QUESTION MARKS OVER PRIME MINISTER'S "HOPE INSTITUTE" FOLLOW THE MONEY?

by PAUL MANGAPE

 Prime Minister James Marape has squandered millions of public funds to set up a privately-owned tertiary vocational school called Hope Institute.

 While he proclaims to take back PNG, PM Marape has forgotten the fact that he has misappropriated millions of taxpayers’ money meant for public service delivery to the people of Tari-Pori to establish a hopeless private tertiary institution at his home village.

 As per IPA records, the so-called Hope Institute at Marape’s paternal village of Pai in Tebi LLG, Tari-Pori, has two owners. Hope Institute is legally incorporated as a private business entity under the Business Name Act with its beneficial owners or shareholders identified as messers Larsen Marabe and Henry Aki.

 This Post Courier photograph taken in 2017 shows James Marape receiving the keys of a 25 seater coaster bus from a representative of Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) that donated the bus to the newly established Hope Institute. It would have been Larsen Marabe or Henry Aki as proud owners of the newly opened institute (as in most cases) to showcase their institute, appreciate MRDC for the donation and pose here for a photograph while receiving the first gift from a good corporate citizen.  But the purported owners are missing from this rare photograph, maybe because that is the extreme humility exhibited by ‘humble Hulis’.

According to the IPA business extract as at 9 November 2019, Hope Institute (6-212887) was registered on 15 March 2017 to engage in professional and other services commencing 16 March 2017 at its principal place of business prescribed herein as Pai Village, Tebi LLG, Tari-Pori, Hela Province. The address for communication is P O Box 13, Tari, Hela.

 Again on 31 October 2018, Henry Aki and Larsen Marabe registered a similar business name called Hope Institute, this time it has a different business number (6-239723) but the name remains the same. All details including the principal place of business, address for communication and owners remain the same.
 Out of curiosity, I had also entered the phrase ‘Dauli Teachers College’ onto IPA’s company search platform to verify and confirm the beneficial owners of the college which is located about 8km away from the recently established Hope Institute.

 To my surprise, no ownership details are popping up. So that clearly indicates that Dauli Teachers College is a public tertiary institution owned by the government.  So I confirm that DTC has no private beneficial owners. As I entered ‘Port Moresby Grammar School’ on the online search platform, it clearly gave me feedback that this Port Moresby-based school is obviously a privately-owned school as we all know. It is common knowledge that POM Grammar is a private school. Likewise, the Hope Institute is also a privately owned school as confirmed by the IPA records.

 Larsen is Prime Minister’s younger brother, who hasn’t attended any formal college, who doesn’t own any business at all in PNG, but he’s good at playing rugby. Larsen played for several Digicel Cup teams including Hela Wigmen and played for PNG Kumuls as well. Henry Aki is an electoral officer for Tari-Pori electorate and he has been working at the Tari-Pori MP’s office here at the Waigani National Parliament. He doesn’t own any business.

 So I am wondering how and where Larsen and Henry obtained the millions of kina to build this state of the art tertiary institute, which according to IPA records, they proclaim to own. Sounds weird, isn’t it?

 The question now is: Does the Prime Minister have some clues as to how these two gentlemen as if a fairy tale happen to become overnight millionaires, then they may have used the millions of kina to invest in a swampy land that no one would have seen as an investment vehicle and eventually own a luxury private school out of the Pai swamps in Hela, a province in PNG where private investors will dare to have a second thought of investing in?

 How will the Prime Minister then ‘Take Back PNG’ and ‘Make PNG the Wealthiest Black Christian Nation’ when he himself is now alleged to have stolen millions of taxpayers’ money to build this private ‘business’ empire at his father’s village in Pai?

 I put these 12 questions to the good Prime Minister to answer either verbally or in a written response. Numera 12 is the most common Biblical number and I hope you already know it.

1.     Where did Henry Aki and Larsen Marabe get the money from to buy the massive acreage of prime fertile land at Pai Swap and to build the million kina worth of school?

2.     Where did Henry Aki and Larsen Marabe obtain millions of kina to engage the Matrix Constructions (PNG) Limited as the building construction contractor to build the institute?

3.     Can the Prime Minister confirm or deny if he has never misused or misappropriated a single toea belonging to the people of Tari-Pori to engage the contractor Matrix Constructions (PNG) Limited to undertake the construction works including building the classrooms and the million kina worth of facilities?

4.     Can the Prime Minister confirm or deny if he has never misused or misappropriated millions of kina meant for Tari-Pori people to procure and purchase construction materials to build the privately owned institute?

5.     Can the Prime Minister admit how the customary land at Pai Swamp was secured to set up the institute? Can you confirm or deny if you haven’t misused or misappropriated a single toea from Tari-Pori district purse to purchase the customary land at Pai Swamp?

6.     Can the Prime Minister confirm or deny if he or his wife or his children own the Hope Institute and they are the beneficial owners of the institute while Henry Aki and the PM’s younger brother Larsen have been placed as a trustee shareholder who holds the share in trust for the Prime Minister and his family?

7.     Who hired the Fijian lecturing staff and other expat teachers at Hope Institute? Can the good Prime Minister confirm or deny if he hasn’t misused or misappropriated a single toea belonging to the people of Tari-Pori to buy their airfares, book their hotel room, pay their fortnightly salary and meet other costs associated with their contract of service at Hope Institute?

8.     Who pays the fortnightly salary and other employment benefits of the national teaching staff including University of Goroka graduates who teach at the Hope Institute? Can the good Prime Minister confirm or deny if he doesn’t misuse or misappropriate the Tari-Pori people’s fund to pay the national teaching staff at Hope Institute?

9.     Can the good Prime Minister allow the relevant authorities to check the bank accounts of Hope Institute to verify and confirm if the institute has never received any single funding from Tari-Pori District Development Authority or Hela Provincial Government or Finance Department?

10.  If it has received any funds from the above mentioned public offices, then can the Prime Minister clarify to the people of Tari-Pori and Papua New Guinea under what financial arrangement or protocol or aid programme did the private institute manage to source and secure funding from the public purse?

11.  Can the Prime Minister allow Ombudsman Commission, Police Fraud Squad, and another relevant government watchdog to sanction an investigation or a commission of enquiry into the establishment and operation of Hope Institute as far as Tari-Pori people’s fund and PNG taxpayers are concerned?  The Prime Minister can coincidentally use this investigation as an opportunity to clear his name against this serious allegation if he is truly innocent. 

12.  Remember? You’ve cursed all public servants and elected leaders during the August 26 (2019) National Day of Repentance & Prayer at Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby. Can you swear an oath and curse yourself and curse your future generation including the Marape tribe if you haven’t misused or misappropriated a single toea rightfully belonging to the people of Tari-Pori to build and operate your private Hope Institute?




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