IS PETER O'NEILL A MURDERER LIKE FORMER PM BILL SKATE?
Few of you reading this will know how good investigative journalists go about their work. It may surprise you to know that the very best ones who crack the biggest stories use many anonymous sources of information. You may think that such information carries no power, but in fact it does when you combine all the stories of the witnesses and look for common themes in what they're saying. Prophets of defeat will say that none of this is evidence. Ah but you're wrong. Witnesses without hard evidence are in fact powerful evidence. Scattered facts and details here and there can be puzzle parts put together to make up a story.
That is what we're doing to further investigate a rumor that has been circulating around Moresby for a couple years. The rumor is about Peter O'Neill and it describes something of horror that few people would believe our Prime Minister is capable of. To understand what he is capable of, you have to understand the man and how he thinks.
If you go through Peter O'Neill's history (quite a bit of information is on the internet, scattered around, and a lot of it is credible information), you come up with the picture of a person who hunts business deals and scams like hunters stalk their prey. When he sees something that he thinks can make him a lot of money, "obsession" would not be too strong a word to describe his level of motivation. His obsession with making money became particularly apparent when he was deal making in the late 1990s (much of this information came to light only because of the later NPF scandal). There was one incident when O'Neill almost forcibly took over a real estate business. If you haven't noticed from all the court case circles, his nonstop lies to cover up illegal 'deals', all consummated in the now infamous illegal UBS loan which has screwed up the whole country's economy just so the PM could buy Oil Search shares, Peter O'Neill is always used to getting his way. Following on that, it also seems that no one gets in his way.
A very curious thing happened soon after Peter came to power as PM. There were a couple of incidents and reports in the papers (now these kinds of stories would never be published) at that time of people complaining that the PM was sending thugs out to intimidate them. This was the first any of us who collaborate on this Facebook page had heard that our PM might be a thug, along the lines of Paul Paraka whose early legal days in Madang had an unhealthy share of incidents where thugs apparently paid by Paraka intimidated witnesses and opposing legal parties. Then there was former PM the late Bill Skate, who was secretly taped by Australian businessman Mujo Sefa (a conman himself) bragging about how he had had people murdered. Actually it was only one person, a security guard who worked for Skate's archival at the time, Moresby MP and Port Moresby Lord Mayor David Unagi. Unagi was apparently trying to intimidate Skate by sending the security to follow Skate into a settlement area. Skate retaliated by having his own security ambush and murder the poor fellow.
This brings us back to Peter O'Neill. Is O'Neill, the renowned "Master of Deception, Father of Lies" also a mafia like thug who has people murdered who don't do what Peter O'Neill wants in terms of business deals?
We do not know. Please that sentence again: We do not know. What we do know is that the late Peter Waieng, former member for Kundiawa, was a businessman, and at least some of his businesses were in construction. We also know that once in New Zealand he waited for hours to see the PM (this was early in O'Neill's term) to discuss some kind of business proposition with him, apparently in relationship to possible government contracts.
In August 2013, Peter Waieng's dead body was found on the beach near the Napa Napa refinery. He had been stabbed to death. In due course , the newspapers reported that someone had been arrested for the murder but was never made clear why Waieng was murdered.
Peter O'Neill came out immediately in the press saluting Waieng as a fine fellow. Stories of Waieng's harem suggests that he wasn't such a fine fellow. We also know that Peter O'Neill often lies to cover up a bigger truth underneath. The most famous incident (he will probably never live it down) occurred soon after he became Prime Minister. He started preaching to the nation, making sure that the churches heard him clearly, that pokies were bad for PNG society and that he (Peter O'Neill) was going to put strong regulations on pokies in PNG. Of course all us good Christians applauded and saluted the Prime Minister for his concern for PNG families. Then what do you think Peter O'Neill did? He made himself Gaming Minister, appointed 2 of his white pokies owning cronies to the Gaming Board, and the wife of one of them (the famous Nii Cragnolini, who has been O'Neill's long term mistress) to head the Gaming Board Foundation and control its money. O'Neill essentially created near monopoly of PNG's pokies under the control of the Gang of 3 (plus Nii) on the Gaming Board.
In other words, Peter O'Neill is fully capable of saying one thing and doing totally the opposite. He could have had Waieng killed one day, then shed tears over his death the next.
There is much to this story that needs to be told. The fact that amongst all our ears, we have now heard this story twice, made us pause. That the story not only had a bit of detail to it but also rings like something that fits what we know about Peter O'Neill's personality is why we feel it is worth while circulating it to see if there are people out there who can fill in the details of supposedly what happened.
Here is the rumour as we know it: Peter O'Neill wanted to buy out one of Peter Waieng's companies because he saw there was a great deal of money to be me through it. When Waieng refused, O'Neill devised another way of getting control of the company but first he had to eliminate Waieng and did so. We are not clear who now is in control of Waieng's company. We know that Peter O'Neill is too cunning with many of his pokies ownerships not to put out his name as an owner, but to use a middleman or middlewoman to serve as a front in return for a handsome "management fee". That means it will take a bit of digging to learn this whole story and figure out what it means.
The Bill Skate as murderer story, and now the Peter O'Neill as murderer story illustrate a crazy thing about our society. For those of you who don't know much about the outside world, trust us when we say that PNG's tendency to never penalise "bigmen" for their crimes is something that normally you only find in a dictatorship. This situation where bigmen hardly ever get punished leads to 2 outcomes. The first one is that the bigmen are inspired to set their goals as high as the sky in terms of their con games. The second outcome is that because no one figures that the bigmen will ever get prosecuted, even for murder, there is a tendency for secrets of the crimes that were committed to leak and spread. This creates a truly crazy situation where rumours abound of what this or that politician supposedly did. After you've heard these things for number of years in Port Moresby, you can develop the skill of sensing which stories are true and which are probably not. No, there's no clear direct evidence to support whatever allegations are made in the story. Instead, there are scattered circumstantial evidences that point to the story probably being true.
Those who shake their heads that all the rumours one hears at high levels in Waigani are made up as vicious payback attacks have never mixed in these circles of course. To those who doubt, we end with a parting story. A rumour that politicians were involved in the major gold bullion theft nearly a decade ago. When the rumour circulated, there was no real evidence at all that this might, in fact, be a true story. The situation remained clouded until a common criminal was caught. His name was William Kapris and he was prosecuted for being the mastermind in the gold theft. It was this Kapris (not Gabriel Kapris, the corrupt former MP from East Sepik) who finally divulged the names of the MPs who he was in partnership with: Current Treasurer, Patrick Pruaitch (who everyone in the top circles laughs at as being a chronic crook and bribe taker, and whose bad reputation was solidified by Greg Sheppard, in the recent "dribs and drabs" secret video transcript, the former Correctional Services Minister, Tony Aimo; and the former deputy speaker, Francis Marus.
There are far too many of these stories to sweep all of them aside as lies. When the same familiar figures pop up in one story after another, linked with very specific details, it becomes hard to dismiss them like the accused do: "a pack of lies, don't believe any of it". The fact that the accused never actually court those who spill the beans for defamation is a little suspicious. All we can do is try to connect the dots and come to some basic consensus of whether the stories are likely to be true or not, as the current state of our PNG investigative bodies is so broken down that we can never expect justice to come from those corners.
With that, we leave you with the mysterious Peter Waieng murder and the rumour that Peter O'Neill is connected. If you have heard this story and have more details to add, do tell.