BREAKING NEWS: PAUL PARAKA SEEKS K24 MILLION PAYMENTS

by STEVEN ANDRE

The law firm at the centre of fraud allegations involving the Prime Minister and many other high-ranking people in PNG is ‘striking again’.

In a letter dated 26th January 2016, Paul Paraka writes to Secretary for Finance, Dr Ken Ngangen, for some outstanding payments of K24.1 million. The bills comprised of a K12.940 million principal amount as purportedly confirmed by two National Court Orders in 2007 and interest component of K11.170 million. Mr Paraka claims that the bills were cleared by the Solicitor General in 2005 and two National Court orders subsequently confirmed it. He claims that the bills were not paid in the past because there were some Supreme Court cases pending and now that the cases had been concluded in July 2014, the Department of Finance is legally obliged to make these payments, failure to which would result in contempt of court proceedings. Mr Paraka refers to a letter by the Attorney General Ano Pala dated 6th July 2014 to then Commissioner of Police Geoffrey Vaki, where Mr Pala purportedly legitimized the payment of these legal bills.

On 2nd February 2016, Dr Ken Nangen wrote to Mr Paraka, acknowledging receipt of his claim and stated that he would conduct his due diligence, consult the relevant legal authorities and revert to him.   

It is understood, the good secretary for finance wrote to the Attorney General a few days after that, seeking his advise on the Paraka’s claims in light of various civil and criminal proceedings currently on foot. It is not known the action taken by the sleazy Attorney General.  

If one looks at how Paul Paraka has built his now debunked criminal network, it is evidentially clear that he had not been acting alone nor has he benefited alone. Paraka had the entire system from Prime Ministers down to the tea boys working for him –orchestrating his fraudulent payments. His subsequent arrest by the Taskforce Sweep team has exposed that criminal network. 

One thing about this kind of habitual fraudsters is that they do not just write a random letter to lodge a claim. They act on purpose and coordinated. So at this time when the same bills are quarantined in various criminal and civil court cases including those ones involving Paraka himself and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Paraka is striking again. Is he acting alone? You bet.

The following circumstances should shed some light:-
1.     The mastermind of the Parakagate was Mr Paraka himself but he kept a low profile when PM O’Neill was brought to the fore to answer to criminal charges. It is understood PM stopped supporting Paraka and left him in the cold since PM was slapped with the arrest warrant. Paraka is understood to be fending for himself, by liquidating his assets and at times, smuggles bettlenuts into the city. Paraka is a frustrated man, having spent money and resources to fund PNC in the 2012 elections and defended many of PNC candidates election petitions for free. For some reason, Paraka refused to expose the PM and other high profile individuals who have benefited from the fraud. That has been his last arrow in his quiver –bargaining chip.  

2.     Paraka’s fresh claims were coincidently lodged at the time when his [Paraka’s] favourite judge, the honourable Sir Bernard Sakora was scheduled to sit on an appeal concerning the PM O’Neill’s arrest warrant. It is understood Sakora took possession of the Supreme Court appeal file at the time when Paraka lodged his fresh claims. It was reported in the news that Sakora heard this matter on 4/2/16 but the decision which was scheduled to be handed down the next day, seems to be unusually delayed for at least 3 weeks now.

Controversial Sakora was the judge who issued a stay order in favour of Paul Paraka on a Saturday morning in Alotau in March 2010 to thwart the publication and implementation of the Commission of Inquiry into Finance Department Report. The court order remained on foot until December 2013 when the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia set it aside. Sakora is from nambis and Paraka from Highlands –what’s the connection?

Sakora is not new to controversy. [Part 2 of this article will cover more of that…..to be continued]

3.     In less than a week, Isaac Lupari, one of the venal individuals who is heavily featured in the Finance Commission of Inquiry and who had been a mastermind in managing PM’s Paraka related cases in court, was appointed as the Chief Secretary to Government.

Remember that back then, in 2006, it was the Chief Secretary Joshua Kalinoe who issued a stop payment on Paul Paraka legal bills payments and advised Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the same bills. Now we have a Chief Secretary who is closer to Paraka.

4.     Ano Pala is copied in the letter by Paul Paraka and interestingly, Dr Ngangen would seek Pala’s clarification on these bills. Pala’s reaction to this is unknown, but what is clear is that Pala is responsible for all legal representations on behalf of the PM.


The Merits of Paraka’s Claims

It appears on the face of it that Secretary Ngangen properly referred the bills to the Attorney General. However, what is worrying is the fact that the same Attorney General (Pala) may be acting in cohorts with Paraka given that Pala previously came out in the public claiming that Paraka’s bills were legitimate. The letter Paraka claims to have been written by Pala dated 6th July 2014 is also a concern as now Paraka is relying on it to lodge fresh claims when the cases concerning the merits of the same bills are believed to be litigated in court. Also note that Paraka copied his letter to Pala.

Mr Paraka claims that the Supreme Court on 4 July 2014 concluded the Supreme Court cases and without stating the details of that decision, he manipulates it with the impression that the Supreme Court decision did not have any effect his reliance on the National Court orders which he claims are still on foot. From my recollection, the Supreme Court made adverse findings against Paraka and heavily criticized him and the orders were discharged.  A legal contact supplied me with the case citation -Kalinoe v Paul Paraka Lawyers [2014] PGSC 38; SC1366 (10 July 2014) where the Court, in upholding the appeal by the State, specifically ruled “Except only for the orders granting leave, the decision and orders of the National Court in National Court proceedings, OS 829 of 2006 and OS 876 of 2006, respectively arrived at on 17th November 2006 and 02nd March 2007 are quashed and set aside.”

I recall Ano Pala misinterpreted that Supreme Court decision, in almost verbatim of Paraka’s letter, that the bills are now cleared and no criminality in it. The Supreme Court compelled him to appear and explain. Pala almost went to jail for it. Isn’t it surprising that the position Pala took then, is the same position reflected in Paraka’s letter??

Conclusion

Paraka is not acting alone. In light of what I have highlighted above, it leads me to a convincing theory, that there is some conspiracy at play. That conspiracy has got to do with Sakora dealing with the case involving PM O’Neill’s arrest warrant. And the connection to Sakora is Paraka. Paraka wants these payments to be made in return for a favourable decision –probably to stay the trial hearing which is scheduled to take place on 3rd March 2016. PM has been trying all his best with the courts and hired the best lawyers but his attempts were in vain. According to records available in the public domain, this is the first time Sakora sits on a Paraka related case since his Alotau order. My contacts within the judiciary tell me that Sakora is crazy and he can make crazy decisions.

You have Ano Pala and Isaac Lupari strategically positioned to facilitate these kinds of deals. These guys are openly defying the social norms and structures. They don’t have a single moral impulse remaining in them to impose restraint on their actions.  They are taking the cue from their master –PO. Their persistent tendencies to commit crimes are becoming like infectious disease.

Attachments: Paul Paraka Lawyers letter to Finance Secretary and the response therefrom.