Arthur Somare

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The Honourable Arthur Somare is a Member of the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea. He represents the electorate of Angoram Open in East Sepik province for the National Alliance Party.[1][2] His father is Sir Michael Somare, the disputed Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.[3]

Arthur Somare was first elected to the 6th national Parliament in 1997, and has served in several ministerial roles, including Minister for Communications and Minister for Planning. In March 2006, Arthur Somare, resigned as Minister for National Planning and Monitoring over alleged “financial improprieties”[1] He was reappointed as head of the Ministry for Public Enterprise, Information, and Development in July 2006[1] and remained in this role until his suspension in July 2011 over misconduct in office.

As the Minister for Public Enterprises, Somare and his ministry had responsibility for the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC), which is the sole shareholder of all of the state owned enterprises such as Air Niugini, Telikom, PNG Power, Ports PNG, Eda Ranu and PNG Waterboard, and other businesses.[4]

He is also one of the key political tacticians of the National Alliance Party.

Corruption[edit]

PNG's Ombudsman initially referred Arthur Somare to the Public Prosecutor in 2006 over misconduct in office,[5] however Somare challenged the referral in court.

In July 2011, the prosecutor formally lodged 105 allegations of misconduct in office against Somare to the Leadership Tribunal,[6] a standing court mandated to hear complaints against senior public officials. Somare is alleged to have misapplied public funds and failed to produce acquittals in 2002, and also failed to submit his annual statements to the Ombudsman Commission in the late 1990s, as required by law. He was immediately suspended as Angoram MP.[6]

Somare has been accused by the current Minister for Public Enterprises, Mekere Morauta[7] of squandering state funds through poor business decisions, malpractice and misappropriation of funds for personal gain,[8] including lavish homes in Australia and visits to Singapore in 2011.[9]

Allegations lodged by Morauta against Somare include: his mishandling of a loan to buy equity in an LNG project, leading to a loss of K900 million; the loss of K31 million in bankrupted Lehman Brothers; K200 million owed by Telikom to banks as a result of loans being taken out without the authority of the Treasury; paralysing PNG Power due to a lack of capital;[10] and facilitating a transaction in which K96 million disappeared from the Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited (MVIL), following the sale of MVIL shares in Bank South Pacific. The K96 million that had disappeared was subsequently found in an Australian bank account, owned by a “dubious investment company” Woodland Capital Ltd,[11] and is the subject of a police investigation.[12]

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has also described the National Gaming Board as corrupt and a “milking cow” for individuals including Somare family members.[11]

In July 2011, Somare was due to answer to these charges before the PNG Leadership Tribunal. He applied to the National Court seeking a judicial review of charges laid against him by the Ombudsman Commission, claiming the commission was biased against him. Justice Gibbs Salika rejected the application, however the Leadership Tribunal was adjourned indefinitely, following the passing of a member of the three-men bench presiding over the hearing.[13]

Alleged Meeting with the Chief Justice[edit]

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill accused Somare of holding a secret meeting with Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia at the Ela Beach Hotel on 4 November 2011.[14] Arthur Somare has denied the allegations and is referring O’Neill to the Ombudsman Commission.[15] O’Neill accused the Chief Justice of bias towards Arthur Somare’s father, Sir Michael Somare.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Freedom House (2007). "Papua New Guinea (2007)". Freedom House. 
  2. ^ "Somares repeat wins at election". Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Michael Somare loses to son Arthur on gas tactics". The Australian. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Mekere Morauta (25 November 2011). "The theft and waste of public money in Papua New Guinea's Public Enterprises". Act Now!. 
  5. ^ Bill McGrath (3 July 2010). "Controversial son becomes Finance Minister". Keith Jackson & Co: PNG ATTITUDE. 
  6. ^ a b SAMUEL RAITANO (7 July 2011). "MP asks tribunal for time to travel". Malum Nalu. 
  7. ^ MINISTRY OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES (24 November 2011). "THE STATE OF PNG’s PUBLIC ENTERPRISES". MINISTRY OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES. 
  8. ^ Malum Nalu (27 November 2011). "Arthur Somare's 'shameful legacy'". Malum Nalu. 
  9. ^ CourierMail (5 November 2008). "PNG leader Michael Somare and son asked to explain Cairns property deals". CourierMail. 
  10. ^ Mekere Morauta (25 November 2011). "The theft and waste of public money in Papua New Guinea's Public Enterprises". ActNow!. 
  11. ^ a b PNG Exposed Blog (15 January 2012). "Treason, sedition and the attempted Coup-De-Tat conspiracy from the Chief Justice to the Somare Court". PNG Exposed Blog. 
  12. ^ PNG Exposed Blog (24 November 2011). "Missing K96m found in NSW bank". PNG Exposed Blog. 
  13. ^ NELSON P THOM (5 September 2011). "Arthur Somare's Leadership Tribunal adjourned indefinitely". News Mate. 
  14. ^ a b Post Courier (9 December 2011). "PNG CHIEF JUSTICE ALLEGEDLY MET ARTHUR SOMARE". PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT. 
  15. ^ PNG Blogs (11 December 2011). ""O'Neill is a liar" Arthur Somare". PNG Blogs.