) true in fact and substance.” Note her Statutory Declaration is dated the 10th day of March 2013. The falsity in Michelle Monsour’s Statutory Declaration is the date it was purportedly declared plus the name “PM O’Neill Foundation” was three times declared to in her Statutory Declaration. This is very misleading and very deceptive because “PM O’Neill Foundation” is a separate entity registered as a business name.

“PM O’Neill Foundation” with an almost identical name to the association called “The PM O’Neill Foundation” is registered with IPA as a business and the owners of “PM O’Neill Foundation”, whom are listed with IPA, are Peter O’Neill and Ni Cragnolini. And this time Ni Cragnolini’s Nationality is registered as “Papua New Guinea”. Surprise, surprise! Concise description of nature of Peter O’Neill’s business “PM O’Neill Foundation”: “TO RAISE FUNDS FOR CHARITY”. There is no evidence to indicate that Peter O’Neill’s business “PM O’Neill Foundation” is registered as a Foreign Enterprise nor as a National Enterprise. Not surprising considering that Ni Cragnolini is registered with IPA as being a Papua New Guinean owner of this business together with Peter O’Neill, despite the fact that she attested to being CHINESE by Nationality on the 5th of October 2013 when she consented to be a shareholder of Think Creative Management Limited!

However, only one applicant is listed in Form 1 - the Application for Registration of Business Name PM O’Neill Foundation, and that’s Peter O’Neill who signed the Form which was approved by the Registrar on 19 July 2013. Ni Cragnolini is described in the Form (dated July 15, 2013 and lodged by Mangkum Limited) as “resident agent”. Commencement Date given for business activities: 1 August 2013. Three days later the ‘Gala Charity Dinner’ was held at Dynasty Restaurant. So all these sponsors may have in fact donated substantial sums of money (amounting to “nearly K4 million”) to a private business owned by Peter O’Neill and which according to IPA records is also owned by Ni Cragnolini – who is believed to be a Chinese National who has pretended to be a PNG National for the purpose of owning a business with Peter O'Neill the Prime Minister of PNG without complying with the laws specifically relating to foreign enterprises and certification. How many of the Prime Minister’s 1000 ‘dream legacy’ ablution blocks have been built to date from the nearly K4 million raised?

Another foreign female friend of Peter O’Neill’s who is also strongly suspected of breaching PNG laws is his lawyer Tiffany Twivey who is believed to be an Australian citizen originally from Australia who practices law in PNG under her business Twivey Lawyers – but wait! Tiffany Twivey publicly claimed last year that she is a Papua New Guinean lawyer. Maybe she did not like being described as ‘an Australian lawyer’ in an article published on PNG Blogs, because she publicly declared. “Point of Order - I'm a Papua New Guinean Lawyer - if the writer cannot get that one basic fact correct - the rest looks pretty much like fantasy - of someone whose mind is firmly in the gutter !”

Tiffany Twivey told an inquiry last year that she started practicing law in Papua New Guinea in 2002. The full name of this inquiry is: COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES USED TO BRIEF OUT MATTERS TO LAW FIRMS AND LAWYERS AND THE PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES FOR PAYING PUBLIC MONEYS TO LAW FIRMS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA. The Commissioner to the Inquiry was ‘Mr Justice Warwick Andrew, C.B.E., C.R.H’.

She is on record as telling John Griffin (QC), the senior counsel assisting the Inquiry, on Wednesday the 26th of November 2014, “When I say I was admitted to practice in 1992, I was admitted to practice in Tasmania in 1992, into Queensland in ’97 and in Papua New Guinea for the first time early 2002 but I have been a practising lawyer for 22 years.”
John Griffin asked her “And how long have you had the practice, Twivey Lawyers?” Tiffany Twivey replied “Twivey Lawyers has been there since July 2011 but it actually just simply changed names. The actual practice went from Tiffany Nonggorr Lawyers to Nonggorr William Lawyers in 2009 - 2007 to 2009 - and then in 2011 I commenced practice as Twivey Lawyers - July 2011.”

That information is not completely true. So what are the facts? Tiffany Twivey applied on the 6th of May 2011 for registration of a business name called Twivey Lawyers. Her application for registration of the business name was approved by the Registrar of Companies Alex Tongayu on the 16th of May 2011. The Registrar of Companies is also a Director, who is one of ‘five senior managers’. who is supposed to do due diligence and report to the Managing Director of the Investment Promotion Authority. The ‘concise description of nature of business’ that was provided in the application by Tiffany Nonggorr (aka Tiffany Twivey) is “LEGAL SERVICES”. In her application, in which she was the sole applicant, her name is registered as Tiffany Nonggorr and her nationality is registered with IPA as “Papua New Guinea”.

On the same day - the 6th of May 2011 when she applied to register Twivey lawyers - she also filed a notice of cessation of her previous business known as ‘Tiffany Nonggorr Lawyers’ which she originally applied in 2008 to have registered and which was approved by the Registrar and registered on 18 February 2008. The date of commencement of business activities under her business ‘Tiffany Nonggorr Lawyers’, which has since been removed, was 1 March 2008. Her nationality was also registered for this business as “Papua New Guinea”.

On the 31st of August 2009 Tiffany Twivey and one other person named Ray William, who is registered with IPA as a Papua New Guinean, applied to register Nonggorr William Lawyers as a business name. Once again her Nationality is registered as “Papua New Guinea”. The current entity status of this business with IPA is registered. If Tiffany Twivey is a Papua New Guinean citizen as she claimed back in February 2008, then why does she have another entity called “TIFFANY NONGGORR TRADING AS TIFFANY NONGGORR LAWYERS (92106)” with Foreign Certification?

The Investment Promotion Authority lists that particular entity status as “Certified” under Foreign Certification Status with the Registration Date being “16-Apr-2008”. Yet around two months prior to this, on the 18th of February 2008, her previous business known as ‘Tiffany Nonggorr Lawyers’ was approved and registered - under which her nationality appears as “Papua New Guinea”. Remember also that on the 6th of May 2011 she also filed a notice of cessation of her business known as ‘Tiffany Nonggorr Lawyers’ and that business ceased trading.

Tiffany Twivey also has a company called “TWIVEY ADMINISTRATION SERVICES LIMITED (1-78043) [Local]” which formerly was named CHAMPION NO. 69 LIMITED - a shelf company incorporated on 10 March 2011. On the 29th of June 2011, a Steven Kami (registered Nationality: TONGAN) ceased being secretary and director of this shelf company CHAMPION NO. 69 LIMITED and transferred his shareholding to ‘Tiffany Gaye TWIVEY’. Also on the 29th of June 2011, Tiffany Gaye Twivey signed Form 15 ‘Consent and Certificate of Director (Existing Company)’ in which her Nationality is clearly typed AUSTRALIAN - in big Capital letters. In the filings for this company her Nationality is registered as ‘Australian’ at least three times – as a Director, Secretary and Shareholder. She signed each form! However just thirty five days earlier – on the 6th of May 2011 – she applied to register Twivey Lawyers as a business in which her Nationality is registered as Papua New Guinean!

An application to change the name of the company CHAMPION NO. 69 LIMITED was made on the 29th of June 2011. The name change was approved on 30 August 2011. The odd part is that according to Investment Promotion Authority records this company – under either the previous or current name - does not have Foreign Certification. It does not appear to be registered as a Foreign Enterprise although Tiffany Twivey’s Nationality is registered for this company as Australian and she is the sole shareholder. If there is no evidence to prove that she has Foreign Certification or an exemption for this company then she is definitely in breach of the Investment Promotion Act.

If Tiffany Twivey does not have a PNG passport she has, depending on the evidence with the Investment Promotion Authority and elsewhere, broken the laws. If she does have a PNG passport and did not renounce her Australian citizenship and still retains an Australian passport then she has still broken the laws. Although she may meet the criteria to qualify for PNG citizenship by naturalization, if she does have a PNG passport which has been obtained improperly or illegally then it must be confiscated from her immediately under the Passports Act.

Let’s recap, in 2008 Tiffany Nonggorr (aka Tiffany Twivey) was registered with IPA as being Papua New Guinean yet she only started practicing law in PNG in 2002 after she moved to PNG from Australia. One of the requirements for a foreigner to be granted PNG citizenship by naturalization is that a foreigner must have resided permanently as a resident in PNG for eight years consecutively. In 2009 she was registered with IPA as being Papua New Guinean. In 2011 she was registered with IPA as being Papua New Guinean but in 2011 she claimed to IPA that she is Australian. In 2014 she also claimed on PNG Blogs to be ‘Papua New Guinean’.

Under her business TWIVEY LAWYERS plus under Nonggorr William Lawyers – both businesses which are still operating she is registered as Papua New Guinean, and under her company TWIVEY ADMINISTRATION SERVICES LIMITED which is still operating she is registered as Australian. So which one is it? She legally can’t be both. The same applies to the Chinese woman Ni Cragnolini and the other Australian woman Michelle Monsour. At this point in time as per the laws of PNG, legally these women are not entitled to hold dual citizenship.

These three foreign female friends of Peter O'Neill must be thoroughly investigated and held accountable by PNG authorities such as Investment Promotion Authority, Internal Revenue Commission, Immigration, Foreign Affairs, Department of Labour & Industrial Relations, National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate, Criminal Investigation Division, Transnational Crimes Unit and International Task Force Sweep; regardless of whether or not Peter O'Neill is the Prime Minister.

Officers with the Australian High Commission and Embassy of the Republic of China in Port Moresby take note.