The problem with PNG? Too many fake knights...
by TOM IROKON
JOHN PUNDARI HAS FINALLY EMERGED FROM THE STINKING SWAMP OF CORRUPTION FOR ALL TO SEE AND WHAT A MIGHTY PRESENCE HE HAS CREATED IN THOSE STINKING WATERS! No, the taxi service that recently put Pundari's name out in the social media wasn't corrupt. What the taxi company represents is a conflict of interest that represents the tip of the iceberg in displaying John Pundari's private businesses. Private businesses, here, there, everywhere. However did John Pundari find the time to serve his people? We review here the multiple corruptions of John Pundari, one of the most impressive sets of allegations we have ever come across at Niugini Outlook.
As background, Pundari is a high school dropout whose sly maneuvering led him to become Speaker of Parliament during the corrupt Bill Skate's time from 1997-1999. Even his first election to Parliament in 1992 was the result of a strong competitor's (Cornelius Kakale's) ballot box being hijacked at from his voters stronghold at Monokam and thrown into the Ambum River.
Even though during his time as Speaker Pundari acted as though he couldn't put up with Skate's poor ethics, Pundari bounced around different political parties over all this time, managing to get sacked twice by then PM Mekere Morauta for carrying out actions that destabilised his government.
Pundari is a showman like most successful PNG politicians, with more than ample puppy tears to shed on demand in front of his electorate. He puts on an act of being a person of high personal character in ethics, while scheming behind the scenes to build up his business empire. The taxi business again is a small indicator of how much time John Pundari must spend while being paid as a public servant to run his numerous private businesses, which includes a hotel at 17 mile outside of Port Moresby that only stays in business because of government funded meetings. In his Kompiam/Ambum electorate, he has the reputation as a local Kickback King. He encourages local groups to write project proposals to submit to him for DSIP funding but only awards the grand prizes to recipients willing to pay him a behind the scenes kickback upon receipt of the public funds. He is known to purchase vehicles using public funds which are then provided with private license tags and given over to local political cronies, who then use them as formal PMVs.
The list goes on and on (see http://www.pngblogs.com/…/john-pundari-deception-behind-mas…) and the allegations have been reported in sufficient detail to be fairly convincing. Pundari's scams to make money for his private pocket seems to span the available options that corrupt MPs often get involved with in PNG. This includes owning local businesses that he then gives contracts to. After he was elected for his first term as MP in 1992, he started up a building construction company called South Pacific Builders. This was managed by his maternal uncle (Lucas) and brother in-law (Teo) to hide the true ownership. Building project contracts continue to be awarded to South Pacific Builders providing yet another nice source of hidden income for John Pundari.
More recently Pundari has ventured into earthmoving enterprise and why not since the people want roads, Peter O'Neill wants roads, and John Pundari is of course, now a loyal member of the PNC. All road contracts in his electorate are now given to his road building company managed by John Yongamen. Apparently it's not enough for John Pundari and cronies to get public money for their private businesses. Pundari's earthmoving equipment tend to clock in 10-12 hours (6 am to 6pm) on any given day in the public service, and the government is given the bill. To give another example of the incredible waste of taxpayers money in Pundari's electorate, in 2011 he committed public funds to build two parallel roads leading to an abandoned rural sawmill station. The station known as Kaipores happens to be the MP's home place which is passed through on the existing road to Kompiam. The MP built two extra roads parallel to the existing one while leaving the original, much older road to remain poorly maintained in most sections except for the part that passes through his home territory.
Not too surprisingly, the two roads built in 2012 do not pass through any population centers or resource base where the road development could be justified. The roads are however being built on lands belonging to strong supporters of the MP and is cutting through remaining tribal reserve forests and burial grounds (see https://mangtariwantok.blogspot.se/…/hon-john-pundari-good-…).
In 2013 he threatened to court the Post Courier for reporting (a rare investigative report) for alleging that the Minister diverted K5 million kina to build the Kunap River Bridge to a company that he owned (but again, masked the ownership through cronies). As far as we know, no court case ever was followed through as Pundari promised.
Pundari, the mixed race alleged son of a white missionary, preaches goodness and honesty while behind the scenes performing like the devil himself in moving as much public money as possible into his personal pocket. He has the electorate's SDA church corrupted right into his loyalty club by providing them with construction grants and other goodies. God knows that Pundari is only following the same strategy for corrupting the churches that Peter O'Neill employs, with particular success with the Lutheran Church of Morobe Province.
Recently, the Pious Pundari accused 2 other ministers of corruption. over a 2016 trip to the international climate change conference in Paris where he got himself photographed with mega entrepreneur Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airways. Pundari accused Minister for Planning Charles Abel and Minister for Forests Douglas Tomuriesa of going missing after the first day or two of meetings in Paris and thus mis-using public money. This is similar to what happened during a government junket to the United States to pick up the infamous King James Bible. MPs Loujaya Toni Kousa, SHP governor William Powi and Parliament Speaker Theo Zurenuoc all went at public expense to the USA but the only MP seen in any pictures showing the Bible's handover is Zurenuoc who despite his supposed Christian ways, never exposed the MIA status of Loujaya and Powi. We certainly have heard the repeated rumours of Douglas Tomuriesa following a long tradition of Forestry Ministers (Michael Ogio, Patrick Pruaith, Beldon Namah amongst others) of completely corrupting themselves handing out logging concessions in return for under the table payoffs. But maybe in Paris all he and Abel were doing was sightseeing off public funds?
But back to Pundari, we must not lose sight of John Pundari because his own shady actions go on and on. His Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) changed to the Conservation and Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA), which is alleged to have been established to assist a mafia-style network to suck up public money under the management of former Environment & Conservation Secretary Wari Iamo, indisputably the most corrupt official that DEC has ever hosted. Current Secretary Gunther Joku, brother of the infamous West Papuan Franzalbert Joku who had his own lengthy time milking government funds into his personal pocket, is collaborator with Dr Wari Iamo, along with their Australian friend and strategist Andrew Taplin. More than K3 million was budgeted for the DEC to CEPA transition, now how could it cost this much and where did the money disappear to? Minister Pundari should know. The money was raised internally by transferring money from one account to another especially from the funds allocated under developmental (PIP) budgets, projects undertaken through joint-bilateral agreements like Kokoda Track Initiatives and Coral Triangle Initiatives (CTI), and further purged from the recurrent budgets. Minister Pundari signed off on all this.
This money was systematically (without detection) diverted in 2011 The money went into the pockets of fly-in fly-out consultancy services from Australia, including a few PNG friends.
One might say that Pundari is a unknowing dupe of the CEPA scam. The problem is that Pundari himself continues to make decisions that favour pollution and foreign companies destruction of the environment and in return for what?
But the suspicious activities don't stop there. For many years, residents of Port Moresby visited the Department of Environment and Conservation Moitaka Wildlife Sanctuary located at the end of Jackson's International Aiport runways. Then in 2016 a very strange development occurred with this Sanctuary. A subsidiary of the environmentally destroying Chinese-Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau (RH) called "Dynasty Development Ltd" was given a contract to "redevelop" the Moitaka Sanctuary land. People smelt a rat immediately with this because virtually nothing was mentioned about wildlife, it was all about building office accommodation and "staff home" development There was mention about a "land swap" as part of the agreement but no details given. It was noted that Moitaka Sanctuary was under the care of the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority. Managing Director Gunther Joku said the Heads of Agreement is consistent with the Authority’s intention to redevelop the Wildlife Sanctuary land.
Although EM-TV covered the event, the audio track for the news clip has mysteriously 'disappeared' (see https://wn.com/moitaka), something we have never experienced before with an EM-TV clip. However, the accompanying written text explains enough of the deal to seriously doubt that wildlife were at the heart of this decision. The odd inclusion of Governor-General Michael Ogio, an old friend of RH dating back to his days as Forestry Minister, in the signing of the agreement raises eyebrows. All the evidence suggests a classic Port Moresby land grab similar to the grabbing of another government gazetted and protected area for tourism, Paga Hill
Kicksbacks, anyone? Gunther Joku and John Pundari don't come out smelling very nice from this widlife sanctuary destruction escapade! And of course, we don't call it the Moitaka Wildlife Sanctuary housing project. Instead it's called the Duran Farm housing project, which probably does well at not drawing too much attention to what was destroyed and by what government Ministry.
So much, so much that creates a bad smell around John Pundari, "protector of PNG's environment". Let's add some other issues to the mix:
Why has John Pundari as Environment Minister favoured the Chinese Ramu Nickel mine and its continued pollution into Astrolabe Bay?
What has Pundari favoured the construction of the Pacific Marine Industrial zone set of 10 Chinese canneries constructed and run by the Chinese which is certain to destroy the world class scenic Madang Lagoon?
Why did John Pundari approve two foreign companies [Millionplus Corporation and Islands Forest Resources] to log in Konoagil area of New Ireland illegally, with Pundari granting the environmental licenses.
All this spoiling of God's green earth and blue waters for the sake of Asian companies and environmental destruction. The unanswered question is what does John Pundari get in exchange for making decisions that are 180 degrees opposite of what one would expect from an Environment and Conservation Minister?
Richard Branson of course would have known none of John Pundari's wide ranging and deep corruption, nor disrespect for the environment when he smilingly posed with Pundari for the photo shot. If he only knew, he would probably want to vomit.