WINGTI AND PO ARE BIRDS OF LIKE FEATHERS FLOCKING TOGETHER

by CHARLES K MARKOP

Politics is an art and if you master it well, you can maximise your gains. The front page coverage by Post Courier, released after 3 weeks of the actual event, tells many stories. Here, former Prime Minister and currently governor of Wester Highlands Province Hon Paias Wingti (PW) is openly commending that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill (PO) is doing well and he (PW) is optimistic about PNGs future under O’Neill’s leadership.

 The unholy alliance between PW and PO has a rich history. PO, apart from being a Bill Skate and PNC man, was one of those persons including the Maladinas who lived off Wingti. In 2002, PW orchestrated PO’s first election victory when he (PW) mobilised his men to destroy Roy Yaki’s (MP for Ialibu Pangia at that time) ballot boxes in Nebilyer towards Southern Highlands border. 

In the 2012 elections, it is open secret that Ben Micah, through his relative Ken Kaiya (Government Printer), organised extra ballot papers for PW, PO and Micah himself. Wingti included 50,000 ballot papers that could not be synched with the total population and the official ballot papers records. 

The case instituted by former Governor Tom Olga challenging the validity of PWs win is strangely protracted in the Courts. PO and Micah did not have their elections challenged. PW mobilised the two other former PMs (Somare and Chan) to go into camping with O’Neill, even when his own election was still going through the counting process. In doing so, not only did PW pre-empt his own win, but more so, this move compelled all other younger politicians to join the O’Neill camp. 

 PW is yet to open his mouth on the floor of Parliament. Whilst his fellow former PMs openly debate on Issues affecting this country, PW has never said anything. One wonders what he is doing there. Outside Parliament, PW has never criticised nor cautioned the younger leaders on what is happening. 

The only time he speaks is to sing praises and commendations like this for PO. In a previous media article immediately after the last Parliament sitting, he was reported as saying “there is no need to change the O’Neill Government as it is delivering a lot of infrastructure projects” (words to that effect). PW’s open support of PO is the strength that PO has consolidated to go ahead and indulge in grand scale looting and gross mismanagement of the country. 

It means that PW supports PO to:- 

  1. Raise the debt level to K22billion on official records, K15 billion ‘off balance sheet’ debts and K2.5billion superannuation debts = K40 billion 
  2. Depleting of Foreign Currency:- Reserves of less than US1.7billion and pending exchange orders of up to US3billion 
  3. Declining kina 
  4. Cash flow problem including teachers who wouldn’t be receiving 30% of their leave entitlements 
  5. Inflated contracts with bounty commissions and kickbacks 
  6. It means that PW supports PO to disregard and disrespect the due process of law:- 
  7. Obtain loans without Parliamentary approvals such as K3billion UBS loan, K6billion Exim Bank Loan etc; 
  8. Making appointments without following the laws,
  9. Dismantling all accountability mechanisms such as police, Ombudsman Commission, sweep taskforce 

PO has destroyed all the government check and balance mechanisms in the country It means PW supports PO to continue to run the affairs of the country when PO has NPF criminal case pending, Parakagate criminal arrest warrant pending, K3billion UBS/Oil search deal leadership tribunal pending, and K144million LR Group PNG power generators pending. 

So what standard of leadership is the veteran politician seeing in PO that he so supports openly? Interestingly, PO’s economic advisor Jacob Weiss who advised PO to obtain the illegal UBS loan of K3billion was the same person who advised Wingti (when PW was the PM) to obtain K900 million from UBS, moved the cash to the Cayman Islands and then return to PNG. 

The loans under Weiss engineering, have all been obtained in currencies other than US dollar but then converted to US dollar, creating a pool of exchange variation gains for the politicians –PW then and PO now. The same Weiss, whose son Illan Weiss, runs the 9 Mile Hydro-phonic farm. 

The farm was fully funded by a loan and grant from PNG Sustainable Development Program. The loan of about K14million was registered with Western Highlands Development Corporation owned by Western Highlands Provincial Government. 

The ownership composition of the farms is 50% LR Group, 25% Charles Lapa (PO’s uncle) and 25% Western Highlands Development Corporation (PW). Whilst LR Group and Charles Lapa enjoy the dividends, WHP repays the loan -thanks to PW. 

 The only thing we remember of PW is his “Look North” policy where we have witnessed the influx of Asians into the country. There is no other strategic decision/reform that PW did for this country during his 3 term as PM for PNG that all Papua New Guineans could remember and be proud of. 

PW must be proud that his creation (PO) is now doing a good job for the country. Not many thinking Papua New Guineans see that. Only his own kind can recognise.