THE ANATOMY OF HOW ARTHUR & KERENGA MESSED UP THE PNGLNG PROJECT

by ALOIS KAPRANGI & ANDAIJA TAMBALE

 THE ANATOMY OF HOW ARTHUR & KERENGA MESSED UP THE PNGLNG PROJECT CREATED AN ECONOMIC PARASITE & NOW ASPIRING FOR PRIME MINISTERSHIP.

Part One:  Arthur and Kerenga, Making Key Decisions for Wrong Reasons.

Arthur Somare, Kerenga Kua, Libe Parindali, Larry Andagali, and David Manau
– what do they have in common?

These names are of men who have impacted the political and commercial landscape of Papua New Guinea in the last 20 years or so, in particular, at the center of the birth of the PNG LNG project, the largest single capital expenditure project ever to be built in Papua New Guinea’s history.  PNG LNG project came at the heels of the failed Chevron led Gas to Queensland project. With the departure of Chevron, that project got shelved.

At about the same time one James Marape decided to try his hand in politics, lost first attempt to Tom Tomiape, but won the second time, and rose quickly in the cradle of National Alliance Party, as leader of government business, by and through the nurturing of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.

However; it was O’Neill, who on succeeding Somare, quickly took Marape and gave him significant opportunity to look after the country’s money bag as Finance Minister. In that role, Marape played very well until this role became more and more untenable. So in a judicious political move, he decided to resign, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Winding history back half a full turn, and we find Arthur Somare hard at it on the 4th Floor of the then Pacific Place building as Minister for IPBC and in charge of the government’s team on negotiating the PNG LNG Project. To his right is a diminutive bearded lawyer, more like one of Peter Jackson’s elves in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Kerenga Kua was to be heard much later boasting to Hela landowners that he penned the PNG LNG Agreement and that he knows its terms backward like the palm of his hand. There may be some truth in that claim, as he was not only the Chairman of Kroton (the predecessor to Kumul Petroleum) the company nominated to hold the State’s interest in the PNG LNG project but was also the legal advisor (through his law firm) behind the State’s PNG LNG deal that Arthur Somare (as Minister for IPBC) singlehandedly executed in Perth,
Western Australia.

You may ask, what deals did Arthur do?

Firstly, Arthur mortgaged the State’s existing 18% shares in Oil Search Limited (OSL) to borrow heavily from Dubai based Arab financiers to finance the State’s equity in PNG LNG.

  Secondly, Arthur personally, in one man meetings with the Exxon team, negotiated with Exxon through the ever-ready facilitation of Peter Graham, the PNG LNG Agreement, which we all have to live with today. Arthur had advisors such as Kua and his law firm advising on the laws, and Petrusio Capital (Dairi Vele, Lars Mortensen, and Nathan Chang) in the background running the numbers.

The important thing to note here is that Arthur has no formal qualifications (except moon lighting at DWU for a diploma in some esoteric subject handed to him because he had the Somare surname), nor any work experience in the real world. He relied heavily on Kua.

Kua and Petrusio team had no oil and gas experience. Here is PNGs No 1 team, like the blind leading the blind, they went against Exxon’s well-oiled machinery that are used to eating up small countries from the South Americas for breakfast, and of the African sub-continent for lunch.

Breakfast they had, and shared some too, with those who helped and facilitated. Everyone in business knows there is a price for everything, even the most spiritually pious or congenial politician still needs to eat and shit. Even rabies ravished, flea bag of one-eyed three-legged dogs at the Badili crossing knows his weight and worth once she hits the white stripes of the crossing. Every PNG politician waits for the day to hit those white lines too.

Kua and Arthur Somare were few of the key figures who hit the white stripes, and thereby directly responsible for reducing the national economy to what it is today.

The PNG LNG Project is fast becoming unsustainable for a developing country. It is a project this nation cannot afford to have. It is not right for us. It is far too expensive and far too uneconomical for us.

When Air Niugini leases an Aircraft, and the monthly lease payments and outgoings far exceed the income it makes, it means the aircraft is uncommercial and unsustainable. No businessmen can in their right minds keep a chronic loss-making operation going. Yet that is what this country has been forced by Arthur Somare and Kerenga Kua to do with PNG LNG.

We are losing far more than we are gaining from our resources, and that is not right. It is immoral.

When you do the math, and balance all outgoings, with less than 8% of the proceeds of the sales of gas from PNG retained by PNG, this Exxon and Oil Search led project has become the biggest economic parasite on the nation. It is also the most grandiose rip off scheme ever devised by Exxon (with help of Arthur and Kerenga) and remains the single most profitable operation Exxon has in its entire global operations.

Exxon has become the biggest economic parasite living off the fortunes and futures of the children of PNG, born and unborn. Hundreds of thousands of school kids cannot afford to go to school, thousands still are literally dying from a failing health system for basic health care and medicines, thousands are unemployed and tending to crime for a living, with failing
infrastructure all around, and the list goes on. The massive economic boom that was supposed to happen with the nation flushed with cash, never happened.

The question arises: whose fault is it? Are Exxon and OSL therefore, at
fault?

The answer is both yes and no. Exxon and OSL did whatever their shareholders would like them to do. According to them, the PNG LNG project was a fair deal, a fair bargain between equals.

Then again you may rightfully ask, was it really a fair bargain, and between equals?

At the root of it all, as history will show is one man’s unilateral decisions, made by Arthur Somare (with the advice of Kerenga Kua) that created this economic parasite, this monster that consumes everything and leaves almost nothing for us.

Let us examine the detail of this “fair bargain between equals” concept for PNG, Kerenga Kua ended up with some K30 Million Kina worth contract from Exxon and its associates for accommodation on the back of which he built his Apart-Hotel Complex at Waigani, aptly named “Dream Inn”, because while everyone else in PNG was “dreamin” (about future windfalls from the PNG LNG Project), he was already cashing it in and having a dream run.

Exxon picked Arthur’s key advisor and ingratiated him so the rest was an easy run to the goal posts.

It is no wonder that Kua proudly announced to certain Landowners from Hides when we went to see him (later as Attorney General under O’Neill) seeking advice to nullify the PNG LNG Agreement; that he authored that Agreement and therefore cannot go against it, and bluntly told us to leave.

On Arthur’s part, he had bilateral loan funding available to him through countries like Japan to fund PNG’s equity in the PNG LNG project at interest rates of less than 1%. That being the case, why did he go to the Arabs who charged LIBOR plus (around 15% inclusive of fees and commissions) for the loans of hundreds of millions he borrowed for the States equity in PNG LNG, and mortgaged PNG’s 18% interest in Oil Search?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Borrowing from Japan was a natural opportunity that went begging because Chiyoda was the main FEED contractor, and we didn’t have to pay exorbitant interest rates, and may still have kept our 18%  Oil Search Shares. It follows that, we didn’t have to borrow from UBS Bank later to repay the Arabs. Logically it means that we didn’t need to have this Commission of Inquiry today into the dubious UBS dealings (costing tens of millions of kina) that serve no useful economic purpose for this country, throwing good money after bad.

Why did Arthur and Kerenga Kua give away the national interest of PNG (and
Tatagaliwape’s legacy of Gigira Laetapo and the cultural heritage forming the fecundity of life of the Hela nations) to Exxon (men with red feet) for next to nothing? Were Arthur and Kerenga drunk or gone longlong?

  If that was not enough, the duo gave the project generous tax holidays, import duty exemptions and other fiscal incentives that neither Exxon nor the project needed.

Arthur and Kerenga totally stuffed up the PNG LNG opportunity, and failed the people of PNG in the following:
(a)     national content at FEED state, free and greater equity,
(b)     cheap gas for domestic use or domestic supply,
(c)     domestic power production for urban and rural electrification,
(d)     PNG ownership of processing facilities,
(e)     PNG ownership of spur pipe lines,
(f)     Equity at greater than 22.5% (up to 50%) and fund it thru bi-lateral soft loans for less than 1% interest (eg from Japan on the back of Chiyoda, and future gas sales to Japan).

(g)     Fund the whole project through bi-lateral soft loans and syndicate the
borrowing to Exxon and Oil Search for a handsome profit to the State.
(h)     independent monitoring of oil and gas volumes taken out,
(i)     independent monitoring of sales cash flows and expenditures,
(j)     PNG ownership of a gas stripping plant,
(k)     PNG ownership all condensate,
(l)     PNG ownership of condensate stripping and processing plant,
(m)   Downstream processing of various gas products,
(n)     PNG ownership of ammonia and fertilizer plant,
(o)     PNG ownership of plastics plant,
(p)     Commercialized flaring,
(q)     Prior Social Mapping and Landowner identification studies,
(r)     a fair deal for affected landowners in free equity in exchange for access to customary lands,
(s)     remittances of all proceeds of exports back thru Bank of PNG within say 30 days of sale
(t)     greater taxation income for PNG, Customs and excise duties,
(u)     Toll gates on the highlands highway to levy an infrastructure tax for
wear and tear, etc.

Moreover, they acted outside the law in failing to carry out cost-benefit analysis that the project required by law to be done by the National Fiscal Commission. The PNG LNG Agreement, as executed by Arthur, without a cost-benefit analysis, was an entirely illegal bargain at point of execution.

The lessons of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brasil, and Venezuela are all there for Arthur and Kua. But they acted like ignorant, drunk, and blind men devoid of any knowledge of history.  In unison, like the left hand and the right hand, they moved heaven and earth, including amending every law that made their conduct illegal, flying poor landowners to Kokopo and under great duress secured their signatures in the LBSA and UBSA agreements to gain access to their lands, thus successfully plunging this nation into the abyss of economic oblivion.

Alas, we are reminded of that proverb: My people perish for the lack of knowledge!

Today over 90% of the terms of the Kokopo Agreements with the Hela nations remain unfulfilled and the PNG Government directly (Exxon and Oil Search indirectly) stand in continuous breach of those Agreements.

SELAH: Father forgive them (Arthur and Kerenga) for they know not what they
do!

The Kokopo agreements were entered into in lieu of or substitution for the processes of social mapping, landowner identification, and development forum, as prescribed by the Oil & Gas Act Sections 47, 48 etc.

Today, without honoring every line and clause of the Kokopo Agreements (that guarantee access to customary lands), Karenga Kua knows very well Exxon and Oil Search have no legal right to enter, and remain on Hela lands, or any other lands owned by any group of customary land owners.

Alas, the wages of sin is death: Exxon and Oil Search can be lawfully evicted anytime from any installation of the PNG LNG project on customary lands and rightfully so by any landowner group, and claim the fixtures on their lands as their own.

The so-called UBSA and LBSA agreements and processes of flying landowners around are not prescribed by the Oil and Gas Act, and were done in complete contempt of current National Court Orders made by Kandakasi J!  They are therefore illegal agreements, with signatures obtained by lies, duress, inducements, bribery and corruption of the highest magnitude, presided over by Arthur and Agiru (who is now dead) with Kua shuffling paper in the background, with full knowledge and participation by Exxon and Oil Search, waiting in the wings.

In the PNG LNG Agreement, Arthur and Kua illegally gave away Petroleum Retention Licenses to Exxon and Oil Search, which they had no right or power to pledge, pre-empt or give away. Only the Petroleum Minister can do that, but only after due process. The PNG LNG Agreement as executed was illegal in this respect. This is critical, as without the PRLs there was no project.

Again you may rightfully ask: Why would Arthur and Kua do such dumb things?

The answer, like a refrain from an old hymn, is in the form of another question: Where is Arthur today?

Arthur (since becoming IPBC Minister) lives in Australia, his brother in Singapore, and they jet set around Australasia because they don’t have to work a single day of their lives anymore, it seems. I wonder why?

Oh before I forget, there is this little matter of 3% of the State’s interest that disappeared into thin air. The State always exercises option over 22.5% equity in Oil & Gas projects. On this occasion, it only took and paid for 19.5 %, but is deemed to have exercised its full option. What happened to the 3%? Clever cover-up explanations by Dairi Vele aside, only Arthur and Kerenga Kua know the answer.

How much is 3% of the PNG LNG Project worth? $USD 190-200 Million? More or less? Perhaps Kerenga Kua can explain to PNG, James Marape and the Hela Nations how he (and Arthur) “lost” the 3% and to who and for what price?

If Arthur is running around trying to sell 4% (of Kumul Petroleum equity in PNG LNG) to the PNG LNG landowners for USD 250 Million, 3% has to be around USD$ 190-200 Million, wouldn’t you say? A very tidy sum indeed.

How does one lose 3% into thin air? It just evaporates? COME ON PAPUA NEW GUINEA! WAKE UP!

No wonder Arthur’s father almost paid the ultimate price in a Singapore Hospital bed for turning a blind eye to the sins of his sons; but for the prayers of a whole nation, (oblivious as they were of Arthur and Kua’s dealings) pleaded with God to spare him. God heard their innocent prayers.

Grand Chief Somare, never the less, lost government in the most unceremonious and unconstitutional dumping ever, sending Arthur into political wilderness and Kerenga packing. That is history’s hand passing over the house of Somare, for a man stands judged or condemned by his deeds, and the sins of the fathers will always visit upon his children.
There will never be another Somare in the National Parliament (of the good people of Papua New Guinea), in this lifetime, or the next.

Arthur with his bag of money will forever try to be the master puppeteer of others, wander the corridors of power and, like a court jester, gain some place of self-importance that way.

History will have it recorded that Sir Michael Thomas Somare built this nation, and his son Arthur buried it!

Grand Chief Somare, while he is alive, and as the sun sets to the west, may as well hear the sobering truth of what Arthur, with the help of Kerenga Kua,  have done to the legacy he once created, to the nation he has poured his life out for, and at numerous times wept over.

We cannot hide the truth anymore. We cannot continue to pretend. We might as well tell everyone what Arthur and Kerenga have done to the state of this nation’s economy in so far as our biggest single economic opportunity “that never was” is concerned.

Let Exxon and Oil Search also know that not everyone in this nation is a fool, or can be bought for 30 pieces of silver!

Part Two:  Libe and Larry Are NOT Genuine PNGLNG Landowners.

So what of the other names in Libe Parindali, Larry Andagali and David
Manau?

Libe Parindali is not a landowner of PDL 1 (Hides) or any other PDL area of the PNG LNG project. He is from the Pela Tribe of the Purani region in Koroba. Libe and the Pela tribe live outside PDL 1 (Hides). That may come as a surprise to Exxon and OSL and the Department of Petroleum, but that is a fact.

A proper social mapping and landowner identification study will easily show Libe Parindali is NOT A LANDOWNER OF PDL 1 (Hides) or any PDL or wellhead.

Equally so for Larry Andagali, a man from Arua Clan of the Huli Tribe of Tari Pori. He is not a landowner of PDL 1 (Hides). Andagali (a teacher) was brought in by the Tuguba Tribal Chief Hengi Tandape (of Ingiti Clan of PDL 1- Hides) to interpret for him against BP Exploration when they started a small gas-fired power plant to supply electricity to Porgera gold mine.
Again, this may come as a surprise to Exxon and OSL, but that is a fact, that all Hela cannot deny that Andagali is not a PNGLNG landowner, worthy of their attention.

A proper social mapping and landowner identification study will easily show that Larry Andagali in NOT A LANDOWNER OF PDL 1 (Hides) or any PDL or wellhead.

These two men, Libe Parindali and Larry Andagali have together realized they were outsiders, having no interest in any oil or gas wells, or PDL areas, decided to band together to protect their new-found status and wealth.

Libe started a landowner company purportedly for Hides Landowners called Hides Gas Development Corporation (HGDC). Larry started a landowner company called Gigira Development Corporation and ended up with Trans Wonderland transport company, a name reminiscent of Jack Hides' fame of Papuan wonderland when he traversed upon the Hela at the turn of the century.

All these companies were supposed to be landowner companies, but they are not in reality.

The sad reality is that they neither have proper Board Meetings, transparent Financials, AGMs, declare profits, distribute dividends, and act properly as representative entities of the people of Hides and associated PDLs of the PNG LNG Project. They are run like the two men’s private companies, and the financials are not transparent and at best murky. They don’t pay proper taxes. They are known to have laundered money to buy private real estate in Fiji and Australia and other parts of the Pacific, where these two men and their numerous wives and concubines cohabit.

Both Exxon and Oil Search corporate governance geeks know about the financial misdeeds of these men, but cover up their crimes for commercial convenience and expediency.

It is at this point that the name of David Manau pops up.

He is a lowly officer of the Department of Petroleum. He served as one of the project coordinators of the Hides and PNG LNG projects. As project coordinator, Manau was the face of the government in many dealings, negotiations and bidding processes for contracts for the PNG LNG Project on site.  Parindali and Andagali knew him well and used him to vouch for them as genuine landowner company representatives, to secure many lucrative
contracts purportedly for landowners they have on paper. In these processes, Parindali and Andagali had all of BP Exploration, Chevron, Oil Search and later Exxon totally fooled.

Exxon later found out that both men were not paying proper dividends and everything went into their own pockets. Alarmed they tried to censor the companies, and even appoint their own approved GMs for Libe and Larry’s companies, due to the fear of what a total collapse from money laundering and greater landowner malcontent would do to unperformed contracts and project tenure.

Thankfully the PNG LNG project construction was completed, and they didn’t need Libe and Larry as much as prior to construction to hold the people together to assumed future prosperity.

At about the same time, numerous National and Supreme Court actions were filed by various parties of Hides and other projects (including Gobe) calling for proper scientific social mapping and landowner identification studies to determine who the proper land owners were, entitled to what proportion of equity, royalty, compensation and business development grants (including the right to participate in business activities and contracts). The cases ended up with Mr. Justice Kandakasi, who realizing the failures of the State and Department of Petroleum, made the only ruling that was open to him (and the government) which was a process of landowner identification and social mapping ( after the PDLs were issued) by mediation under the jurisdiction of the National Court, and by court order.

Justice Kandakasi realized that Sections 47 and 48 of the Oil & Gas Act makes it mandatory for social mapping and landowner identification studies, and a development forum to be held, PRIOR TO GRANT OF PDLs OR APPROVAL OF PDLs FOR THE PNGLNG PROJECT. This ensures that the rightful landowners come to the negotiating table, and not outsiders.

The Department of Petroleum (State), Exxon and Oil Search failed to conduct these studies PRIOR to the grant of PDLS that constitute the PNG LNG project. The Kokopo (UBSA and LBSA) Agreements cannot substitute for the specific statutorily prescribed process under the Oil & Gas Act.

Kandakasi J also realized that once a PDL is issued (without prior studies and development forum) you cannot legally hold such studies as a subsequent cure. Section 47 is clear that it has to be done PRIOR to the grant of PDLs.

The bird has flown, the horse having bolted, it was now legally too late to shut the gate. The only way was a judicially sanctioned mediation to determine who the proper landowners entitled to benefit and in what proportions – a back door legal remedy by order of court to fix the problem that Kandakasi the ever-creative genius came up with, to help shore up Arthur and Kua’s blunders.

Kandakasi J, further realized that there were terrible incurable injustices done by the State, Exxon and Oil Search to the actual underprivileged landowners by the issue of PDLs constituting the PNG LNG project. They missed out on benefits, business development grants, royalties in proper proportions, equity, compensation, etc. But above all, they missed out on the right to sit across the table with Exxon and OSL and the State, as equals, bringing access to their customary lands as their bargain, to negotiate their own benefits package in a development forum, PRIOR to grant of PDLs as envisaged by the Oil & Gas Act.

Section 47 of the Oil & Gas Act was deliberately crafted to give poor landowners improved bargaining power at a development forum, to use access to their land as the ultimate bargaining tool, to use the power of their lands (and resources) to free themselves from the shackles of poverty and dispossession.

In actual fact, the real land owner’s opportunities and benefits were taken up by Libe Parindali and Larry Andagali. And now the duo foresaw that a Kandakasi mediation would expose them for the conniving fraudsters that they were. So they actively worked behind the scenes with the help of David Manau, to derail the Kandakasi Mediation by starving it of any cash. This the duo accomplished very well by moving cash around to key players. As a result, the Kandakasi led mediation has been moth balled. And the truth of Libe Parindali and Larry Andagali cannot be told…yet.

But the duo could not just rest there, they had to make 100% sure of their financial security. So they had to move money around and promote to Ministers and minstrels alike that David Manau, a lowly officer of a lower pay grade, was indeed of Departmental Secretary material.

To former Minister for Petroleum Dr. Fabian Pok, they made verbal and other representations in kind, with the facilitation of one Anu Yadav (of Sri Lankan or Indian extract who is Pok’s bag man).

Pok did two things for Libe and Larry. Firstly he appointed David Manau as Acting Secretary for Petroleum. Secondly, he initiated his own version of landowner identification study aimed at derailing the thorough and meticulous site work done by Justice Kandakasi’s mediation process, resulting in a Ministerial Determination that was clearly outside the Oil & Gas Act, and at odds with the initial findings of Kandakasi J, that show that LIbe and Larry are not landowners.

One cannot hold a subsequent Section 47 study or issue a Ministerial Determination on such study AFTER the PDLs constituting the PNG LNG project have been issued, and after landowners have been denied their rights under the law and has been commercially prejudiced. But that’s exactly what Libe and Larry’s money bought, and their names are plastered everywhere on that Ministerial Determination as to the principal landowners entitled to the lion’s share of the spoils.

Therefore, without laboring the point, POK’s studies and Determination reek of corruption, and are as good as toilet paper.In point of fact, POk’s studies were never a study. The Department of Petroleum Staff, greatly assisted by Libe and Larry, already had a
preconceived list of landowners, and what proportions they themselves had interest in, all drafted up in Port Moresby, and the DPE staff just went to Hides Camps and stayed under heavy guard and called in certain names (already choreographed and coached by Libe and Larry to come forward and sing like nightingales) and the rest was just formed filling.

Once again, the real genuine landowners missed out and new fictitious landowners, blocks, and groupings (non-existent by custom) brought in to cover for Libe and Larry.

On the expiry of David Manau’s term as Acting Secretary, POK, greatly buoyed by Libe and Larry, brought in submission to NEC to make him permanent. It was at that point that some of the truth about Libe Parindali’s misdeeds with David Manau came to light.

Someone alerted then PM Peter O’Neill to the existence of an Internal Memorandum dated 1st November 2016 from David Manau as Acting Secretary for Department of Petroleum to his Acting AD-Finance and Accounts and its reads thus:
“SUBJECT: ADVICE TO FACILITATE PAYMENTS OF MINISTERIAL COMMITMENTS UNDER
THE K6.7MILLION MOA FUNDS.
With reference to my memo dated 28th October 2016 to Minister and his
footnote on the same date, you are advised to facilitate the Ministerial
Commitments under the MOA funds to the following organisations/companies
forthwith.
1.      Kameape Holdings Ltd                     K450,000
2.      Iwa Ira Limited                                  K450,000
3.      Power Boss PNG Ltd                       K200,000
4.      Kulu Construction Ltd                       K450,000
5.      Annex Construction Ltd                    K450,000
6.      Tokaju Engineering Services Ltd     K4,700,000
Please refer to the table in the attached memo to confirm the same.
Find attached herewith are the requisitions for your consideration and
deliberation.
Thankyou
David Manau
Acting Secretary”

It was a beautifully crafted little gimmick to rob the government till. The culprits were POK (facilitated by Anu Yadav) and Libe Parindali seeking payback money for moving money in the first place to install the unlikely David Manau as Acting Secretary, and David Manau himself for facilitating it.

The Company taking most of the money is Tokaju Engineering Services Ltd. Its sole Director and Shareholder per IPA extract is one Tuguyawini Libe Parindali. K4.7 Million to Libe?

The other companies appear to be dummies for various people and persons named herein, as there was no logical basis for a Ministerial Commitment that defies government budgetary processes. If they were service providers to the Department, then what services did these companies provide? Why didn’t they follow normal procurement processes to get paid? Why did the Minister have to make a commitment that he had no legal or financial power to make anyway? It was downright corruption, and an attempt to conspire and steal from the public purse.

Peter O’Neill with an ever-vigilant nose for money, (in NEC Decision No 321/2016 Special Meeting No 12/2016) saw to it that Libe never got his payback of several Million Kina he out laid to get Manau appointed, to achieve his greater purpose of shutting the real landowners of Hides PDL1 and associated PDLs out of PNG LNG benefits. Manau was rejected by NEC for financial dishonesty.

Manau was lucky O’Neill never appointed an Inquiry into Manau’s past financial mismanagement and corruption in his Acting position as Secretary for Petroleum, as that would have been another burgeoning can of worms.

Pok and Anu Yadav melted into the shadows, and Libe scuttled away to go somewhere quiet to lick his wounds and bid his time.

As for David Manau, for choreographing this grand theft attempt, he had his Acting Secretary position revoked with a huge question mark over his fitness to hold any senior position again.

Part Three:  Reversal of Roles: What Will James Marape Do now?

Now let us wind the clock half turn forward, (some four years from 2016) we find ourselves with a new Government under James Marape as PM.

Marape makes the uncharacteristic choice to bring Kua in as Petroleum Minister from the Opposition benches. And you can almost hear the clink of bags of silver dragged off the floor boards of LIbes bedroom. It was his time to play. Kua appoints Bertha Somare as his First Secretary. Of course she is also running proxy for Arthur now sitting in the backroom as advisor to Kua. The roles have reversed!

The Sepiks are in firm control of the Ministry for Petroleum. How wonderful is it that Marape’s wife is also from Sepik, and Manau is also from Sepik. It does not take Libe Parindali long to join the dots, and bingo, we have a new Secretary for Petroleum!

One day when Marape and Steven are out of town, Kua runs an NEC, and runs his own agenda, with an eye to 2022. Yes, every grille two-bit dog at the Badili crossing knows his day has come, and Kua may need friends like Libe and Larry in 2022. Manau’s fortunes have reversed.

The Sepiks go away and celebrate with fist pumps and Champaign in a quiet bar with Manau ala Somares, and the ever humble and ever-smiling (while calculating) Libe Parindali.

James Marape is left standing, knowing and sensing that he has just been stung by a huge Bee, but he does not know how he came to be bitten, and which way it came in and flew out.

In the depths of Marape’s waters he knows something is terribly amiss. But he cannot figure out what is wrong. He is looking and nodding, but he can’t see anything. On paper, everything seems right.

But Marape does not know that he has been placed in the very same position Grand Chief Somare was in, all set up by Kua and Arthur, just before the Grand Chief was unceremoniously dumped. The very same two men are at work!

Is history about to repeat itself? That is entirely for James Marape to answer.

Perhaps it might assist our dear Prime Minister if we point out some things that may not sit well with what is right, true and noble; the reason for the pebble in the sole of his shoe, and the sting of a Sepik Bee that he feels deeply in his soul:

1.      James Marape is Hela Huli Leader, in whose hands and on whose shoulders rest the hopes and aspirations of all Hela Resource owners.

2.      James Marape has the onus and solemn duty to right the wrongs of Anderson Agiru. Tatagalawape has mandated Marape to be PM to right the wrongs of another Hela Leader, or the world as we know and see shall be no more.
3.      In this respect, the Monster that Kua and Arthur created (with Exxon and OSL) in the UBSA and LBSA Agreements are unnecessary, illegal and voidable yokes upon the State and the people. They don’t substitute for Section 47 and 48 processes of the Oil & Gas Act.

4.      Under Arthur and Kua, the above mandatory prescriptions of the Oil & Gas Act have not been followed prior to the issue of PDLs of the PNG LNG Project. As the Kokopo Agreements cannot substitute for clear prescription of law, and as no subsequent social mapping or landowner identification study can cure this defect, Exxon and Oil Search are illegally on the Hela lands. Hela landowners who own the surface of the lands by custom can lawfully evict them.

5.      BP Exploration acquisition of Hides PDL installation sites as a State Lease is also illegal because the State had no legal right or authority to acquire customary lands for a private commercial purpose of BP Exploration and Placer who operated the Porgera mine. Compulsory acquisition of land can only be for public purposes of a school, hospital, road, etc.

6.      There was no compliance with Section 47 and 48 of the Oil & Gas Act for Hides Landowners in respect of PDL 1, for the PNG LNG Project. The Department of Petroleum should have issued a different PDL Number for Hides for the PNG LNG project.  The initial PDL 1 was issued for a limited purpose, on the back of a development plan for small power plants for Porgera mine.

7.      Libe Parindali and Larry Andagali are simply playing a game of confusion and obfuscation with bags of money, seeking to buy their legitimacy and confusing everyone else including Marape. If Marape’s boys picked some money from Libe or Larry, well and good, that’s their rightful share.
Marape does not owe Libe and Larry anything.

8.      PNG LNG Project is an economic parasite on the fortunes and resources of PNG. It is a chronic loss-making, and unfair operation, created by Arthur Somare and Kerenga Kua. This nation cannot afford PNG LNG project.

9.      Exxon and Oil Search currently have no legal permission to be on customary lands of Hela. Their installations are fixtures of Hela lands. The landowners can evict them by simply giving them reasonable notice.

10.     For all his huff and puff in opposition, bringing Kua across and giving him Petroleum Ministry was probably the most unwise decision Marape could have made. Kua was one of the key architects for the State of the national economy and the terms of the PNG LNG Project. He benefited personally form all that, and in return, he parked PNG where it is today. He is too far and deeply conflicted.

11.     Kua cannot sit comfortably across from Total, Exxon or Oil Search and negotiate for PNG in the Papua LNG project and P’yang. Besides he has no commercial grounding, no peripheral understanding of how the world operates in terms of historical knowledge of oil & gas companies, little commercial acumen or reflective reasoning, He does not have the presence or personality that accommodates and gauges the big picture. He has no peripheral vision of sensing what is not being said. He has an ultra-adversarial blinker on approach which is okay in a court room but not in a room full of senior executives of oil companies.

12.     Kua was the same guy as Arthur’s advisor and Chairman of Kroton who drew the terms of the PNG LNG Agreement that has dispossessed my Hela people and impoverished this nation. The same guy who benefited from the men sitting across from him. The very terms of the PNGLNG Agreement that Marape is now seeking not to repeat in the Papua LNG were admittedly drawn by Kua. How can Kua argue against himself? How many Kerenga Kuas are there?

13.     Kua is the same guy who (hand in hand with Exxon and Oil Search) helped
Arthur and Agiru bury the Hela people in the technical legal prose of the UBSA and LBSA Agreements, which are legally voidable anyway. If the nation agrees that was a bad deal, why make him Minister, and put him in-charge of negotiating another bad deal? Have we not learned enough?

14.     Now we have Arthur, Bertha, Libe, Larry and Kua’s latest creation in pushing David Manau as Secretary for the Department of Petroleum. The nation asks, how can James Marape PM allow Count Dracula to be put in Charge of the Blood Bank?

James Marape must know if he allows other people to bury the truth about who the real landowners of the major Oil & Gas projects of Hela Province, and where the 3% went, he will inherit the injustices created by Arthur, Agiru, and Kua.

Arthur Somare is now conveniently using Kua, as the conduit for the East Sepik Regional Seat in 2022, all the while making Kua believe that he (Kua) will be PM next time round. Kua as head of National Party knows he has to make as much money as possible, and who better to make it for him than Manau, who knows how to milk the system. Arthur, bearing the Somare name would never allow Kua to be PM. However, both Arthur and Kua have placed this nation where it is. They don’t deserve this nation, as leaders or as PM.

Agiru has paid for it for his part. GC Somare almost did. Is Marape prepared to pay for it now by turning a blind eye, because the same two guys who buried Agiru and almost buried GC Somare are right there beside him now, breathing down his neck, and the stage is deliciously set for history to repeat itself?

Is Marape prepared for all Hela to evict Exxon and Oil Search tomorrow?

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