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Whipping Boy Appointed to Head Administrative Investigation on Manumanu Land

by BRUCE HORRY

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s latest display of incompetence to abandon the much talked about Commission of Inquiry (CoI) and instead appoint an internal administrative inquiry into the controversial Manumanu Land deal comes with little surprise for a number of reasons.

Firstly, as the Prime Minister, you should have been briefed prior to the announcement on which effective inquisitive avenues are to be invoked to attain maximum justice, if ever he was so interested in justice. Making a grand announcement for a CoI and later abandoning it raises so much suspicion. One that comes to mind is the fact that in an open commission of Inquiry, all persons would be compelled to testify openly.

Information circulating within the corridors of power is that if they appoint a credible Commissioner for the CoI, it would unravel the different players in this deal and would inescapably incriminate Peter O’Neill himself. This to me proves to be a compelling reason for the aborting of the CoI.

Secondly, why setting up an internal administrative investigation for a whooping K2 million cost to the taxpayers when the Ombudsman Commission and the Police Fraud Squad are virtually doing the same thing. Although the Police Fraud Squad rarely submits findings on administrative malaise, the Ombudsman Commission does, apart from taking penal actions, submit a report of their findings and recommends improvement.

So essentially, there is no need for an expensive administrative investigation hence PM O’Neill’s recent announcement is a duplicity and unnecessary expenditure of public funds. Why not give the K2 million to the Ombudsman and Police Fraud Squad, or pay for our annual United Nations subscriptions or pay for the UPNG final year TESAS scholarships to enable them to graduate. It does not make any sense at all, does it?

Thirdly, PM O’Neill is appointing Australian Queens Counsel, John Griffin to head the administrative investigation. What powers will this QC have to gather evidence, compel witnesses and reach a finding that is transparent, coherent, binding, compelling and fair? Legal Eagles in the know whisper that John Griffin was a “Whipping Boy” for whitewashed Warwick Andrews in a number of O’Neill sanctioned CoIs and they failed miserably in reaching binding conclusions. Griffin is now being appointed to undertake an administrative inquiry and one wonders how effective that will be.  Sounds like a case of double white-wash.

So “what is the utility of O’Neill’s administrative inquiry?” is the K2 million question that every Papua New Guinean should ask. Is he after Justice? No! O’Neill is a fake champion of justice. He is in fact the master of perversion of justice. So what exactly is he pursuing to achieve in this duplicated exercise?