ALLEGATIONS OF EXTORTION AND OFFICIAL CORRUPTION AGAINST CHIEF MIGRATION OFFICER

by ANDY NOMALI -Freelance Journalist

The Acting Chief Migration Officer Robert Barra Kennedy is still occupying the Office of the Chief Migration Officer despite being implicated in an extortion and official corrupt matter currently in the Waigani Committal Court.

Mr Kennedy was arrested and charged on Thursday 19 December 2019 after a formal complaint was lodged to Police by Mr. Teddy Tasion of Tasion Group of Companies. A newspaper article in January this year revealed the actual text messages between Robert Kennedy and Teddy Tasion whereby Mr. Kennedy solicited K5000 from Mr Tasion. This amounts to Official Corruption and Gross Misconduct for a public office holder.

Mr. Kennedy is also reported to have been abusing the powers designated only for the Chief Migration Officer under the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority Act 2010, thus further amounting to abuse of the office of the Chief Migation Officer. In the two months since his political acting appointment to the office, Mr. Kennedy is alleged to have conspired with his cronies within the Authority to manipulate the recent internal organisational restructure which also saw the external appointments of his own people recruited overnight. These questionable appointments began well before the Authority's external advertisements and recruitment process.

Furthermore, for the first time in its history, the Authority has seen a major re-shuffling of staff with new and inexperienced staff being appointed to certain critical positions, one most critical being the Borders Section of the Authrority responsible for processing people in and out of PNG.

This places a major safety and security risk on the country's borders.

Apart from his extortion case and the HR issues, Mr Kennedy is also alleged to have abused the financial powers of the Chief Migration Officer in certain payments made out to individuals and companies of interest. One company being Ultimax Security which has been providing close protection security services only to Mr. Kennedy since December 2019.

The Immigration and Border Security Minister, Mr. Wesley Nukundj, is obviously turning a blind eye on this issue for various reasons only known to him.

What is more striking is that the activities of this critical border authority under Mr. Kennedy's administration is being overlooked by the Prime Minister James Marape and his Cabinet at this time when the world is facing an outbreak of the contageous air-borne Novel Corona Virus that is just near the door step of PNG.

The idea of making PNG the Most Richest Black Christian Nation in the World will only remain a fantasy once this deadly epidemic reaches the shores of this country.

All these allegations will soon be released through an in-depth report.

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