by PETER S. KINJAP
Social media had made it possible for me to keep myself up to date with those ‘hot’ issues in Port Moresby, although I am not anywhere closer.
Every time I log in to my Facebook, I am expecting a new post and surely enough there is something new is coming up each time. On the night of Friday May 6, the first read on my news feed an article on Sir Peter Ipatas, Governor of Enga Province calling on Engan university students to quit the student protest or lose their scholarship privileges.
I was stunned by the news, trying to revolve around previous posts I read to make sense out of it. What used to be known as the “action” Governor and father of Engan free education in Enga had come out publicly to disapprove of what’s happening in Port Moresby – students protesting against the Prime Minster not complying with the warrant of arrest and avoiding being interviewed.
It sadden me to read this from very highly respected leader like Sir Peter Ipatas, Engans respect him, so do people in the Highlands provinces and PNG. If Sir Michael Somare and Sir Mekere Morauta have called on the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to step down; maybe because they know something is happening in the recent drama of disbanding the newly established Task Force Swap Team – a special unit created to expose corruption.
The Police Commissioner Gari Baki acted in ways beyond normalcy to lock up the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate – the only remaining anti-corruption unit that can prosecute corruption cases. Baki’s actions and his media releases has the fingerprints of the Prime Minister all over, who previously disbanded the Task Force Swap Team.
Although there was a court order restraining Baki not to intervene with Fraud Squad officers, he was in a desperate move to take actions to ensure that the Anti-Corruption Fraud Unit face similar fate as that with Task Force Swap. But unfortunately he failed and his actions has now earned him four (4) different contempt of court charges pending that he needs to answer.
The Prime Minister Peter O’Neill with his lawyer, Tiffany Twivey, whom have also been charged over perverting the course of justice, tried a ‘slip rule’ application – an attempt by the Prime Minister to delay the anti-corruption investigations against him – which the Supreme Court has now dismissed.
All avenues to delay or to completely ban the investigations of corruption have now seemed to exhausted. Perhaps the Prime Minister’s fallback plans could mean anything in the next few weeks that could make news headlines – any drastic action may be pending, in a seemingly desperate move to avoid being investigated.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minster has already denied that PNG is heading to an economic crisis; leveraging with the country is merely confronting global challenges. In an outburst by the Prime Minister to a story by Fairfax journalist Jon Garnaut,
“PNG’s outlook of economic melt-down of Greece” Mr O’Neill said Garnaut has been banned from entry into PNG shores and his reports carry no “water” but mere revenges of his ban. But interestingly, as reported by ABC News Australia, O’Neill’s statements are contradicting to a Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal report released by the Treasury Department. Treasury Reports usually hold more “water” to forecast the country’s economy but here the Prime Minister is taking a different route than the report itself.
In Port Moresby, Civil Society Anti-Corruption Movements and PNG university students backed by National Academic Staff of UPNG are planning coordinated protest come Monday. This planned protest is out-rightly banned by police, in a democratic country with freedom of speech, things turn nasty quickly and opportunists is the excuse.
So PNG, where is your freedom of a peaceful protest? Whys a peaceful planned protest banned by police? Is the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill above the law to escape a warrant of arrest before him?
Why is Sir Peter Ipatas calling on Engan students when the issue is being taken up by PNG students? Is the country’s economic outlook really at stake as claimed by Fairfax Journalist Jon Garnaut?
Why are Prime Minister O’Neill’s statements contradictory to the Treasury Report analysis as reported by ABC News Australia on PNG’s economic performance?